Mathematics is being used as a shield for corrupt practices
I want to start this blog with what I think is a false premise: machines will make a better world for humans.
Now, before you call me a Luddite I just ask that you hear me out. For those unfamiliar, the Luddites were members of a 19th-century movement of English textile workers which opposed the use of certain types of cost-saving machinery, often by destroying the machines in clandestine raids. They protested against manufacturers who used machines in "a fraudulent and deceitful manner" to replace the skilled labour of workers and drive down wages by producing inferior goods.
To my point, we have outsourced a good deal of work to machines already and what that has produced is a hollowing out of the middle class, but I digress.
The thesis I wish to make in this blog post is that AI is a dehumanizing technology. It seeks to supplant human thinking with bot thinking. Some people have even gone so far as to develop sermons or "messages" from Chat Gpt as if AI has some sentient quality or even provide us with spiritual messages. A machine that can "learn" by definition can only learn from the past. And as Einstein said: "We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them." It is a tautology (a logical conclusion) that AI can only be a dead end to something as ethereal and delicate as a spiritual message.
I am beginning to see how AI is blunting human interaction in areas such as social media. The AI algorithms used to funnel content has had a horrific dehumanizing effect on the social body of humanity. Anything now can be used to divide by siloing people down informational rabbit holes. In an age of information we are drowning in disinformation and bad ideas.
Some people point to the usefulness of AI. Let's look at a few examples.
-- Facial recognition in policing: Black faces are not even seen by this technology and there have been numerous cases of arrest due to false identification. Besides that, do we really want to live in a surveillance society? Mental note -- reread George Orwell.
-- Medical Diagnosis by Watson: IBM's AI system claims to be able to scan thousands of images (in the case of x-ray) and medical texts in seconds to arrive at a diagnosis. But here's a question -- who is evaluating the quality of the research. How can we know that the medical information that Watson is scanning was done right? That is to say, was the study statistically skewed, was the methodology flawed, and who paid for the research and for what purpose was the research done? What research is being sifted through? Do natural medicines get considered? The healing work that Native People have collated over centuries?
In this scenario, what if a doctor of 30 or 40 years experience disagreed with Watson? A doctor who has insight into how a disease might manifest from ACTUAL experience. Who would you trust? Is that doctor going to want to speak up and challenge an AI diagnosis?
In the case of spirituality, people have used CHAT gpt to generate sermons and while you might get some text which is an amalgamation of other spiritual texts it is merely a representation of spirituality." It is not spirituality. To be more concrete a shadow is a representation of an object but it is NOT the object. If I were to put it in biblical terminology I'd call it a False god.
I posit that AI is our modern day Baal. Modern people will "follow the data" to find meaning in life and the answers they seek and they will be led down rabbit holes. Holes that may even have been dug on purpose by the algorithm designers. Here's a question: who gets to decide what data the bots will use?
The way out is the way in. From Luke 21:17 "The kingdom of God is within you."
Quakers have always sought a direct experience of God free from intercessors. AI is no different.
~ Joseph Olejak
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