How The Enlightenment Ends

Yesterday (18 May) I read a thought provoking article by Henry Kissinger on the subject of artificial intelligence or AI. The gist of Kissinger’s article is that the enlightenment liberated humanity while we are in danger (by relying on AI) of becoming slaves to the emerging technology and loosing our ability to think critically. The below quote from Kissinger’s article strikes me as containing much wisdom, particularly his point about many technophiles taking refuge from solitude in technology:

“Users of the internet emphasize retrieving and manipulating information over contextualizing or conceptualizing its meaning. They rarely interrogate history or philosophy; as a rule, they demand information relevant to their immediate practical needs. In the process, search-engine algorithms acquire the capacity to predict the preferences of individual clients, enabling the algorithms to personalize results and make them available to other parties for political or commercial purposes. Truth becomes relative. Information threatens to overwhelm wisdom.

Inundated via social media with the opinions of multitudes, users are diverted from introspection; in truth many technophiles use the internet to avoid the solitude they dread. All of these pressures weaken the fortitude required to develop and sustain convictions that can be implemented only by traveling a lonely road, which is the essence of creativity”.

To read the article please visit https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/06/henry-kissinger-ai-could-mean-the-end-of-human-history/559124/.

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