Will interacting with Alexa or Siri make our kids ruder? Will bots designed to maximize return make us likely to behave less generously? Will we tell our digital assistants things we will not tell our friends and partners? This article from The Atlantic suggests the answers may depend, in part, on how the artificial intelligence we will be interacting with has been designed.
"Radical innovations have previously transformed the way humans live together, of course. The advent of cities sometime between 5,000 and 10,000 years ago meant a less nomadic existence and a higher population density. We adapted both individually and collectively (for instance, we may have evolved resistance to infections made more likely by these new circumstances). More recently, the invention of technologies including the printing press, the telephone, and the internet revolutionized how we store and communicate information. As consequential as these innovations were, however, they did not change the fundamental aspects of human behavior that comprise what I call the “social suite”: a crucial set of capacities we have evolved over hundreds of thousands of years, including love, friendship, cooperation, and teaching. The basic contours of these traits remain remarkably consistent throughout the world, regardless of whether a population is urban or rural, and whether or not it uses modern technology. But adding artificial intelligence to our midst could be much more disruptive. Especially as machines are made to look and act like us and to insinuate themselves deeply into our lives, they may change how loving or friendly or kind we are—not just in our direct interactions with the machines in question, but in our interactions with one another. Consider some experiments from my lab at Yale, where my colleagues and I have been exploring how such effects might play out."
Blog sharing news about geography, philosophy, world affairs, and outside-the-box learning
This blog also appears on Facebook: