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Artificial intelligence: am I right to be worried? The choice is ours.

Artificial intelligence: am I right to be worried? The choice is ours.

First published on LinkedIn on 23 August 2023 (available here).

As much as I'm a fan of new technologies and enthusiastic about the developments enabled by blockchain and tokenization, particularly in the legal field (logion , Sabine VAN HAECKE LEPIC , Ph.D ), I'm much more reserved about the frenzy that has gripped the world with the release of unfinished software, promoted as artificial intelligence (certainly a more attractive terminology than computer programs), whose purpose seems to be technology for technology's sake, rather than its usefulness or true contribution to what already exists.

Should AI become what it is claimed it can and should be, ubiquitous and indispensable for everything that concerns us? Why frame the debate in terms of replacement, rather than addition or enhancement?

After the journalistic frenzy that followed the public availability of generative artificial intelligences (text, images, videos, sound), the multiplication of new "experts" in just a few weeks flooding LinkedIn with advice for the best "prompt" to use Chat GPT and the like, hardly a day goes by without the promotion of a new "tool" (sorry Arnaud Billion, I know that this is not the appropriate term) to perform this or that task, or even to replace entire professions. And even law firms are letting it slip that they are investing in AI (promotion? FOMO?).

The use of generative AI can be a source of amusement, that's for sure. Professional use, on the other hand, leaves us circumspect. The errors and inventions ("hallucinations") of the results leave us perplexed as to their usefulness, not to mention the questions of energy consumption, increased use of water resources, intellectual property rights, copyright and harassment that their uncontrolled use raises.

I think that AIs (generative AIs, because general artificial intelligence does not exist - and probably never will) are a serious source of concern on another level, that of our own role in leading our lives as humans, our choice to be free, because the proliferation of AIs means giving up.

Giving up autonomy.

Why do or continue to do what is tedious, or complex, and can be done faster, and perhaps better, by a computer?

You make the machine do what you don't want to do and will soon no longer be able to do. You find yourself dependent (yes, you can blindly follow your GPS and end up in the lake!) and helpless if the machine is unavailable.

Relinquishing responsibility.

We prefer to leave things to the machine, out of laziness or an alleged quest for efficiency. But we run the risk of no longer being able to detect errors, correct them or take responsibility for them.

But dependence on the machine is convenient. It allows you not to take the initiative, and therefore not to make mistakes, and therefore not to be held responsible.

Giving up our ability to judge.

If the machine makes better decisions, we have nothing left to do, say or even think.

And if, despite everything, we feel that there has been an error or a malfunction, the search for someone to blame becomes a technical matter, a matter for experts or so-called experts, where we will be reduced to tracking down a code error, which we may well not be able to detect without recourse to an AI and therefore without our own human capacity for judgement.

Choosing not to choose.

Choosing is difficult, there is a risk of making a mistake, and, after all, have we made the best choice?

Isn't the greatest danger to consider that AI would be capable of making better decisions than a human being, on the grounds that it doesn't make mistakes or that it is devoid of bias?

Choices in medicine, finance, law and justice have a direct impact on the lives of human beings, and it is irresponsible to contemplate moving from assisted decision-making (humans assisted or "augmented" by machines) to delegated decision-making.

Giving up freedom.

This unbridled and irrational promotion of artificial intelligence is nothing less than the risk of setting up a dictatorship of technology, which is the real threat of AI.

It is not AI itself that is at issue, but the choice not to choose. It seems to me that this choice is an uninformed choice, a choice that results from the will not to choose, induced or teleguided by the companies that make a profit from the mass deployment of generative artificial intelligence (Chat GPT and other technologies for processing masses of information).

There is no need to fear superior artificial intelligence, technological supremacy or computers on the verge of autonomously dominating humans.

Domination by algorithms is a myth, but submission to algorithms can become a reality through our own renunciation.

We still have a choice.

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