The danger with AI is not that machines will become smarter than us, but that we will become as dumb as machines. The absurdly prescient William S. Burroughs was wise to this fifty years ago. “The study of thinking machines teaches us more about the brain than we can learn by introspective methods,” pronounces Dr. Benway, in 1959’s Naked Lunch. “Western man is externalizing himself in the form of gadgets.”
I have tried to sketch out some of the near-term implications of AI, but it is substantially easier to predict the long-term. Then we can rely on a few core principles, such as that technology, like all life forms, is fundamentally self-perpetuating.