What does AI mean for us all?

An interesting thing about Artificial lntelligence so rapidly acquiring such an eloquent aptitude to mimic, engage and constructively deceive us is that this ensemble of technologies do not in any comprehensive sense actually understand us – we and our intricately stochastic behaviours are merely so many numbers and statistical (as probabilistic) relationships or correlations and patterns in the vast and hyper-inflating corpus of all available training data.

Why is this so interesting? It is because the extent to which our embodied human experience and integrated psychological or cultural worlds might only in some sense actually be so many hollow statistical correlations and emergent mathematical patterns is a notion for which both we and our primary communications technologies of language and culture may be quite poorly fit for purpose to describe and explain. This possibility, while neither subjectively flattering nor epistemologically definitive, will generate such deeply disruptive and viscerally uncomfortable questions about what we believe and who we are that we are not likely to be able to maturely disentangle whatever all of this might actually mean for us and for the mid- to long-term future of human civilisation on this planet (and beyond).

This resonant uncertainty as to what technology means for us is really the return of questions of self and reality that have been haunting us for thousands of years and if nothing else this all suggests a critically significant role for both a philosophy of technology and for an art of adaptively unbounded story-telling with which to explain and understand it.

Image: Stable Diffusion.

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