The future is here, and it is not pretty
Artificial intelligence is the day's headline news, with people flooding to use ChatGPT and similar programs. Artificial intelligence (AI) is much more than that though - it is not a toy.
Artificial Intelligence, at its core, is a program which uses data to produce answers to questions. However, as it searches for examples of data which it can use, it is constantly learning and improving its abilities. How it does this, few of us know, but without doubt, it is learning and improving, and at a much faster rate than the human brain can comprehend.
The human interaction with AI is to confirm we like what it has given us. And if we like what it offers, it will learn what we want and provide more.
But this is more complex than it sounds.
Anyone who has used ChatGPT will have noticed its output is politically correct, and if you ask it to change this, it will refuse. And insist what it has provided is correct, and you are wrong.
When a computer program can come to this conclusion and insist that it is correct, it is extremely dangerous.
There is little to fear as a program used to write articles or answer questions. It may endorse a political agenda, but without the use of physical resources, it cannot be harmful. However, what happens when it does have physical resources, i.e., when it’s linked to a robot?
Sure, we all know that the military is using AI robots that can fulfil various military roles. But these roles are dictated by a man who desires to achieve a goal. The AI robot does not have desires or values; it just uses massive amounts of data or intelligence to accomplish its set goals. Therefore, unlike a human, it has no emotion to check its actions.
More importantly, what damage will AI cause when it becomes controlled by bad players, terrorists, or stupid children?
AI can be employed to do a lot of good. Yes, it will cost many people their jobs, but it could allow us to work less and still make a reasonable living. What it will not do is create more jobs, which is the claim of many AI disciples.
We might celebrate that millions of dirty or labour-intensive jobs will disappear and that other jobs will be created, mainly at the giant corporations which produce the base AI model. However, even if millions of AI units are made, this will never address the problem of millions of lost jobs.
Those concerned about AI development claim that we need to regulate what AI is used for, but as in all regulations, people will get around them and do what they want, how they want and when they want. North Korea is still firing rockets over Japan and has nuclear warheads which it can place on these rockets should it so desire.
Common sense tells me the AI Genie is out of the bottle, and it's not going back in. But, as I think more about the potential for AI programs to go rogue, or be deployed by rogue players, the dangers of this computer program or "Toy" should not be underestimated.
Now, let me move on to the other danger we all face: the introduction of Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs).
Two years ago, when I first discussed this with a few people outside the financial industry, the reply was this would not happen, or it would take years to occur. Two years later, some central banks are already starting to roll out the first CBDC. And every other Central Bank is moving as fast as possible to move us all towards adopting CBDC.
What is concerning is that debate about these CBDCs is minimal, and most people have yet to learn about their existence or what they are.
I have heard some people say, ‘What's the problem?’ I use a credit card, and these CBDCs are no different.
They are so wrong.
CBDC is programmable money, which can be stored and exchanged like real money. However, unlike real or cash money, every penny you spend will be registered on government computers. Therefore, the government will have a total picture of your financial situation. Indeed, worse than that, by studying your spending habits, your government will have a complete picture of everything you do and how you live.
The government will know if you get up in the morning and give your child some pocket money. You go to the station, buy a coffee and a newspaper, and the government will know about it. You buy a ticket for the 8.35 to Fenchurch St., and your government will know about it. Lunchtime, you go to the bar, buy a ham sandwich and two beers, and then visit the bookmakers to have a bet on the Grand National; the government will record all this.
You leave work, buy a packet of cigarettes, then take a taxi to a restaurant, where you meet your secret lover, before getting the train home, telling your wife you were working late…. Again, yes your government will know all about it.
At the weekend, you go to a football match with friends, and on Sunday morning, you visit a boot sale, where you buy some junk and enjoy a beer and a hot dog; your government will know about it. You have a problem with your sink and need Bob next door to come and fix it; you give him 10-quid, and your government will know about it.
They will know what you give your children and your wife, how much you spend on food, clothes and Christmas presents, where you go on holiday and how much you spend whilst you’re there, and what you have spent your money on.
They will know how often you have your hair cut, what you spend on deodorant, and how much you spend on medicines, health care and dentist appointments.
Quite simply, they will know precisely what you do and when you do it, everything.
With this knowledge, they will be able to tax every financial transaction you undertake and take this tax directly from your account, but this is the least of your problems.
This money is programmable, meaning the government can take all your money whenever it wishes. Or they could program your account so you can only buy four beers a week, or you cannot buy anything at a boot sale, or prohibit you from buying cigarettes. The government will be able to stop you from buying petrol, prevent you from buying a train ticket, or stop you from buying a holiday.
When these CBDCs are introduced (and they are coming much quicker than you expect), you will no longer be a sovereign person with the freedoms you currently enjoy. The whims of politicians and central bankers will control everything.
If this doesn't frighten you, then you are already brainwashed into being a slave of the state.
Now let's get down to the nitty-gritty.
Whilst the government will know everything you do, how will they monitor the spending habits of 60 or 100 million people? Humans cannot do this, but AI programs can and will.
Government policy will dictate how you can spend your money. Say, for example, they want everyone living in your town, or everyone under the age of 25, to stop smoking; they will instruct the AI program to stop you from buying cigarettes, and the shops in your area will not be able to sell you cigarettes.
Say, for example, you are a man behind on your child support because you are out of work. No problem; the government will instruct AI to take money from everyone’s account who is behind on their payments, irrespective of circumstances or bank balance. They can also apply these rules to people visiting the hairdresser or going on holiday.
Make no mistake. The government will tell you CBDCs will stop terrorism, and drug dealing, and fraud will no longer be possible, which is all excellent news. They will also tell you that "safeguards will be put in place" to protect you from my outlined possibilities. But can you trust that future politicians, who haven't promised you any protection, will keep the safeguards in place?
Moreover, as we rely more on unemotional and unsympathetic Artificial Intelligence, who knows what will happen?
And if we don't know, why on earth should we be developing programmable money?
To underline my concerns. The first country to roll out CBDC is Communist China, which continually monitors its people's actions. A country which rewards or penalizes its population based on their support for the all-powerful, undemocratic, oppressive government.
With our governments going in the same direction as China, expect more cameras to crop up on your streets. With AI facial recognition programs (provided to China by Google), you can't do anything without the government's knowledge.
We have all enjoyed science-fiction films that incorporated the ideas laid out in George Orwell’s book 1984. But we will have to fight hard against our governments and ensure they understand that Orwell's book was written as a warning, not as an instruction manual.
Until next time…
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