The threat of Authoritarian Intelligence: A call for ethical AI development

The development of AI is being shaped by tech leaders striving for absolute ideological power, threatening individual, societal, and business autonomy.

Man and machine fight for the globe

Judy Estrin, a technological pioneer, warned of the rise of ‘authoritarian intelligence,’ where a small number of tech titans are designing our collective future and imposing their societal vision. This top-down approach, amplified by a culture of inevitability, poses a threat to individual freedoms and values.

The culture of inevitability is very dangerous as it disregards alternative perspectives. The narrative surrounding AI is often coated with language promoting efficiency and convenience, while any pushback is dismissed as ignorance.

The author draws parallels to the negative consequences of social media and smartphones, emphasising the need to question the path towards large-scale, general-purpose AI implementations. They raise concerns about the risks of disinformation, data privacy, biassed decision-making, job loss, environmental impacts, and the potential elimination of human agency.

Estrin argues that human well-being and dignity should be prioritised over intelligence and calls for checks and balances, impactful policies, independent funding, and ethics guidelines to protect human rights and distribute power in AI development.

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