The onset of AI technology is poised to revolutionize our lives. In fact, it is already doing so, but the changes due to AI will be exponentially more significant in the near future than the changes that have already occurred.
Many people have reservations, and they call for caution and oversight. Ultimately, those reservations will be swept aside. The reason is money. AI development will be driven by the profit motive at the expense of humanitarian and aesthetic considerations.
Here are two examples from today’s news alone.
Today on National Public Radio (NPR) the Planet Money show did a profile of Lou Montulli, the founder of Netscape in 1994. Another part of Lou’s legacy, one that he regrets, was the invention of the internet cookie. Lou and the people at Netscape had in mind a set of embedded code that would protect personal privacy. In its original form, the cookie allowed you and me to have a protected and secure kind of personal signature on a website we might visit. However, those few simple lines of code were quickly commercialized by other companies like DoubleClick, for the monetary potential of tracking our preferences and instantly and annoyingly bombarding us with advertising we do not want and do not need, often lasting well past our initial interest in a particular product. But why am I telling you, you know exactly the kind of unwanted ads I mean.
Here’s another example from today’s news. On the CBS Sunday morning show, Paul McCartney announced he will be releasing a “new” and “final,” Beatles recording using artificial intelligence later this year. But will this be the “final” Beatles album or the first of many? The deceased John Lennon’s voice has been “extricated” from old demo tapes using AI. You are probably a Beatles fan. I am. We may buy and appreciate this new work but stop and consider the implications. When the Beatles were four young guys creating music and taking the world by storm, that was something we could all appreciate and even celebrate. Surely, something is lost when music is synthesized by a low-paid audio technician in order to profit a gigantic corporation. Just saying! Once the profit motive sets in, who knows how many live performers might be crowded off the stage.