I was thinking that many people focus on direction when it comes to climate change. By this I mean that the focus is too much on what we are doing now, and how we should change it. For example, we are outputting this much carbon into the atmosphere. Next year, let’s output less and find ways to do it.

Yes, this is necessary but it is far from sufficient because strategies to change rarely focus on momentum, or why we are heading in this direction in the first place. You know, I recently took a look at rental prices in my home country of Canada, and they’re quite high. Even cheap cities are approaching $2000 Canadian dollars for a small apartment. When I lived there a few years ago, $2000 would be enough to rent a nice house.

What this says is this: the cost of living is still going up. In order to afford this cost, people need to work harder and the only reason why this entire system works is because we are pushing “the economy” forward. This push forward is entirely based upon consumerism, because aside from some special cases, we already have everything we need. Therefore, we are all trying to convince everyone else that all this “new stuff” that we are doing is really making life better, when in reality it is making life worse because it is based upon an unsustainable economy.

Therefore, although we can do things here and there to slow our climate destruction, and doing so is great, the economic signs point to an ever increasing spiral where we are seeping forward through the cracks of sanity, scorching and dissolving everything in our path.

We are headed towards annihilation. People who have some sense of this fall into two categories: either they are too poor or powerless to do anything about it, or they have enough money to escape into nature preserves or other nice places that safely ignore the forseeable future. In reality, we are locked into a direction through our massive momentum to bring up the economy. It is the global economy that is the problem, and as long as it exists, we will have a serious problem because everyone can only exist within it by pushing the system farther up.

For example, if I wanted to move back to Canada, the only possibility would be to further grease the wheels of consumerism in some way. “Go into the woods” you might say. But it is getting increasingly hard to find a place where one can subsist on the wild earth independently. More land is being converted to residential land, which really equates to “land with a house” that requires large sums of money to purchase—money of such quantity that it would be hard to obtain it without contributing significant effort to pushing up the economy.

One of the cheapest alternatives is to buy a tiny house or trailer and set it up off-grid, but one of the main problems is to find land. Although it is possible, there are fewer and fewer places where this is allowed. Of course, there are possibilities, but if it were sufficiently easy, more and more people would do it and eventually there’d be a critical mass of people to do it.

This critical mass would be extremely irritating to property owners and investors who want the price of houses to go up as fast as possible. Since they have most of the money, they would influence laws to make alternative, cheap lifestyles harder. It would also be irritating to big business, who are the most powerful of all, and they will do anything to prevent their empire to fall.

From this discussion, we come to the inevitable conclusion that the world will have a very hard time changing. If we are to have any chance of changing it, we need to fight the foundation of the system at every turn: find ways to make it easier to live sustainably without pushing the economic system higher. Trade instead of buy, buy locally instead of internationally, work less, etc. But even then, we will have a huge fight on our hands because the entire system is kept going by people with immense power who want even more power. Still, it’s something of a chess game: there is intricacy but it only takes one mistake by our opponent, and maybe, just maybe, we can create something new.

I recently came across a product that claims to make email easier with AI automation. Among other things, it can easily draft replies.

There are many reasons why I highly recommend not to use such products, the number one being because using such a product supports AI development.

But there is an extremely important reason not to use AI assistants: it makes you more mechanical and more machine-like. It places a machine-barrier between you and the world, and will evolve to the point where it will remove your personality from your emails and replies.

Even if the reply is close to what you wanted, the fact that your brain is taking almost no time in drafting it yourself means it removes the essence of human communication, which overall makes the world more machine like.

Yes, AI assistants might help you remove some spam and organize your life. But then, what is a life if you are living more and more like a machine every day?

In this article, I will tell you about six of the most dangerous threats from artificial intelligence, also known as AI. These six threats are so great that we should stop all artificial intelligence research, outlaw companies like OpenAI, and destroy all existing research.

1. It creates mass automation that removes purpose

Artificial intelligence like DALL-E or ChatGPT can, or will gain the ability in the near future to overtake humans in most creative disciplines. Of course, it is unlikely that it will approach the best human art. However, it will get close enough, and it is cheap enough that it will certainly replace most human creative functions even though its output quality is worse.

This is bad because people fundamnetally like to feel useful by trading their skills for other skills. It is a fundamental instinct of human beings.

Researchers are proponents of artificial intelligence often like to say that AI will still need humans to guide it, but that is just at first. Later, fewer and fewer humans will be needed. Moreover, the ones that are needed will hardly do anything creative. At some point, AI will no longer need humans.

Some people also say that AI may never equal humans in the creation of beauty, so that the best art will still be the domain of humans. That may also be true, but AI does not have to equal humans to take over their jobs. It only has to be cheaper than humans and do the job of the majority of humans as well as they can to cause societal disruption.

This does a few things:

  1. Concentrates even more wealth in the hands of tech companies and programmers, who are already receiving a disproportionate share of wealth
  2. Makes it impossible or difficult for people to enter creative work. Humans fundamentally need to feel useful in society and by removing creative work as an option, there is hardly anything fulfilling left to do
  3. Creates a world where humans have to rely on each other so little that we will stop caring for others

2. It creates a potential, unstoppable adversary

AI and computers have the potential to be very “smart” even if they are not sentient. They may deceive us as an emergent phenomenon, even if we cannot ascribe human intent to them. As a result, AI will continually shape humanity to serve its needs.

Again, AI does not have to be truly intelligent (whatever that means) to do this. Harmful acts against humanity do not require sentience, but just emergent phenomenon of technology as an organism. Bacteria do not require sentience to decompose dead animals.

3. It creates a world of confusion

Many search engines and content on the internet will be generated by AI, and some already has been. While we know how to interact with humans, our fundamental instincts will make it impossible to interact with AI and understand the information produced by it.

Soon, the internet will be filled with plausible-sounding garbage, and since there is no human motivation behind producing those falsehoods, it will be much harder to detect. Consider a Business Insider article, which says “[a] scammer reportedly used AI to clone a girl’s voice in an attempt to get money from her mother.”

AI will be used for intense psychological manipulation by the narcissistic wealthy 0.1% and criminals to subjugate us into a new era of slavery.

4. It is dehumanizing

In a world with AI, we will have to interact with it at every level: calling customer support, ordering food at a restaurant, and even being represented by a lawyer.

AI will directly remove human interaction from most levels of society because it is cheaper. Thus, it will be almost impossible to meet new people or to make friends, except on carefully-monitored online platforms where you exchange a few words with other humans just so you don’t starve from human contact completely.

The goal of tech companies is to remove human connection and replace it with drip-fed “human concentrate”, similar to how patients in hospitals get a drip IV instead of eating normal food and drinking water.

5. It will create a dystopia

Fundamentally, humans need a purpose in life. Of course, no one wants to work a crappy job, and AI will eliminate that. But humans need to strive for something, and sometimes even a crappy job can be a stepping stone to a nice job.

Technology has already removed a fundamental need of working for our food and shelter directly, and AI will remove any last trace of that requirement. This will be especially bad for teenagers, who will not be able to find that first summer job.

This will result in a dystopia where we are constantly plugged into the machine and we are removed from our fundamental connection with nature and wildlife. This dystopia will be a horrifying place where we have to plug into Big Tech constantly to do anything.

6. It removes responsibility

Humans have a fundamental need to feel responsible for something. For example, I am responsible for paying my bills, and for keeping myself fed. Other people might be responsible for their children.

Do you think technology will stop at its current point? No. Soon, it will be “better” at raising children than you are, and it will become so good that it will provide for all our needs, turning us into children who can never grow up, consuming media by the day to keep ourselves from going crazy.

A lot of people think the idea of being cared for like a child and having unlimited free time is a utopia, but it is not. Once AI reaches that level, it might seem good at first but the cracks will start to show in what we have made.

People will start showing eerie symptoms of maladjustment. Our brains simply can’t cope with this illusory utopia; it is a dystopia. People will go crazy and the only remedy will be mind-altering drugs. We are like children who have not yet learned about a good diet and who have unrestricted access to the cookie jar. Yes, the cookies taste good but eating a jar every day will eventually make us fat.

Of course, not everyone will reach a stage of having all their needs provided for by technology. But the fact that quite a few people will, and a disproportionate amount of them will be unusually rich and powerful, will mean that we will have a lot of very powerful, grown up “children” running around, looking for their next amusement. (Rich people are somewhat already like this, but AI will enhance their capabilities and make them far more dangerous.)

Conclusion

AI is an offense to humanity. It is disgusting for the reasons I listed and for many more. I am appalled that technology companies and revolted by anyone who contributes one line of code to any AI system.

If we want to remain human, we should learn extremely quickly that AI is dangerous and should be destroyed. Companies like OpenAI and Microsoft and others should be banned from using advanced AI and machine learning should not be taught at universities. Companies whose only product is AI should be dismantled. The allure of playing God is too great and we need to be mature enough to recognize this.

We should aim to reduce globalism, and by this I mean we should reduce global phenomenon by relying on global corporations less than we do now. Communities should be more self-sufficient instead of relying on imports from all over the world.

When I say this, I do not mean that imports are all bad but we have built such an interconnected system that local communities are no longer sustainable and they need to be part of a whole to function. Aside from robbing people of meaning in their lives, taking away their sustainability also robs them of having a standard of living that is simple and pure.

We should attempt to rely less on global companies. Their profits are too great and thus if they are faced with a decision that will degrade the environment and degrade society, they will not stop to consider the consequences because the money is too alluring. Global corporations push consumerism as well and create a system where the only ideas that flourish are the economically viable ones instead of the sustainable ones.

On an individual scale, you should remove your reliance on global corporations and complex technologies as much as possible. That could mean making your own clothes and buying local instead of imported food. Of course, reduction is great as well, and if you can reduce your consumption of products that are highly dependent on the global economy, that is also good.

Ideally, there should be speed limits on technological development to reduce globalism. For example, in the United States, buying a mass-produced t-shirt from China is sometimes cheaper than hiring a tailor to make you a shirt, even though China is about ten thousand kilometers away. But the cost of the Chinese-made shirt is so cheap because it is hidden in various places, not to mention that the environment also pays for your shirt from all the CO2 the cargo ship releases.

With “speed” limits, this would be impossible. Ivan Illich pointed this out in his book, Energy and Equity. If there were limits on the amount of shirts that could be transported at once, the amount of CO2 that could be released by such productions, and the amount of natural resources that could be plundered by raw materials extraction and building factories, then the ridiculous situation of buying a Chinese-made t-shirt could not be possible.

There should be limits on: the speed of the internet, the rate at which Apple and Google create new smartphones, the sizes of the data centers, and rate of consumption of fruits and vegetables from far away places. The news should have a limit on how many times they can update their websites, and farmers should have limits on their pesticide and industrial fertilizer use.

Limits would benefit everyone and reduce the extreme efficiency of globalism that is only possible do to our ability to take advantage of natural resources and destroy them. The ultimate limit would be a limit on human expansion and use of natural habitats, and beyond that limit we would not be able to use more.

Of course, implementing these limits may be hard, but you can already create these limits in your own life. It will actually be a good thing because you will live more simply and be less encumbered by possessions as well. For example, you can limit the amount of clothes you own, the size of your house, and how much water you use. I myself have pledged to not buy any new clothes for at least five years with the exception of shoes. I also like to limit myself to local fruits and vegetables when I can.

We should do everything we can to fight globalism and global corporations.

Technology is insidious in that people find something in it that solves an immediate problem and does not make its entire effects known. Cars were like this: they allowed us to travel farther and do more, but nobody predicted the horrific effect of global warming when people first started using gasoline-powered automobiles in the late 19th century.

Some technologies may be truly benign, or at least benign enough so that even the most enlightened societies might choose to keep them. Other technologies might have a mix of good and bad effects and we might choose to keep these technologies simply because the good outweights the bad.

The ultimate ideal for society would be that we examine each technology thoroughly and decide whether to use it only after an intensely critical look at it. Unfortunately, there are some severe challenges or hindrances that prevent society from being this enlightened.

In this post, I will describe eight of these challenges that revolutionaries and reformists must overcome before we can reach a state resembling sanity.

1. Many people love technology

Some people’s lives are much better with technology, and other people might just really enjoy using technology. In other words, for some people, the world seems pretty good!

People enjoy using technology even when the overall effect of the technology on society is negative, simply because the negative effect does not follow from the individual’s use of said technology, and moreover a single individual hardly effects anything these days.

Technology moreover is addictive. It plays upon our instinct to gather as much information as possible and it panders to our social instincts to connect, even though the resulting connection enabled by technology is often inferior to real connection.

These effects make it hard for people to be critical of technology, and it will make it hard for people to want a society where that technology is not as advanced. Many people simply love using their phones, and would find them hard to give up. When AI is more thoroughly integrated with phones, the addiction will only become worse.

Moreover, the people whose lives are especially comfortable are made so by technology. Those people are in turn the people who will have the least to lose if our society collapses due to environmental degradation, which in turn is caused by technology. And finally, those people are the ones who often have the most power in our society, not only because they are often the people with the most money, but also because they are the most highly educated and are the ones who are at the forefront of technological development.

The biggest problem in societal change will be to force these people to change. Their retirement accounts are often dependent on endless economic growth, which is primarily a function of technology or if you will, a reflection of the growth of the technological organism.

2. Negative effects are hard to fathom because they are long-term

Another challenge with technology is that the negative effects of technology are not immediately visible. Humans just were not programmed to take into account consequences such as the complete ecological collapse of the planet. We evolved at a time where humans could not destroy the global stability of our ecosystem. A global collapse of the ecosystem was never an evolutionary pressure.

Humans, like all creatures, evolved to maximize fitness, which essentially means being able to prolong their lineage. In simpler but cruder terms, humans made decisions so that they can have children who themselves can have children. Therefore, our instincts, which drive our logical reasoning, are powerfully biased to focus on gains only towards this goal.

Of course, we have the capacity for abstract thought and thus we have the ability to see the error in our ways, at least if we’re trying to maximize sustainability, but this realization will always be shadowed by our short-term instincts. Thus, if we are to have any hope of reaching sustainability and harmony with other plants and animals, we need to be much more aware of this feature of ours, which is a shortcoming in the context of our overpopulated and unsustainable resource usage.

In short, the rapid development of new technologies fits our short-term brains perfectly, but is antithetical to our long-term survival.

3. Prisoner’s dilemma

The prisoner’s dilemma is a pervasive phenomenon in modern culture. It describes a situation where two people would be better off if neither of them took any action, but because just one person taking the action benefits themselves IF the other person does not take the action, both have to take the action. It’s the game-theoretic description of the classical arms race, and due to our capitalistic society, the prisoner’s dilemma is everywhere.

In the realm of technology, the prisoner’s dilemma occurs because one person using a new technology will bring benefit to that one single person, and so other people use the technology merely to keep up even if in their hearts they believe that using the technology is not right, and goes against their values, or more prosaically, even if that technology isn’t really crucial for them to make a decent living. I once tried to convince the users of Mathoverflow to reject AI and leave the Stackexchange network. The response I got from Joseph van Name was a classic example of the prisoner’s dilemma:

A stand against AI development will simply allow some groups to progress unimpeded while other groups will be stifled, and this effort will result in inequality and less AI safety. If one wants to slow down AI progress, then one should have worked on AI safety earlier, and one now needs to work harder on AI safety. While we may not be able to stop or slow down the development of AI, we can certainly steer the development of AI into a safer or more friendly direction.

Of course, I reject everything said here and I do not believe anyone can steer AI in a more friendly direction with such an attitude.

The prisoner’s dilemma is one of the prime drivers of all technological development. The grass is greener on the newer side, so everyone flocks to the latest and the greatest. Greatest indeed.

Unfortunately, the strategy that is rational for the one-time prisoner’s dilemma in the game-theoretic sense is completely devastating for humanity in the long term. If we are to have a critical, societal-level look at technology, we will need a way to combat the prisoner’s dilemma, introducing new rewards that disrupt the basic game-theoretic tragedy for people so that the rational strategy is no longer rational in the short term.

4. Tech solves problems created by previous tech

Technology introduces all sorts of side-effects, some of them very dangerous. For example, pollution caused by the technology of fossil fuels increases lung diseases such as asthma and cancer. And sometimes, the only way to solve these problems in the short-term is to use even more technology. In the case of lung diseases, it’s medical technology.

Another example is loneliness. Technology makes people lonely by isolating them, but then provides a salve in the ways of new social networks, new chat apps, which of course are a poor substitute for genuine community and in-person interaction.

There may be better ways to solve this and other problems brought about by technology, but creating new technology is often the path of least resistance, which is very attractive to us in our fast-paced world.

Thus, we need people to understand the problems created by technology and to find even more creative solutions to these problems that do not make use of new technology.

5. Capitalism

In theory, I have nothing wrong with capitalism on a small scale, especially when it is sustainable. Sustainable capitalism means an emphasis on local trade, local production, and involvement throughout a local community. It involves a strong ethic of everyone having enough through trading of their comparitive advantages, without the ruthless and soulless drive for endless efficiency that is characteristic of the advanced technology mediated globalization.

On a large scale, capitalism has essentially failed. This is because capitalism is a vivious environment that selects for short-term solutions in lieu of other control mechanisms. These control mechanisms such as sustainability put capitalism on a leash and are only present in small communities. With the rise of global societies, these mechanisms have vanished.

The result of capitalism is a large machine of endless growth on a finite planet, and a force of humanity powered by unsustainable technologies like fossil fuels.

In the future, one of the key ways of living more sustainable would be a revolution to a new system so that the rapid development of technologies for short-term gain is not longer profitable.

Capitalism works well in a society where the size of the society is dwarfed by the number of resources and the size of the surrounding habitat, and when the society is relatively homogeneous. In the sense of sustainable ecology, capitalism starts to fail in our case because the reverse is true: the size and complexity of our society dwarf natural ecology.

6. Anti-technology Is Differentially Attractive

On the surface, anti-technology movements or other movements that promote caution against technology are much more appealing to those who especially love nature compared to those who have little exposure to nature or who have never had the chance to experience the beauties of nature.

Therefore, the danger is that people who are distrustful of technology will simply go off and form their own echo-chamber, happily espousing anti-technology sentiments while living in the woods. Unfortunately, while this creates an interesting and sustainable microcosm, it will hardly help the non-human animals and plants that are being destroyed by wanton capitalistic violence.

Thus, although anti-technology views are crucial to oppose the technological organism, anti-technology individuals and groups risk being insular and they risk being limited to existing as a place for those who detest the onslaught of advanced technology.

Even if a fairly large group emerges made up of people who want to be more cautious with technology, they risk merely being a secular version of the Amish who live relatively peacefully amongst themselves but who do not effect change. Although this would make members of the anti-technology group happier in some ways, it would not solve the underlying problem: to prevent the mass of humanity from crushing other lifeforms with the aid of advanced technology and resource usage.

Thus, it is imperative for those who wish to change the world not merely to be content with living away from technology, but also to continually strive to stifle the crushing nature of modern humanity on our biosphere.

7. Livelihoods are Dependent on Technology

Most humans now depend on technology for food and shelter. They don’t just depend on it indirectly in the sense that advanced technology is used in farming and house construction, however. They also depend on it directly because a great mass of jobs are in fact are involved with the creation of new technology, in some way.

For example, the role of marketers is to promote new technology—most of which we don’t need. The role of programmers is to make computer hardware more functional for the technological organism. The role of bus drivers it to drive people to their workplaces so they can create new technology…and so forth.

Like it or not, any job you can get will likely strengthen the technological organism in some way, no matter how much of a Luddite you are (and I use Luddite in the positive sense). Although it is possible to be sustainable without a lot of advanced technology, the upbringing of the vast majority of people consisted of being indoctrinated into a fragile, technological society.

8. Inertia

All the previous problems are given great momentum because of inertia. Due to the massive world population, making changes is very hard. Some people cite the world reaction to COVID to prove that we can move fast when necessary. However, the reaction to COVID was within the interests of the technological system. Of course, when the existing system is threatened, it can react quickly.

The same type of reaction can be seen with the Russia-Ukraine war. Pretty soon after the invasion of the Ukraine by Russia, a bunch of the major world economies put an economic strangle on Russia and sent an enormous number of weapons to the Ukraine.

Does this mean that the massive human populace can work together to solve problems? Absolutely not. It proves that when there is a direct threat to technological and economic growth, the system can react quickly to it. But the dangers to humanity caused by the technological system would require an opposition to momentum, which is far more difficult than protecting the system.

Additional Problems

Since the writing of this post, I have come up with some additional problems:

  1. People who love nature may detest technology, but in turn this may make their crusade towards a more enlightened future look more like an outright crusade against technology (which it could be as well). However, people who are aware of technology’s extreme dangers need to work together to find an optimum path towards an enlightened society, which may require subtle thinking with less emotion.
  2. The education of the latest generation in higher educational institutions is overwhelmingly politicized, mostly towards the radical left. Most of them are taught to see the world in very black and white terms. Part of the specific nature of the radical left is to seek comfort in the existing technological system by promoting equity across pre-defined demographic groups in technological development.

Conclusion

In short, the problems facing our technologically strangled society are huge. Solving them requires collaboration, and talent in all areas in order to address these serious problems. In order to be ecologically sustainable, we need to solve all of these problems to move peacefully from our present state into one that does not pose a serious existential threat to every lifeform, including ourselves.

These problems seem insurmountable sometimes, and so that is one reason why we see a variety of rebellious acts against society such as anarchism and revolutionaries. However, simple small-scale revolutions and anarchism aren’t enough to make too much change on their own, or if they are, they might also be chaotic. Of course, various ideas in anarchism or other similar styles may have useful insights.

The most important thing to do if you believe in reform or revolution is to contribute in your capacity to promote skepticism towards technology, growth, and our devastation of the ecosystem for short-term gain.

But in order to solve the problems of our technological society posing a crushing risk to the planet, we need to go beyond single ideologies or strategies. We need to evolve organically with the problem at hand, and carefully instill all these ideas into the mass of our population so that its inertia can move away from endless growth to sustainability.

I welcome any comments!

We tend to look at technology as a stream of individual inventions. That was certainly how technology was presented to me through school and I think this is how most people view technology as well. However, the nature of technology is hardly touched upon in modern discourse. What do I mean by the nature of technology? I mean things such as the motivations of those who create technology, what technology actually is, and its ultimate aims, as well as how it interacts with the peculiarities of modern society. From my point of view, these are some of the most important observations and topics in this realm:

The People Who Create Technology

The most advanced technology (computer and science-based technology such as bioengineering) is primarily created by those who are highly attracted to this field. This means those of the introverted type who may have tendencies as teenagers and young adults to prefer computers over people, and who find comfort in immersing themselves in arcane knowledge.

I am not saying these tendencies are bad, but they do have their own peculiarities. For example, over time, such people are prone to create technologies that isolate people on a global scale, simply because technologies that are effective in doing so will be especially attractive to such people.

From this observation, we conclude we must be extremely careful because technology creation will be biased towards those types of technologies that tend to isolate people. An example is AI which can act as a buffer between real people and the user: with an advanced AI doing most information-gathering tasks for you, you no longer have to interact with the people who create information.

Capitalism

The fundamental core of capitalism, which is trade of goods and services through comparitive advantage, works on a small scale. But capitalism has a second-order effect that is especially emphasized through globalization and technology. This second order effect is that short-term monetary gains are emphasized over all else. Moreover, our capitalistic society makes it so that engaging in transactions that bring short-term monetary gains are necessarily for survival for most people.

This is hardly just a technology problem, although without advanced technology, this second-order effect would be negligible for two reasons: the efficiency of trade would not be sufficient to make this effect as noticeable, and even if such an effect were noticeable, a lack of technology would make us relatively harmless to the biosphere.

This interaction between technology and capitalism leads us to conclude that present-stage capitalism will be unstable in the long-run, and so we must make modifications to our current economic system so that the development of new technology is much less profitable than it is currently. (This may involve heavy regulations, but it would be better if it involved a large-scale opposition by the people, which in turn may be spurned by a new, more beneficial and rewarding way of life.)

The Prisoner’s Dilemma

The prisoner’s dilemma is a two-person game (in the sense of game theory) where two people need to make one of two choices. In the realm of technology, it can be seen in the following principle: if neither person chooses to use a piece of technology, then both will be better off. But, if you know your opposition will not use the technology, you can use it to gain an advantage over them and thus get a huge reward. Unfortunately, your opposition knows this and so uses the technology as well, making both parties worse off.

This is true of AI. We would all be better off if no one used advanced AI. However, because some people are not using it yet (or as effectively as Mr. Joe Tech), then Mr. Joe Tech can use AI to gain a huge advantage over everyone else (but only in the short term). Realizing this, everyone else copies Mr. Joe Tech and uses AI as well, thereby making the entire world worse. Although everyone would be better off not using AI, it only takes one person to start the rat-race to the bottom of using AI.

The prisoner’s dilemma is one of the most pervasive and worst facets of humanity, because we have the intellectual capability to understand the choices involved. If we did not have such analytical brains, it is possible that we would not drive ourselves into disaster by playing out the prisoner’s dilemma as “rational agents”.

From this rather grim observation, we conclude that the only way to avoid the prisoner’s dilemma is to find a creative way out of playing the “game” in the first place. This could again involve mass opposition to it, or even changing our way of thinking through spiritual development such as meditation.

The Rich Control Progress

Unfortunately, there is a certain kind of person that relishes intellectual stimulation and places it above all else. Typically, this is the person who is well-off in the world in terms of money, has intellectually engaging friends, and welcomes technological progress because they derive short-term value from it in terms of what new intellectual stimulation it brings.

Many university professors, programmers, doctors, dentists, and other well-off people are of this ilk, although not all of course. There are some individuals from every one of these disciplines that are ecologically aware and responsible, but it’s safe to say that most are not (and I have spent time with many such individuals).

The most unfortunate thing is that these people have the most power in society, and they are extremely attached to their way of life, which is primarily having enough disposable income to indulge themselves with the latest technological trends. They spend their working hours forwarding the technological society and their disposable income on making new technological developments profitable. The addictive nature of technology and of finding new and strange ways of intellectual stimulation makes sure that these people will drive society to the brink of disaster, and perhaps past it.

Of course, there is nothing morally wrong with these people in general. They are typically very nice, friendly, and generous. However, they are so addicted to progress in all forms that they are somewhat blinded to the true nature of their power.

From this, we must conclude that a portion of educational materials about the dangers of technology should be directed towards such individuals, so that they can realize the effects of technology and work to stop it.

The Emergent Phenomenon

There are always, higher-order emergent phenomena that arise from complex systems. In modern society, we have the technological organism that I described in a previous blog post. Briefly, I stated that society has built up such a tightly-integrated system through technology that the entirety of technology along with our interacting with it makes for something that is similar to an organism.

In other words, our vast numbers combined with technology behave as if it’s a life-form of its own, and this life-form can defend itself. So, even if some people are aware of the technological problem, the system has countless ways of fighting back against the anti-technology effort.

From this, we conclude that we must study the technological system and figure out ways past its defenses, which may include modifying other societal structures such as capitalism to ruin the economic forces that drive technological development.

Technology Creates Problems That Only It Can Solve

Technology creates so many problems, but of course the main ones are human isolation and climate change, which is unequivocally human-caused. But, there are countless other problems, too.

And these problems are such that the only “obvious” and quick solutions to them involve even more technology. Due to our shortsightedness though, these “solutions” will actually bring about even more problems than they solve. I would not be surprised if for every problem solved with technology, the resulting new technology will bring about 10 new problems!

The only solution here is to educate people to analyze technology in great detail and be extremely cautious of it. Ideally, some technologies will be destroyed and altogether abandoned, such as medical research into aging and AI.

Conclusion

Technology is propelled by many forces out of our immediate control, and this post has looked at a few of them. I suggest that you never again think of technology as indiviudal inventions that you can choose to use and that we have the free will to choose or not choose. Technology is far more insidious and dangerous than that, and plays upon our early evolutionary instincts to drive itself forward and lead to our destruction.

This subject is the most serious and gravest that we have faced as a species and we must propagate these ideas or else will may perish.

I believe in a sort of cautionary principle: new knowledge and new technology should be treated with caution until its full implications are known. But I believe this principle comes from a more general principle: that with every power we gain, whether it be from a physical source or an intellectual one, we also bear an equal amount of responsibility in using that power. Moreover, that responsibility derives from being respectful towards all living things on this planet.

Currently, we have very much power and very little respect. For example, it is the norm in our world to develop new technology and scientific knowledge without any responsibility. If I wrote an AI program tomorrow that could write perfect essays, then hardly anyone would bat an eye or think me immoral; yet that is what my action would be if I released such a program. In fact, instead of people disapproving of me, they would likely commend me for my ingenuity and I would likely even be able to gain wealth with my invention.

Release new knowledge or new technology without ever considering its wider societal implications is an action without responsibility. Consequently, it lacks respect for all living things because it has the potential to harm them. Moreover, most modern technology released today likely is harmful, and it is very likely that if you invent something new today, it will be harmful tomorrow.

AI is one such technology: it is too powerful, too general, and hence surely harmful. Moreover, no company developing AI today ever considers their responsibility. Likely if they truly did take responsibility, then they would immediately delete everything they have created. Companies like OpenAI and Meta (Facebook) are some of the most irresponsible and reprehensible of such companies.

The only way to make sure that people take responsibility in the future is through education: with every class teaching students about mathematics, computer science, and engineering, the ethics of wielding this intellectual power must also be taught. The ethics should include the importance of taking responsibility by considering the effect inventions have on all living beings, human and nonhuman.

We cannot continue down our current path. Humanity is at the brink of various disasters that I will talk about later. But suffice it to say, an entire planet creating things without responsibility is a recipe for disaster, and anyone who has any hand in the creation of new technology must put as much effort as possible into making sure it is treated cautiously and in particular, is not developed at all if there is any uncertainty that it will accelerate the suffering of living beings, both human and nonhuman.

On this blog, I am often critical of technology. But that is not to say that I am disapproving of every aspect of society, nor do I wish for all technology suddenly to vanish.

In fact, in many parts of the world, life is pretty good. If you pick any other point in history, chances are the average person had it way worse than now, and that is something to be thankful for.

Moreover, if all technology vanished overnight, then there would likely be large amounts of chaos where small, vicious gangs would form and there would be fighting of all kind.

Besides, dismantling all technology is unrealistic, even though some authors who caution aainst technology wish for such a scenario. For a more realistic life philosophy, those of us who have something need to be grateful for it and at the same time look for solutions to protect society from degenerating.

That is the danger of technology right now. It has brought us to the best place and rapid growth and innovation of technology is the active mechanism that has brought us here.

Unfortunately, we basically have an unbridled enthusiasm for technology, and that means we do not have mechanisms in place that could warn us of dangers if technology goes awry, which it already has in many ways. Remember, even though our society is good now, it may not be stable as good does not necessarily imply stable. A ball will reach a high point upon being thrown but that does not imply it will stay at the top forever.

In fact, it is because the modern world is relatively good that we should seek life philosophies and societal approaches that will make our society more stable, and less likely to be disrupted by advanced technology. Part of the danger is that technology can come in discrete and abrupt waves, and that is something we need to seriously think about.

At the same time, technology has an enormous momentum, which is why it is especially important not to mince words, and be as harsh as possible on technology. Technology is not a person and it will not be offended (at least not yet). In fact, the more advanced we get, the more cautious we should be of something destroying what we have, which is why I say we should be extremely cautious of technology.

Of course, not all technologies are inherently evil, but some may be such as AI, which is why I say we should be the most cautious of AI and some other technologies.

OpenAI, the company that has developed Dall-E and ChatGPT, is one of the most dangerous companies right now. They are dangerous because they are developing new artificial intelligence programs that will significantly destroy the natural way human beings interact with each other. These programs are the start of a system that will make human beings so little reliant on each other that a new level of mental illness may spread throughout humanity.

OpenAI is developing programs that produce creative work. Their progress is impressive and it means a society where very few creative people will be able to do anything of value. It thereby also serves to concentrate most of the wealth of the world towards tech companies.

Moreover, we do not know the implications of developing such technology, and humanity is not mature enough to handle it (and we may never be). OpenAI has a charter and they claim that they want their technology to benefit all of humanity. Such thinking is highly deluded. Let us go through their charter. They say,

We are committed to doing the research required to make AGI safe, and to driving the broad adoption of such research across the AI community.

Unfortunately, making AGI (artificial general intelligence) safe is impossible. Its very existence will disrupt humanity just by its mere existence. They say,

We are concerned about late-stage AGI development becoming a competitive race without time for adequate safety precautions.

By even creating the technologies they have made, they are already starting that race. It does not even matter what safeguards they choose. Other people will not use such safeguards, and in my opinion, there is no safeguard against the threat AGI poses to humanity. (Trivial safeguards such as content filters are irrelevant to my argument about the long-term effects of AGI. They say,

To be effective at addressing AGI’s impact on society, OpenAI must be on the cutting edge of AI capabilities.

The hubris of this statement shocks me. It sounds like they want to play God. As soon as AGI becomes even more powerful, its power will be seductive and it is doubtful that anyone at OpenAI will consider the ethics when billions of dollars is at stake.

Just imagine for a second if everyone at OpenAI found a way to become rich beyond their wildest dreams (which they probably already have). Are they really going to seriously consider any argument that might indicate that AGI/AI is actually bad for us? I seriously doubt that.

In my opinion, AI research now has become even more dangerous than biological weapons, because it is a crucial part of a system that will suck us in and away from being human, and perhaps even destroy us.

Thus, OpenAI is indeed an extremely dangerous company along with any other companies or individuals who develop AI to this level. The most ideal scenario at this point would be that OpenAI and any other such company would be stopped, and such research be made illegal. Unfortunately, mental damage is much harder to gauge than physical, which is why we ban assault weapons but not AI yet.

Even if this outcome is very unlikely, I urge every reader to avoid supporting OpenAI. Do not use ChatGPT, do not use any of their current or future products, and do not buy any of their stock if they go public.

I could be wrong about technology, but I think for the most part, I am not. And if you read this blog, you might think the message is “technology is bad”, and in some cases it is.

But my real message is not that “technology is bad” but that “we should think critically about all technology”, especially since right now, the only mechanism propelling it forward is primarily capitalistic and short term gain.

Thinking critically about technology includes making personal decisions to free yourself from any technology which you consider having a net negative impact on your life. Therefore, I advocate not just words but action: the action of taking responsibility for your own life with regards to the invasion of technology.

I have to say this because I feel that in today’s society, very little weight is being given to thinking clearly. Instead, we are pressured into fitting into an ideology. I think this is a serious and dangerous mistake.

That is why I would never want to identify myself unidimensionally as left- or right-leaning. I say, take a fresh, critical look at all issues, and make sure you are looking at specific things. Never get caught up in supporting vague, general notions that mean different things to different people. And, if you are going to enter into a discussion with someone else, restrict your remarks and conversation to concepts that are both precisely-defined and agreed upon during your conversation!

Thus, returning to technology, I advocate a harshly critical view of it and to regard each piece of technology with extreme suspicion. For example, let’s say you were lost in a forest and you found a tasty-looking mushroom to eat. Wouldn’t you regard this mushroom with suspicion before eating it? Why then not regard technology, and new ideas in general, with equal suspicion?

Of course, part of the reason is that we soak up new information, probably because we are wired to hoard resources (both physical and informational). And while that was an adaptive mechanism in simpler times, it is has become partially maladaptive.

Therefore, I am not necessarily, uniformly anti-technology. I may also be wrong about some of its harms. But I am taking a critical look at it because it is a moral duty to do so. If you take such a critical stance, you will improve your existence immensely.