In 2020 DeepMind is to Google what OpenAI is to Microsoft, the commercialization of AI for profit. Incredible research teams, incredible minds, but leading us to what kind of AI and for whose benefit?
Earlier in the history of the internet, Google and Facebook created the worst centralization of power in technology the world has ever seen. They developed a digital advertising business model that would eventually lead to the bifurcation of the internet and the American internet eventually losing to the Chinese version (this has yet to occur but is inevitable).
One of the tragedies of the 21st century will be how Silicon Valley failed to democratize AI, thus leaving the evolution of surveillance capitalism unregulated and morbidly unhinged. Google and Facebook antitrust violation lawsuits never came, or came too late. This wasn’t just a moral failure or a failure of the U.S. Congress to regulate Silicon Valley. This was greed overcoming America.
Microsoft of course pretends it will be a leader to democratize AI. But just ask the developers of the world and GitHub whom it acquired as well as OpenAI, giving Microsoft “exclusive” access to commercialize GPT-3. There’s nothing open about it. And with Azure getting the Pentagon JEDI $10 Billion contract, it’s clear how Microsoft will participate directly in the militarization of AI.
Humanity is at an ethical crossroads in its history. Can it foster green technology to reduce climate change and biodiversity loss? And can it humanize AI, instead of algorithms reducing humanity to aristocratic technological inequality, a sort of technological dark age? America is not a leader on either front and it’s all due to Silicon Valley’s leadership and its impact deteriorating capitalism. Gangster Capitalism is here, and the democratization of AI in America has failed.
The idea that AI will be positive for people, jobs, capitalism and democracy is the fraud that Silicon Valley has been perpetuating for the better part of the last two decades. However, for all the vanity, deep learning has not made stunning progress.
Self-driving cars never arrived and algorithms have divided us, reducing our mental health on a daily basis and modifying our behavior in ways we don’t even fully comprehend yet.
Sure, AI will improve healthcare and it can lead to many positive developments. But it has not in any way been democratized. It’s purely a for-profit scheme. The propaganda around AI by Silicon Valley and technology leaders is very dishonest.
Even the top graduates in the country now know better than to go to work at a Facebook or a Google. In a democratic society, all people are represented. In the American internet, Silicon Valley has absolute power, and it’s a typically young white minority that’s abusing that power.
AI technologies are now employed in almost any digital product or service we use daily (movie recommendations, online shopping, smart home devices, surveillance systems, etc). But they are also being weaponized against us. And our data is used to profile us to sell advertisements and to fuel an AI-arms race that could endanger the species within our lifetime.
Silicon Valley has made a lot of really bad decisions, product wise, for their impact on people. That internet will need to be completely stripped away and re-done if we are going to prosper from AI in equality together.
The democratization of AI and the AI for Good movement are indeed a bit like a marketing stunt by companies like Google, Microsoft, Facebook and others. The employees at these companies don’t realize what AI at scale will indeed become, though some are starting to sense that it might not be good.
American values reflected in AI are racist, exploitative of people’s vulnerabilities and allow for the engineered radicalization of opinions and political behavior.
Silicon Valley has centralized technology and AI. It hasn’t democratized it at all. These companies like to sweep aside the issue while implicitly assuming that AI accessibility means AI democratization. Funding OpenAI means OpenAI is no longer open.
To pretend otherwise is dishonest and shows Silicon Valley has not learned from misinformation or doesn’t care. Alphabet pressuring DeepMind to monetize means that they too will likely come up with something sinister. Acquiring GitHub changes the culture of developers permanently for worse.
The democratization of AI is not occurring in America. Silicon Valley has failed to uphold values that protect humanity from what artificial intelligence might become. When companies like Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft are allowed to have so much data and ownership over your online behavior patterns, that data becomes part of how AI is trained.
This begins to create a world that is more artificial and less human. A world where powerful companies become stronger, and democracy and free market capitalism weaker. As today GenZ advocate for climate change with activism, not so many years from now, generation Alpha and future cohorts will advocate for AI regulation changes.
Silicon Valley’s treasure trove of data will also reinforce inequality at all levels. We’ve seen this on the stock market, how technology companies with implications in the future of AI tend to easily outperform all other sectors being seen simultaneously in growth and defensive (value) stocks.
Silicon Valley continues to do the opposite of democratizing AI, even while they publicly claim they are using it for good. Increasingly employees at these companies are calling them out, but the damage has been done: the path AI is on is dark.
A day will come when Chinese companies begin to win the race for AI talent, since Silicon Valley companies will be a dead end. The bifurcation of the internet will lead to an AI-war on consumers — for their attention and for their wallets. The by-product of Silicon Valley’s own greed, deception and antirust violations will ironically lead to their ecosystem’s downfall and the fall of the U.S. currency as the global reserve.
Silicon Valley has built a technological singularity that has created a few select billionaires and incredibly wealth for a small elite. There is no openness or transparency in how AI is being developed. The lack of openness increases the risk of rogue AI problems in the future or an earlier manifestation of Chinese dominance in the future of AI. Of course as Google, Amazon and Microsoft evolve their approach to AI, they aren’t considering the fears of an Elon Musk or a Nick Bostrom.
Silicon Valley’s fraudulent and exploitative business models aren’t just an existential risk to democracy. They expose how the development of AI is likely to harm humanity exponentially in the future. Venture capital in its current form and winner-takes-all capitalism with “exclusive” access to new AI developments are the complete opposite to what the democratization of AI would ideally look like. The lack of diversity in leadership in Silicon Valley is part of the problem of how this occurred.
OpenAI calling itself a “non-profit AI research initiative” is absurd. DeepMind, a UK based artificial intelligence company and research laboratory founded in September 2010, and acquired by Google in 2014, is highly likely to spawn dangerous products for Alphabet. As thousands of small businesses and indie retailers shut down during the pandemic, Amazon is thriving with enough E-commerce and Cloud business to fund its own AI initiatives.
Silicon Valley has no intention of developing AI that will improve anything but the profit motive. This is of course a failure of American capitalism and leadership at the highest level that will lead to the decline of the middle class in our lifetime.
As artificial intelligence grows up during this period, our children and our grandchildren won’t grow up in a world where equality is truly valued or with an AI that reinforces our freedoms, opportunity and the values we once held dear.
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