Artificial intelligence that can read the human mind may spell out disaster for humanity as we know it. Technologies linking human consciousness to any sort of a cloud computing service could not just open the way for totalitarian mind control, but destroy the very essence of human relations, philosopher Slavoj Zizek says.
Totalitarian mind control sounds daunting and horrific. And a computer that can read the thoughts of several people at the same time would make normal human life impossible, the Slovenian cultural philosopher told RT in the wake of the World Artificial Intelligence (AI) Conference in Shanghai. The same conference also saw Alibaba’s chairman Jack Ma and Tesla CEO Elon Musk clashing over the future of AI.
— RT (@RT_com) August 30, 2019
While Ma and Musk, the technopreneurs, engaged in a heated discussion over the possibility of humans being controlled by machines in the future, the senior researcher at the Institute for Sociology and Philosophy at the University of Ljubljana shared his thoughts on the issue with RT.
“What I am studying now is the so-called phenomenon of wired brains, a possibility of our brains being connected with strong digital machines. And that is not a utopia. In the media lab at MIT, Massachusetts, they already have simple machines like that. It is like a helmet, nothing intrusive, they put it on your head.
And then something horrible happens – I saw the video – you think certain thoughts, you do not say anything, and the machine reproduces them either in writing or with artificial voice.” –Slavoj Zizek, via RT
The video Zizek referenced is by 60 Minutes:
Arnav Kapur, a student in MIT’s Media Lab, has developed a system to surf the internet with his mind. He silently Googled our questions and heard the answers through vibrations transmitted through his skull and into his inner ear. pic.twitter.com/aN76Jn4AHv
— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) April 22, 2018
What happens when AI begins to read minds without your permission? That’s when complete enslavement can take hold.
“Now, there is a serious option to read our thoughts, not just our emotional attitudes like being angry or sad but even the line of our thoughts in our mind. The next step in this “utopia” will be a computer that can read my thoughts and your thoughts that can connect us so that we can share our thoughts. If you and I are connected through the same computer, I can literally participate in your thinking directly without any external communication like word typing,” said Zizek.
“We as human beings are precisely what we are, free individuals as far as we can be sure that you do not know what I am thinking. I think what I think, I am free in my mind. What happens if I cannot be sure even of this?” Slavoj Zizek, via RT