Science and Technology

Making Sense of Artificial Intelligence

David Pan, Telos
If generative AI will eventually know everything, what will be left for us to do as comparatively ignorant humans? João Pedro Cachopo in his essay today on TelosScope suggests that since AI is so good at producing variations on an existing pattern, we will be forced to specialize in creating what does not yet exist. Mediocre imitations of existing ideas and patterns will no longer be created by humans since they can be generated endlessly with AI systems. Such a change would put most intellectual laborers out of work. If they are not one of the super creative types who will produce what AI cannot, the remaining clerical workers will have the simplified job of querying an AI system. But at least that system will not be able to query itself. Questioning requires not simply knowledge but judgment, which will remain beyond the reach of AI. If AI has the resources of universal knowledge, humans will still have the key power of constraint: limiting knowledge by asking the right questions, creating a tradition by limiting its contents, constraining our actions through ethical judgments. These limiting aspects of human inquiry will become more crucial with the spread of AI.

The 2023 Telos Conference: Forms of War

In another set of reflections on human limitations, this Friday and Saturday, March 31 and April 1, the Telos-Paul Piccone Institute will be holding, in collaboration with the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute at Queens College, CUNY, and the International Center for Critical Theory at New York University, a conference in New York on “Forms of War.” If you are interested in attending in person or online, you may register at the Telos-Paul Piccone Institute website. We hope to see you there!


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