Tom Chatfield writes: “Machines … are becoming stunningly adept at making decisions for us on the basis of vast amounts of data – and getting better at this at an equally stunning rate. … we’re handing over more and more of what happens in our world, today, to the speed and efficiency of unthinking deciders.”
In other words, according to Chatfield, we are outsourcing our System 2 (Kahneman) without the benefit of it being supported by our System 1 – we are outsourcing our conscious, mental efforts without our unconscious life experience wisdom. This makes sense because we are lazy creatures, reluctant to spend mental energy.
The consequences of this outsourcing are enormous. We are re-creating our image of the world from the nineteen eighties – we are all individuals, we are rational, greed is good – but this time for real.
To have human consciousness means to have a human body. To have a human body means to be social, to have empathy, to make mistakes and pay for them because we are accountable. Human consciousness rests on reciprocity, on trust, on reputation.
Machine consciousness does not rest on any of those. No wonder so many visions of the future are dystopian. But it’s not the machines that are taking over. It’s our arrogant conscious consciousness that has found a powerful, low-cost instrument to try and rule by itself.