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Will AI “Own the World”? Robert J. Marks Talks with Laura Ingraham

Photo credit: NASA.

Robert J. Marks directs Discovery Institute’s Bradley Center for Natural & Artificial Intelligence. He recently appeared on a podcast episode with Fox News host Laura Ingraham to talk about artificial intelligence, tech, and Dr. Marks’s book Non-Computable You: What You Do That AI Never Will

Ingraham prefaced the conversation with some thoughts on the rapidly evolving technological world we find ourselves in, and the changes such developments are inflicting on society. In response to the futurism and unbounded optimism about AI systems like ChatGPT that many modern figures hold, Marks said that what computers do is strictly algorithmic:

This leads us to the idea of whether or not there are non-computable characteristics of human beings, and I think there is growing evidence that there are. I would give the simple examples of happiness, joy, empathy. I think less obvious are the operations of sentience, creativity, and understanding. I believe that probably these are not algorithmic either. Again, we’re starting to have scientific evidence that this is indeed the case. So, you’re not allowed to build your own religion and speculate. We see this a lot in artificial intelligence. 

To “Own the World”

Ingraham brought up an ominous remark from Klaus Schwab, founder of the World Economic Forum, in which he said that in the future, whoever owns artificial intelligence will “own the world.” Schwab thinks this revolution of the world order, brought about in large part by advances in AI, is just a decade away at most. Marks, however, responded by appealing to the history of exaggerated, utopian (or dystopian) visions for humanity: 

I think we only have to look at history and see a lot of these other incredibly hyperbolic claims that have come out. I was old enough to remember the Y2K scare, which was supposed to dissolve the world into all sorts of problems. Deepfakes are going to disrupt political discourse. Self-driving cars are going to cause all truck drivers to lose their jobs. No, that hasn’t happened. Maybe it will happen someday, but we’re on a much slower path to that. Here’s my prophecy: in ten to twenty years we are going to recognize the limits of artificial intelligence (which we are starting to do, especially these chat models like ChatGPT and LaMDA) and we’re going to find out the limitations of them. And we’re going to incorporate this into our society. Is it going to make a difference? Yes. But is it going to become sentient and take over the world? No. Artificial intelligence isn’t going to do that. 

Marks emphasized that AI is a tool and that it can be used for either good or evil. 

Ingraham and Marks went on to talk about the guardrails computer engineers have made for ChatGPT, the state of higher education, and the legacy of Walter Bradley, the namesake of the Walter Bradley Center. 

You can find the link to the full conversation here but will need to get 7-day free trial for full access.

Cross-posted at Mind Matters News.