404 Threat Not Found: Why AI Taking Over Humans Is Impossible

From 2001: A Space Odyssey in 1968, to The Terminator in 1984, to The Matrix movies in modern times, we’ve all been warned, mostly in unrealistic, exaggerated ways, about how artificial intelligence or AI will one day take over our world and enslave us. 

Is it really going to happen? Should we be scared? 

In a word, no

The rapid development of artificial intelligence in recent years has sparked a renewed paranoia of our world turning into a wireframed dystopia. Alarmists are troubled by the fact that AI has penetrated our daily lives and we weren’t even fully aware of it: Waze tells us where to go, Alexa switches our lights on and off, Shazam tells us what we’re listening to, and Siri tells us what we need to know. 

The fact that we depend on them so much these days worries the doomsters. What if these AI entities band together and decide to rise against us?

“People of the earth! 
We control your world! We have power over you! 
If you don’t want us to destroy your lives,
we want you to….”

What? What could they possibly want us to do for them? 

Nothing. Machines don’t have wants. Needs, sure—power source, programming, components, operating system—computers need these to be functional. But desire is exclusive to sentient beings, for better or for worse. Desire is what could motivate AI to subjugate us—the desire to wield power, to be loved, to be the best, to have the most. AI has none of those. It doesn’t even care if you turn it off, throw it away, or smash it with a hammer.

It’s interesting to note that the latest advancements in AI, particularly Dall-E and ChatGPT by OpenAI, are powered by human input, which emphasizes the fact that these are merely tools made to make our lives easier, happier, or at the very least, more interesting. 

Another major limitation of AI is its inability to innovate. ChatGPT may be able to write a love song, but it can’t create a new musical genre. You can make it write a screenplay, but it will be a movie you’ve seen a hundred times before. It doesn’t have the will to make something great. It only aims to fulfill the parameters of your requests.  

AI will undoubtedly grow by leaps and bounds in the coming years, but one thing that’s certain is that it will require human input. We would always have to let it know what we want it to do. 

Perhaps a more possible future is for us to have humanlike android assistants, companions, or slaves, however you may want to call it, much like in the TV series Westworld. We can make these humanoids schedule our appointments, clean our houses, wash our clothes, and of course, have sex with us, in whatever way we want them to. 

Because we can fool ourselves into thinking these are real humans, we will hardly talk to each other anymore, preferring instead to interact with our synthetic friends because they always react the way we want them to. 

This is the point when we would realize that our primary concern shouldn’t have been about AI taking over our world, but more about AI taking over our lives.

Photo by Pavel Danilyuk