Artificial Art – A Follow-Up

In the blog post “Artificial art (Artificial Intelligence)” major concerns in regards to AI, specifically with art and entertainment were presented: As Artificial Intelligence advances, what will happen to our philosophies on what it means to be human? How will we react when the uniqueness attributed to being human is tested? Will this concern be fulfilled, or are we just over worrying? I think the concern will be fulfilled: in many ways, I think it’s already being fulfilled. It’s subtle, but that’s how disruption always begins. When the question related to humanity becomes more potent, I think there will be two main categories of reaction:

1) We will submit.

My gut tells me that there will be some people who will accept the idea that we are not the center of the universe, and will be so overwhelmingly humbled by it that they will submit completely. These people will either fall into complete despair or absolute joy. Here’s what I mean: Some people will take this idea, say to themselves, “We are not special… we are no different than robots” and stop there. This is a very dark place to be in; these are the people who will feel hopeless. Who can blame them? This is a soul-crushing realization! Of course, assuming there is a soul. With the advancement of AI, I think the validity of the soul will be put into question. If there is no soul, at that point, we are just bodies, right? Chemistry and biology all formed into one blob left to sit and think about how we were wrong about how “special” we are.  I think this mentality is normal when something universally accepted, even if it’s not outwardly spoken, gets tested and seemingly fails.  German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche wrote on topics very similar to this.  He made the observation that “God is dead,” and that “we have killed him.”  This quote was referring to Nietzsche’s observation that people weren’t believing in God like they used to anymore.  This meant that something that acted a huge foundation in their thinking (religion) was gone, and the philosopher knew that something had to replace it or else people would fall into despair.  I think our views on the “irreplaceability” of humanity might fall into a very similar situation as did religion at the time.

Nietzsche’s solution to the problem mentioned above was to believe in the ‘overman‘ – a being above humans that could be achieved through constantly overcoming one’s self.  This is partially what sparked the common self-help movement, and its influence is very present today.  Like I’ve been mentioning before; we hold ourselves in a very high regard.  However, when/if AI knocks us off of our high horse, I think there might be a group of people who will come to the same conclusion as the first group mentioned above, but look to something else for hope. These people, I think, will look towards the very thing Nietzsche said was dead. They will say, “Since ‘me’ isn’t all that special, it’s not about me anymore, it’s about ____.” You can fill in the blank with whatever you want, but I think it will be something religious/spiritual.

2) We will fight

I also believe there will be people who will refuse to submit to the idea that humans aren’t special. They will continue to try and accomplish the overman! I mean, come on… we’re humans! Look at all we’ve done! These people will say, “I will NOT let some robot make a bigger impact on the world than me.” It’s a very narcissistic viewpoint, but my intuition tells me many people will feel this way. These people won’t be at peace or despair; they will be in a constant state of work and improvement. They will constantly be overcoming themselves while trying to keep up with the rapid advancement of Artificial Intelligence. A positive element of this mindset is that the human will stays alive. On the other side of the coin, there’s the reality that this goal, to prove ourselves worthy, never ends.

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