As Our AI Systems Get Better, So Must We

As Our AI Systems Get Better, So Must We

In order to build the future we want, we must also become ever better humans, explains the futurist Jamie Metzl in this opinion essay.

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As the power and capability of our AI systems increase by the day, the essential question we now face is what constitutes peak human. If we stay where we are while the AI systems we are unleashing continually get better, they will meet and then exceed our capabilities in an ever-growing number of domains. But while some technology visionaries like Elon Musk call for us to slow down the development of AI systems to buy time, this approach alone will simply not work in our hyper-competitive world, particularly when the potential benefits of AI are so great and our frameworks for global governance are so weak. In order to build the future we want, we must also become ever better humans.

The list of activities we once saw as uniquely human where AIs have now surpassed us is long and growing. First, AI systems could beat our best chess players, then our best Go players, then our best champions of multi-player poker. They can see patterns far better than we can, generate medical and other hypotheses most human specialists miss, predict and map out new cellular structures, and even generate beautiful, and, yes, creative, art.

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Jamie Metzl
Jamie Metzl is a leading futurist and the Founder and Chair of OneShared.World, https://www.oneshared.world/. His book, The Great Biohack: Recasting Life in an Age of Revolutionary Technology, will be published in May 2024 by Timber/Hachette. www.jamiemetzl.com.
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Today’s podcast guest is Rosalind Picard, a researcher, inventor named on over 100 patents, entrepreneur, author, professor and engineer. When it comes to the science related to endowing computer software with emotional intelligence, she wrote the book. It’s published by MIT Press and called Affective Computing.

Dr. Picard is founder and director of the MIT Media Lab’s Affective Computing Research Group. Her research and engineering contributions have been recognized internationally. For example, she received the 2022 International Lombardy Prize for Computer Science Research, considered by many to be the Nobel prize in computer science.

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Matt Fuchs
Matt Fuchs is the host of the Making Sense of Science podcast and served previously as the editor-in-chief of Leaps.org. He writes as a contributor to the Washington Post, and his articles have also appeared in the New York Times, WIRED, Nautilus Magazine, Fortune Magazine and TIME Magazine. Follow him @fuchswriter.
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Sarah Watts

Sarah Watts is a health and science writer based in Chicago.