AI is a threat to humanity. It’s the great nightmare on the horizon. It’s the spectre that looms, promising to destroy humanity in a puff of thermonuclear smoke. It’s the Terminator. It’s the Borg.
But is it? On stage at TNW 2018, philosopher Alix Rubsaam looked at the purported existential threat AI poses to humanity itself. It turns out that fearing AI isn’t just rational, but it follows a long line of historical tech-based trepidations.
Early Jewish society, for example, feared golems. These were anthropomorphized clay figurines with potent powers. It makes sense that a largely agrarian society would envision an earth-based boogeyman.
Fast-forward a couple of thousand of years, and we’re taken to industrial-era England. Mary Shelly wrote her novel Frankenstein, about a monster brought to life through the power of electricity.