We embrace the complexity that comes from working in areas where the stakes are often very high and the choices may be imperfect.
The more fundamental issue is where authority to resolve such questions — to decide how technology may be used and by whom — should reside.
Our society has effectively outsourced the building of software that makes our world possible to a small group of engineers in an isolated corner of the country. The question is whether we also want to outsource the adjudication of some of the most consequential moral and philosophical questions of our time.
The engineering elite of Silicon Valley may know more than most about building software. But they do not know more about how society should be organized or what justice requires.
One can view technological civilization, in particular its accelerations in the twentieth century, as an attempt to drown the questions of Nietzsche’s chief witness, the tragic Diogenes, in comfort. By making technical living tools of unknown perfection available to individuals, the modern world aims thus to silence their uneasy inquiries about the space in which they live, or from which they constantly fall.
First we know that the internet is largely being run by these sophisticated artificial intelligences that have tapped into our base impulses, our deepest desires, whether we would admit that or not. And they've used that information to show us a picture of reality that is hyperbolic, polarizing, entertaining, and essentially distorted. And now, there are even more of these algorithms than ever before and they're getting even smarter.
And they're doing that in part because the technology is getting better, but also because we are giving them exactly what they are programmed to want which is more of our attention.
What we have is a situation where the AIs keep showing us this distorted reality and then we keep paying attention to that and in doing so we are telling them that we would like to see more of that distorted reality and we're living inside of this loop that's getting faster and faster and showing us a world that is getting more and more distorted.