Schadenfreude and AI

schadenfreude: pleasure derived by someone from another person’s misfortune.

The recent developments in Artificial Intelligence sure make it sound like the next technological revolution is around the corner.

Many see AIs writing articles, creating beautiful(?) complex images, and even replacing Star Wars characters and can’t help but see the inevitable replacement of the human by machine counterparts- this might be the case (I’ll hold my breath though.)

But, what I find most curious about this phenomenon is the delight some people seem to get in the knowledge that some professions might soon get erased. Take “art” for example, some rather ignorant pundits believe artists will be replaced by AI as if the purpose of art was simply to generate aesthetically pleasing imagery or illustrations that meet a rather specific brief.

In one of my Twitter altercations, I encountered one of the most depressing thoughts I believe a human being could hold about themselves: that they are simply an algorithm, a series of repeatable patterns that can be replicated, and that there’s nothing unique or new about them, they are just an evolutionary process and so are all their ideas and thoughts and every utterance ever made by a human being.

According to this theory, every work of art, every leap of spiritual, political, or emotional progress was simply a tweak on a previous version or an evolution of an earlier pattern.

From this point of view no human project is possible because we are without any worth, just self-replicating, tweaking machines. This might be the latest understanding of what a human being is, but if anything is certain is that all our systems or knowledge are incomplete-so I would much rather invest myself in the human than the artificial.

I believe our aim should be to elevate the human, but that doesn’t really mean being a Luddite or willfully shunning technology rather it means that technology is simply a tool for us not an end.

Tagged: Philosophy · Tech