Technology and the Near Future


Apropos last week’s “We’re Not Ready for the AI on the Horizon, But People Are Trying,” here is economist and policy analyst Samuel Hammond on what the near future holds:

You’ll be able to replace your face and voice with those of someone else in real time, allowing anyone to socially engineer their way into anything. Bots will slide into your DMs and have long, engaging conversations with you until it senses the best moment to send its phishing link… Relationships will fall apart when the AI lets you know, via microexpressions, that he didn’t really mean it when he said he loved you. Copyright will be as obsolete as sodomy law, as thousands of new Taylor Swift albums come into being with a single click. Public comments on new regulations will overflow with millions of cogent and entirely unique submissions that the regulator must, by law, individually read and respond to. Death-by-kamikaze drone will surpass mass shootings as the best way to enact a lurid revenge. The courts, meanwhile, will be flooded with lawsuits because who needs to pay attorney fees when your phone can file an airtight motion for you?

You’re welcome to share you’re own technology-oriented near-term predictions for the world, or ones you’re aware of elsewhere, that you think are interesting, worrisome, or at least the kind of things some philosophers should be thinking about.

Hammond adds:

It doesn’t have to be this way. We can fight AI fire with AI fire and adapt our practices along the way. But there are an awful lot of laws that will need changing. So it’d just help if our leaders understood what’s at stake and seized the first mover advantage.

The whole piece is here. (Via Tyler Cowen.)

Relatedly, the theme of next year’s Public Philosopy Network Conference is “Facing Technology.”

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Louis F. Cooper
1 month ago

From the excerpted quotation:

Bots will slide into your DMs and have long, engaging conversations with you until it [sic] senses the best moment to send its phishing link

I barely know what a DM is because I’m not active on Twitter or any other platform where a DM (direct message) is a “thing.”

I sense that many sets of predictions about AI, like this one, implicitly assume that everyone is “wired” and active w.r.t. all the various forms of technology. Or to put it differently, the predictions breezily ignore the fact that many people in the world do not even have access to the Internet. Or if they
don’t ignore that fact exactly, predictions like these adopt an annoyingly knowing, insider-ish tone that implicitly conveys to the reader that if he/she/they don’t, for example, “do” DMs they are hopelessly backward.

Take another of the predictions:

You’ll be able to replace your face and voice with those of someone else in real time, allowing anyone to socially engineer their way into anything.

Let’s say you’re an 80-year-old who wants to get into a club — not a virtual club, a brick-and-mortar club — to attend a dance or other social event that is restricted to people who are age 29 or younger. And further assume that if you look the right age, you’ll get in (i.e., no one is checking driver’s licenses or birth certificates). This prediction, read literally, suggests that the 80-year-old will be able to swap out his or her face for that of a 23-year old and waltz into the club. That of course is nonsense. I would be very surprised if there is AI on the horizon that will enable one to perform instant plastic surgery on oneself.

And assuming the prediction is limited to digitally, not physically, changing one’s face, is that such a big deal? As soon as the physical and the digital have to come into alignment, the deception (or substitute another word if you prefer) will be revealed.Report

Marc Champagne
1 month ago

I am currently writing a new book on this titled Endangered Experiences: Skipping Newfangled Technologies and Sticking to Real Life. You can find a draft of the preface and introduction on my website: https://marcchampagnephilosopher.files.wordpress.com/2022/12/marc-champagne-endangered-experiences.pdfReport

Last edited 1 month ago by Marc Champagne