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Forget about artificial intelligence, extended intelligence is the future – WIRED, 24th April 2019, Joi Ito

Digital dystopia mustn’t happen

“Last year, I participated in a discussion of The Human Use of Human Beings, Norbert Weiner’s groundbreaking book on cybernetics theory. Out of that grew what I now consider a manifesto against the growing singularity movement, which posits that artificial intelligence, or AI, will supersede and eventually displace us humans.

The notion of singularity – which includes the idea that AI will supercede humans with its exponential growth, making everything we humans have done and will do insignificant – is a religion created mostly by people who have designed and successfully deployed computation to solve problems previously considered impossibly complex for machines.”

Through the WI Lens

The term singularity has been described as “a hypothetical future point in time at which technological growth becomes uncontrollable and irreversible, resulting in unfathomable changes to human civilization”. It’s the point when machines run away with learning, leading to an explosion in intelligence that leaves humans at the mercy of computers. According to Joi Ito, who is director of MIT’s Media Lab, it’s the wrong way of thinking about how computer intelligence will evolve. Followers of this cult – “singularitarians” – are guilty of reductionist thinking by assuming that artificial intelligence will defy the multiple systems that govern our response to the changing landscape around us. The nub of Ito’s argument is that machines should be integrated with humans in what he dubs ‘extended intelligence’. Belief in an intelligence that takes over is misguided. What does this all mean for us mere mortals in the pursuit of wellness? Put crudely, AI must be our servant not our master. Those designing applications of technology – whether in the form of a fitness app or a ride-sharing tool – mustn’t think they can control our natural systems or re-engineer them. They need to remember that the ultimate goal is improving human wellbeing.

Staking The Moral High Street

August 30, 2020

“On such fragile foundations are built the first steps towards a more ethical kind of business, and who knows what virtuous circles might result?”

Breathe Easy

August 28, 2020

“Scientific evidence recently emerged that, contrary to earlier beliefs, Covid-19 can be spread by tiny droplets that we breathe out when we respire, called aerosols.”

Why Obesity Needs Weighty Solutions

August 6, 2020

“Economic wellbeing is part of the story, but it is also about finding less stressful lifestyles, in which healthy diet figures as a meaningful measure of success.”

Pulling Together Out Of Lockdown

July 8, 2020

“The industry has every asset needed to be a guiding light in the shift toward personal health priority. Will that become a prevention legacy, a ‘phoenix rising’ from the Covid-19 ashes?”

Opening The Right Doors

July 2, 2020

“Looking at the bigger picture, putting the measures in this order represents a lost opportunity that the pandemic could have offered for a cultural pivot pivot towards getting people more focused on their health, a powerful statement of intent.”

Home (working) Truths

June 26, 2020

“Employment is necessary to fulfil our most basic human needs such as food and shelter. Any significant increase in long-term unemployment will spell a retrograde step for human wellbeing like no other.”

Global Cities In Retreat

June 16, 2020

“All roads lead to a wellbeing anchor, whether that be economic/financial, physical, mental or emotional: all contribute to a progressive and inclusive cosmopolitan world. The answer should not be a choice of one or the other but of a joined up and compassionate solution for society, business and individuals.”

Why You’re More Than A Production Unit

June 6, 2020

“The paradox is that we continue to do this in spite of recognising that striving to become ever-more productive is an intrinsically unhealthy behaviour, leading to stress and too often, a sense of failure.”

Societal Racism Is Damaging To Individual Wellbeing

June 3, 2020

“The same broad-sweeping structural racism that enables police brutality against black Americans is also responsible for higher mortality among black Americans with Covid-19,” Maimuna Majumder, a Harvard epidemiologist working on the Covid-19 response, tells Vox.

Financial Wellbeing – The New ‘Must Have’

May 26, 2020

The take-out from this? Wellbeing cannot exist at a more elevated level without our basic needs being met.

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