Monday, December 26, 2022

not with wisdom but with the conceit of wisdom

For years, there has been worldwide fear of artificial intelligence (AI) and its impending takeover of the world… who knew that it would start with the world of art and literature.
It certainly scares the shit out of me, because it is opaque (its reasons are hidden), and it is (inevitably in and of itself because of the way it "learns") a tool for magnifying prejudices. Just because we have had many Prime Ministers who went to Eton doesn't mean that we should.

Sean made a good point when I asked him what he thought. It struck me that someone who had written books called things like "The Death and Return of the Author" and "The Ethics of Signature" might have something to contribute here, and he made a terrific point.
Indeed, there are very few differences at a philosophical level between arguments for and against writing and those for and against digital technology and at a practical level many centuries will have elapsed before we will know whether the opportunities afforded by the latter outweigh the dangers.
Fascinating. I think I should have another crack at Plato's Phaedrus with that analogy fresh in my head.
Here, O king, is a branch of learning that will make the people of Egypt wiser and improve their memories. My discovery provides a recipe for memory and wisdom. But the king answered and said ‘O man full of arts, the god-man Toth, to one it is given to create the things of art, and to another to judge what measure of harm and of profit they have for those that shall employ them.’
Quite, and again.
And it is no true wisdom that you offer your disciples, but only the semblance of wisdom, for by telling them of many things without teaching them you will make them seem to know much while for the most part they know nothing. And as men filled not with wisdom but with the conceit of wisdom they will be a burden to their fellows.
Thinking of the David Cameron, Theresa May, Boris Johnson, Liz Truss, Rishi Sunak brain-dead PPE/Oxford Union coagulation that has constipated the county for the last dozen years, AI is not the only dragon that needs slaying. Plato will outlast us all.

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