Although coined more than 70 years ago, artificial intelligence is now transforming our lives at an ever-increasing pace. Benefits include reducing human error and the ability to work around the clock.
However, this cutting-edge tech can come at a price – threatening democracy itself, an AI expert has revealed.
If AI allowed complete government surveillance of our lives, enabling a totalitarian regime, it could end the West as we know it.
Simon McCarthy-Jones, an Associate Professor in Clinical Psychology and Neuropsychology at Trinity College Dublin, told Express.co.uk could spell the end of western ideologies if misused.
He said: “If AI allowed complete government surveillance of our lives, enabling a totalitarian regime, it could end the West as we know it.
“But it would not end the idea of the West. The flame of freedom would still smoulder in our hearts and we would try to relight it.
Artificial Intelligence: AI could potentially provide an existential threat to humanity
Artificial Intelligence: This cutting-edge tech can come at a price
“A much greater threat is if AI comes to know us better than we know ourselves.
“Then a government could argue it knows what will make us happy and should therefore make all our decisions for us all.
“This kills not just freedom but the very idea of freedom.
“After all, if the government truly knows how to make us happy, why would we choose to go against their advice?
“The only escape, as I note in a book I have coming out next month, would be through spite.
Artificial Intelligence: AI could spell the end of western ideologies if misused
“Again, this doesn’t mean we should refuse self-knowledge. Ignorance does not create bliss – it invites exploitation.
“But we must ensure others do not possess knowledge about us that we do not have. We cannot allow a self-knowledge gap.”
Professor McCarthy-Jones believes the only way to protect ourselves from a bleak AI-led totalitarian future is through a commitment to human rights.
He said: “AI threatens privacy and free thought. These are basic human rights.
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“We, through our courts and elected representatives, cannot allow those wielding AI to undermine these rights.
“Indeed, we should be asking how AI can support these rights.”
He believes the problem is AI arrives with the promise of immense wealth for its creators and immense power for its possessors.
The psychology and neuropsychology expert said: “Someone waving the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in the face of a regime with AI will look like Neville Chamberlain returning from Munich in 1938.
Artificial Intelligence: A much greater threat is if AI comes to know us better than we know ourselves
“Maybe the idea of privacy in our time will prove as delusional as Chamberlain’s claim of ‘peace in our time’.
“Chamberlain, paper in hand, went on to suggest that the British people should go home and ‘get a nice sleep’.
“We cannot sleep whilst AI is being developed, even if others promise not to use it to violate our rights.
“I’m optimistic we can regulate the human use and abuse of AI, but it is going to take constant vigilance.
“Eternal vigilance is indeed the price of liberty. People like Elon Musk also worry about AI itself becoming a totalitarian ruler, should it become self-conscious and autonomous.
“But first humans have to survive other humans possessing AI.
“We don’t know what the goals of an autonomous AI will be. But we know what other humans want.
“If we want to survive AI, we should first worry about people.”