Activist and the Right Livelihood Award receiver Mr. Nicanor Perlas spoke about technology and artificial intelligence in the Finnish Social Forum this Spring. He’s presentation left a mark. “Mr. Perlas pointed out, that we can’t deny technology nor its development, because they are part of human evolution.”, student and volunteer worker at LittleVillage farm, Melina Heimsch, writes in her column.
I visited the Finnish Social Forum in April. It was an open happening where social movements, networks and other civil society organizations came together. People were able to share their thoughts and experiences, debate ideas and start networking for effective action.
One of the leading speakers was Mr. Nicanor Perlas from the Philippines. He is a well known activist and recipient of the Right Livelihood Award in 2003, the prize also called as alternative Nobel award. Very impressive and colorful speaker. Wise words.
Him talking about the development of technology, nanotechnology and the evolution of the human being, really got me wondering about the future. Where this world is headed as we are developing artificial intelligence. I think one of Mr. Perlas’ main messages was, that we need to fully understand how important it is to spread the awareness of what is really happening in the area of technological development, especially in nanotech. And how it affects us, humans. We need to talk about this out loud.
Since the Seminar I have been thinking, that all of us need to challenge ourselves to think through, what it really means to be a human being. And especially can we be replaced by machines?
Furthermore, I have been wondering, where do we want our evolution to go? In fact, it kind of scares me to think that artificial intelligence can overcome human intelligence and even destroy human beings, if things get out of hand.
Common understanding is that artificial intelligence can be a difficult thing to control and the most likely scenario seem to be, that at some point it would be able start to increase its own intelligence unlimitedly. Then it could take over its environment and start maximizing its chances of success, and soon humanity would be in danger. Sounds just like an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, doesn’t it?
Nanotechnology is a very controversial subject, due to all the impacts it could cause. But Mr. Perlas was not all that negative. Atomically precise manufacturing enables new and completely different weapon production, but on the other hand it could also offer solutions to many current problems that we face; such as pollution, climate change or clean water shortage. Artificial intelligence could have the capacity to create multiple solutions to problems that we have here on earth. Such solutions that are unheard of, but could still be very useful.
Artificial intelligence is coming. Mr. Perlas pointed out, that we can’t deny technology nor its development, because they are part of human evolution. What I think we must do as individuals, is to decide, how we want to use this technology, for what and by who.
But most essential issue is however, to grow and develop a moral singularity right next to the technological singularity.