Technology Demands Awareness

In late March, a group of technology leaders, including Elon Musk, signed an open letter calling for safeguards and regulations for artificial intelligence (AI).

The letter expresses a number of general concerns about the development of AI – the risk of spreading misinformation, the risk of replacing meaningful human jobs, and the risk of losing control of civilization itself. The fact that leaders like Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, are concerned about the potentially catastrophic effects of AI may be thought-provoking. Musk, who initially helped fund the famous ChatGPT, has been warning about the dangers of AI for years. In his opinion, it is a greater danger than the atomic bomb.

It’s not the first time that leaders in the tech industry have sounded the alarm about their products. The 2020 documentary ‘The Social Dilemma’ highlighted executives of companies like Instagram and Facebook that don’t allow their children access to social media. While governments in the West have typically taken a laissez-faire approach to technology, China has implemented strict limits on screen time for children.

It seems clear that technological development by itself requires an evolution of consciousness, not only at the level of law and ethics, but also at the level of human nature as a whole. This demand, which Rudolf Steiner formulated at the end of his life, “that humanity finds experientially a spirit-cognition in which we rises just as high into supernature as we sink down below nature with sub-natural technical activity.” (GA 26) Some who are directly in the center of the development of these technologies seem to feel this demand.

Image Boston Dynamics robot (2019). Photo: Web Summit/Wikimedia

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