“The power of AI” is “too dangerous” to be held by “any one entity, any one government, any one company,” declared Dr. Robert Epstein, senior research psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology, during a Thursday interview on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Tonight with hosts Rebecca Mansour and Joel Pollak.
Mansour noted the unavoidable integration of programmers’ and developers’ biases into their algorithms, highlighting a Monday-published Financial Times column addressing the phenomenon of values embedded within programming code:
Computer algorithms encoded with human values will increasingly determine the jobs we land, the romantic matches we make, the bank loans we receive and the people we kill, intentionally with military drones or accidentally with self-driving cars.
How we embed those human values into code will be one of the most important forces shaping our century. Yet no one has agreed what those values should be. Still more unnerving is that this debate now risks becoming entangled in geo-technological rivalry between the US and China.
The fusion of political biases and financial interests with Internet search algorithms — and with AI — via technology companies and governments is a far-reaching matter, explained Epstein.
Centralization of power related to internet search — and more broadly, the dissemination of information — is dangerous, cautioned Epstein.
“Another executive at Google quit, Meredith Whitaker, who’d been there for 13 years,” recalled Epstein. “She’s an AI expert, and she is expressing concern about Google’s use of AI and how powerful that is. She just published an article in which she’s warning about the company’s — this is a quote — ‘largely unchecked power to impact our world in profoundly dangerous ways.'”
Epstein continued, “So yes, AI and who controls it, that is one of the central issues of our time. Do we want China to be the leader in AI for the world? Probably not. But the fact is, we don’t want the power of AI in the hands of any one entity, any one government, any one company. It’s much too dangerous.”
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s (D-HI) lawsuit against Google, said Epstein, illustrates the capacity of large technology companies to censor “anybody,” “anywhere.”
“This lawsuit by Tulsi Gabbard reminds us that these companies can suppress anybody,” Epstein remarked. “They can suppress any content anywhere in the world, and country-by-country, they’re going to do different things depending on what makes them more money and what meshes with their values.”
The broader public must be alerted to the growing threat of increasing power held by technology companies to shape human attitudes and behavior. Epstein stated.
Epstein exclaimed, “That’s what I’m trying to get people to understand and get fired up about, which is that everyone in the world is under threat here — it’s not just conservatives; it’s everybody — depending on the whim of top executives at basically two companies.”
The power to censor is not reserved to top executives, added, Epstein, noting instances of digital censorship executed by employees.
“The fact is that there are a lot of employees who have the power to literally type a few characters on their keyboards and shut you down,” Epstein explained. “They can shut down your business. They can shut down your campaign. There have been a lot of really terrible things that have happened involving Google which were traced to individual employees, not top executives”
Epstein concluded, “We’re talking about this industry that we created that shouldn’t even exist and that has more power to affect thinking and behavior around the world that the most lunatic has ever had in human history. There’s something wrong here, very wrong.”
Epstein’s research operation is a registered 501(c)(3) organization which issues tax-deductible receipts for donations it receives. He invited Breitbart News’s patrons to support his research.
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