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Artificial Intelligence Is Still Artificial

A half a lifetime ago, I chided Jaron Lanier for a ridiculous proposal he made in the New York Times' Op-Ed section. I stand by what my younger, wiser self had to say on the matter.

However, Lanier is bang on correct in his latest Op-Ed piece, in which he takes technologists to task for constructing a future of consumer machine-thought that even they wouldn't trust.

As Lanier rightly points out, the risk doesn't reside in the danger that we'll become flabby, unthoughtful consumers. It's in our potential devaluation of the very qualities that make us human:

What bothers me most about this trend, however, is that by allowing artificial intelligence to reshape our concept of personhood, we are leaving ourselves open to the flipside: we think of people more and more as computers, just as we think of computers as people.

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