On the Issue of Immigration

An unstable world as a result of “Artificial Intelligence” (AI) means that the future is also uncertain as a result of the present-day instability being fostered by AI. As Henry Kissinger and his co-authors wrote: “While the advancement of AI may be inevitable, its ultimate destination is not. Its advent, then, is both historically and philosophically significant. Attempts to halt its development will merely cede the future to the element of humanity courageous enough to face the implications of its own inventiveness.”

And as mentioned before, AI exceeds human intelligence and logic in some instances, and in other instances, human intelligence and logic exceeds AI. One intelligent but often overlooked perspective towards technologies such as AI which has been highlighted by the historian and scholar Jared Diamond is that inventions such as AI and many others in the past come to life long before there is a full demand or full need or even a full understanding of such inventions. Also, AI is part of a “cumulative” development of technology which has been going on since the rise of the human race. Hence, it follows that “technology develops cumulatively, rather than in isolated heroic acts, and that it finds most of its uses after it has been invented, rather than being invented to meet a foreseen need.” 

Technology is also the primary tool or instrument which has enabled human conquest and migration through the course of time. But there is also an “intelligent design” behind immigration and migration which is often overlooked by angry populists who disdain elitism and multiculturalism, namely, the dissemination of technologies and ideas which enable the evolution of a society. Without the previous waves of migration in many parts of the world, technologies and ideas would not have been able to spread and in turn, societies would not have been able to evolve. 

Population is also an important dimension of a nation’s power, and as Joseph Nye noted, curtailing immigration would mean a decline in America’s population, which in turn would hurt the American economy and American society in the long run: 

“A more serious concern would be if the United States turned inward and seriously curtailed immigration. With its current levels of immigration, America is one of the few developed countries that may avoid demographic decline and keep its share of world population, but this might change if reactions to terrorist events or public xenophobia closed the borders.” 

Also, given that the English language is now the medium of international communication and cultural exchange, it is not difficult for immigrants to assimilate to Anglo-American culture. Immigration is also the main factor as to why America might be able to retain its creativity and economic vibrancy over China in the long run. As a result, America is able to both absorb immigration and turn immigration into a national asset over the long run, which in turn helps America’s overall standing and situation in a global context which is now largely defined by instability and uncertainty due in large part to government incompetence in many parts of the world as well as the culture wars of the “Old World” such as the one between Russia and Ukraine and so forth. 

Arguably, the twin difficulties facing “First-World” governments in the Western world are the growing difficulty in achieving “first world lifestyles” for many people as well as the inevitable decline of consumption rates due to a growing world population, as Jared Diamond noted. These are the twin difficulties which Americans are just beginning to adjust towards, and they are manifested even further by declining growth and inflation to a certain extent. But the adjustments to these twin difficulties are necessary in order to maintain both a sustainable lifestyle and a sustainable society over the long run. 

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