The Age of AI

In an evolving infosphere, information ends up being a “double-edged sword” in the sense that information can either “illuminate” human beings and in turn elevate the human condition, or it can “deform” the human condition depending on the quality of the information. As Byung-Chul Han argued: “Information by itself does not illuminate the world. It can even have the opposite effect. From a certain point onwards, information does not inform – it deforms.” 

What determines the difference between illuminative information on one hand and deformative information on the other hand is the truth. As Byung-Chul Han noted:

“Unlike information, truth possesses a firmness of being. Truth is characterized by duration and stability. Truth is facticity. It resists any change or manipulation. It thus forms the foundation of human existence: ‘Conceptually, we may call truth what we cannot change; metaphorically, it is the ground on which we stand and the sky that stretches above us.” 

And without truth, one cannot have stability in any aspect or dimension of human existence. As Byung-Chul Han added:

“Truth is part of the terrestrial order. It gives human life stability. The digital order puts an end to the age of truth and introduces the post-factual information society. The post-factual regime of information elevates itself above fact-based truth. In its post-factual form, information is thing-fleeing. When nothing is arrestable, all stability is lost.”

As a result, policymakers and state authorities in the international system have to address the fact that the “blue check marks” which are given to people and the fact that lies spread six times faster than the truth under the current information regime which rules over our “infosphere” are undermining something very basic and fundamental to human existence, namely, social order and social stability. 

Arguably, what makes today’s technological revolution different than the various technological revolutions of the past is that this current technological revolution defined by “Artificial Intelligence” (AI) is fundamentally altering and changing the basic foundations and underpinnings of political and social organizations and structures around the entire world. As Henry Kissinger and his co-authors argued:

“Humanity has experienced technological change throughout history. Only rarely, however, has technology fundamentally transformed the social and political structure of our societies. More frequently, the preexisting frameworks through which we order our social world adapt and absorb new technology, evolving and innovating within recognizable categories. The car replaced the horse without forcing a total shift in social structure. The rifle replaced the musket, but the general paradigm of conventional military activity remained largely unaltered.”

Kissinger and his co-authors added:

“Only rarely have we encountered a technology that challenged our prevailing modes of explaining and ordering the world. But AI promises to transform all realms of human experience. And the core of its transformations will ultimately occur at the philosophical level, transforming how humans understand reality and our role within it.”

And as Kissinger and his co-authors argued, humanity has three basic options when it comes to dealing with AI: 

  1. Confining or “containing” AI 
  2. Partnering with AI
  3. Deferring to AI 

The best option for humanity, according to Kissinger and his co-authors, is to “elevate a concept of knowledge that is the result of partnership between humans and machines.” In essence, human beings have certain ‘comparative advantages’ which AI does not have, whereas AI has certain ‘comparative advantages’ which human beings do not have. After all, and as Heidegger argued, technology is merely a means to an end. And as mentioned before, the end goal of the technological means and tools which are at our disposal is ultimately a subject matter that is dealt with best by philosophers and certain religious scholars. 

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