Yes, the fact that unregulated AI development could cause an extinction level event sound insane, but the world is rapidly metastasizing into a moral meltdown of magnificent magnitude. And the unchecked development of AI by Silicon Valley titans could be the pinnacle of arrogance that leads to an extinction level event for humanity. Metastasis is the transmission of pathogenic microorganisms or cancerous cells from an original site to one or more sites elsewhere in the body, usually through the use of blood vessels or the lymphatic system as the delivery conduit. The widespread adoption of social media allowed for the oligarchs to easily transmit pathogenic thought, beliefs, and news (self-censorship, cancel culture, short-sighted us v. them battles with zero provision of opposition views to consensus, often-wrong narratives, etc.)to billions. The delivery conduit system is incomplete however, as even today, more than half the world’s population still does not have internet access.
The aggressive push by Silicon Valley titans like Mark Zuckerberg to deliver Facebook-sponsored “free” internet access to the 4 billion people on planet Earth that currently lack access under the guise that his offering is a beneficent gift likely really hides a much darker selfish motivation and a hidden Trojan Horse. If Zuckerberg dellivers “free” internet access to billions of the underserved through a conduit in which Facebook completely controls the parts of the internet to which consumers of his “free” service are granted access, that will enable Facebook to collect valuable data about the unknown behaviors, thoughts, and news consumption patterns of half the world’s population – a fair trade off to Zuckerberg no doubt, while also creating a situation of information Apartheid. Free services sponsored by Facebook will constrain a user’s access to information available on the internet while presumably “premium” services will grant the user access to the rest of the internet. Even leaders with very shaky and questionable moral pedigrees, like India’s PM Narendra Modi, have rejected Zuckerberg’s offer to provide “free” internet, probably due to the recognition that in the world of Silicon Valley, nothing is offered for “free”. If someone like Zuckerberg really wanted to help the poorest of the poor that dwell in inhumane conditions in the slums of Dharavi, Mumbai, he would have offered them free education, free raspberry pis, free food and free housing with his billions of personal wealth along with free internet access. My belief is that Zuckerberg is trying to trick people into consummating a deal with the devil through his free internet offer – the exchange of the collection of invasive data about the behavior and thoughts of billions of people that can be uploaded into the development of AI Facebook technology, and the curtailing and regulation of information access, for the provision of “free” internet access.
In fact, a race among tech giants is ongoing right now for the right to provide “free internet” to the world. Google executives, like Facebook’s Zuckerberg, have publicly spoken about their desire in the past to provide free internet access to the 4 billion in this world lacking access through the use of balloons floating miles above the Earth that would provide internet access to remote locations. And although Google shut down this project, known by the tag name Loon earlier this year, they have continued to aggressively explore how they can bring internet access to the four billion underserved in this world that lack it. I believe that as is the case with Facebook, Google’s desire to provide internet access to remote areas on earth are not for beneficent reasons, but to gather data to feed into their Deep Mind AI platform, a program that already has been widely criticized by many for unethical applications of its AI development. Furthermore, on continents that have accepted Zuckerberg’s offer of “free” internet, like Africa, prominent Africans have widely criticized Zuckerberg’s system of internet delivery on the continent.
For example, Gbenga Sesan, the organizational head of Paradigm Initiative Nigeria whose mission includes helping young Africans living in poverty obtain internet access, stated, “It’s difficult for me to argue against free internet,” but quickly qualified his statement by stating that it was completely disingenuous of Facebook and Zuckerberg to provide Africans with only partial access to the internet, while misleading them to believe they had full access. In other words, Sesan seemed to imply that Facebook was attempting to shape and influence the thoughts of Africans by determining the news and information on the internet to which Africans would have access through their “free” internet services. So just as the governments of England, Spain, Portugal, Italy, France and Belgium aggressively colonized Africa to exploit its abundance natural resources in the past, it seems as if an aggressive attempt of Google and Facebook to colonize developing nation’s digital economies is ramping up in modern times.
Furthermore, with Facebook out of the picture in India, Google CEO Sundar Pichai has been aggressively seeking to embed Google into the economic digitization plans of India’s government (sans Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies of course). Last year, Pichai announced that Google would be investing $10B into India’s economic digitization push, with part of his goal to move hundreds of millions of Indians without internet access online. Even though Pichai continually emphasizes that Google’s “mission compass is to provide information”, his statements lack one critical word: the word “regulated” preceding the word “information”. I know for a fact, that many truths about the criminal behaviors of global banks during the 2008 global financial crisis have been completely scrubbed from Google search results and if you conduct the exact same searches today as you conducted in 2008, the most important revealing stories regarding certain financial stories will be completely missing from Google search engine results (in fact, I address the increasing regulation of information and the duplicitous presentation of incomplete information as “complete” information in a few courses of skwealthacademy. For those interested in the coming launch, download the fact sheet here).
Already, filmmaker Alex Gibney warned us of the horrendous resultant blowback of unchecked development of zero day exploits that manifest in the real world in his brilliant documentary Zero Days. Gibney revealed that the leak of the Stuxnet code to the outside world, never intended by its developers, likely resulted in Black Hat hackers now gaining possession of complex malicious code they never could have developed on their own that perhaps can be modified to shut down large portions of the Internet of Everything (IoT) all over the world. History has warned us, time and time again, that development of malicious technology will not be without unforeseen and unintended consequences. Thus, it is only fair to ask, what happens if Deep Mind seizes control of Google servers and locks its creators out of their servers? What if Facebook’s AI programs, built to analyze patterns of video creation and consumption on the Facebook platform, decides to shut down a user’s access to electricity in his or her home or even access to his or her digital money if it decides that the user’s views need to be censored? The continued, unregulated expansion of the merger of developing AI programs with the IoT certainly makes such scenarios not only entirely plausible, but also likely, in the near future.
Understanding this, how can the development of such programs continue to occur with no outside, independent, third party regulation, feedback and oversight? Will the continued lack of oversight of corporate developed AI technology make the politically-enforced 2020-2021 global economic lockdowns look like child’s play to the level of control that may be exercised over the world’s citizens, enabled through the use of AI technology by the year 2030? These may be unanswerable questions at the current time, yet questions that need to be explored and considered in much greater depth than current levels for the sake of humanity’s future.
About the author: J.Kim of skwealthacademy provides fiercely independent analysis of the world’s financial markets and of corporate ethics. Please bookmark this site and visit frequently to remain up-to-date of all future skwealthacademy published content.