Please, Ask Your AI Two Questions for Me
- What would be an optimal human decision-making system that included everyone in the U.S.?
- What AI processes would minimize the ratio of misinformation to reliable information circulating in such a system?
“We live invested in an electric information environment that is quite as imperceptible to us as water is to fish.” (Marshall McLuhan, Counterblast, 1970)
- Existing national human decision-making systems are antiquated and dysfunctional.
- We will forever live in a hyperconnected digital world that is awash in both real-time data and misinformation.
- The growth of powerful artificial intelligence (AI) applications is accelerating.
- There is a frenetic global arms race to develop military AI applications.
- There is an ongoing debate between those who believe AI will primarily work with humanity and those who worry AI, especially artificial general intelligence (AGI), could threaten humanity.
- Together, the explosion of real-time data and ever more powerful AIs will dramatically change civilization for both good and ill — a matter of when, not if.
In dealing with the future…it is more important to be imaginative and insightful than to be one hundred percent “right”….Even error has its uses. The maps of the world drawn by medieval cartographers were so hopelessly inaccurate, so filled with factual error, that they elicit condescending smiles today….Yet the great explorers could never have discovered the New world without them. Nor could the better, more accurate maps of today been drawn until men, working with the limited evidence available to them, set down…their bold conception of worlds they had never seen. [Alvin Toffler, Future Shock, 1970]
For those who believe AI will work with humanity, having your AI system answers these two questions now will help ensure humanity is better prepared for coming AI developments.
Of course, any AI algorithm used in designing an optimal collective human decision-making system must prioritize democratic processes, yet avoid the dysfunctional hierarchical decision-making processes plaguing our antiquated governing systems.
To get beyond the contrived representation in these old systems, any optimal design must include, for example, the total number of people in the U.S., their overall demographics, and all the job categories and organizational and ideological schisms that currently exist. In other words, a database structure sufficient to reveal how diverse interests are not monolithic. Rather, that they invariably crosscut policy issues beyond simple partisan and ideological polarizations that are so contentious but misleading.
Since commercial platforms like facebook and google already have most, if not all, of these capabilities, having your AI answer my first question — designing an optimal collective human decision-making system — seems eminently doable.
However, such a decision-making system would not work if the amount of misinformation to reliable information exceeded some ratio. This ratio needs to be discerned. So, while developing your AI system’s algorithm to answer my second question is probably more challenging to address, there is no escaping the need for this capability.
[Political systems] are not human, though they are made of humans….[Historically, they] move from one semiautonomous, inhuman system to another — equally inhuman but perhaps more humane [system]…. [W]e must not confuse states that wear a human face with states that have humane institutions. [Eric Drexler, Engines of Creation, 1988]
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The challenges posed by the emergence of increasingly powerful — but potentially less humane — government, military and commercial AI applications means that knowing the optimal design for a collective human decision-making system is an urgent and critical priority for civilization going forward.
Indeed, it’s likely that the first country to have an AI design such a collective human decision-making system, and then is iteratively tested and applied, will have an economic and military edge over other countries. So, as military merchants of death are fond of saying, ‘if we don’t do it, they will.’
It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change, that lives within the means available and works co-operatively against common threats. (Charles Darwin)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~It is incumbent on those of you who believe AI will work with humanity to demonstrate how an AI can design such a collective human decision-making system — NOW— not after other powerful AI applications become a challenge for humanity to control. Inaction or silence is not an answer or acceptable.
So, please, ask your AI these two questions. If not for me, then for the well-being of those you care about now and in the near future.
Find more of my ideas on Medium at,
* A Passion to Evolve (archive at bottom of the page.)
May you live long and prosper!