The next step in human social evolution is responsibility and respect

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.


All my posts are written without AI. Feel free to download and copy this image to support the fight against AI!

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