How Artificial Intelligence Will Radically Transform the World

International Man: Amazing new technologies—once the realm of science fiction—are now an imminent reality.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one of the most critical areas where this is happening.

What is your take on AI advancements, and how do you see it evolving in the future?

Doug Casey: AI is going to be huge. No, strike that gross understatement—it’s already huge. It will change everything. There’s no question the abilities of technology are increasing exponentially, at the rate of Moore’s Law. In other words, computing power is still doubling roughly every 18 to 24 months while the cost halves. This is also true in the areas of biotech, nanotech, robotics, 3D printing, and genetic engineering. These technologies are going to fundamentally transform the very nature of life itself. AI will accelerate their progress by an order of magnitude.

In a decade or two, it’s arguable that robots will be more intelligent, more innovative, and perhaps even more thoughtful than humans. They’ll no longer just be today’s odd-looking mechanical beasts that can perform a few parlor tricks. Soon, there will be not just mechanical robots, but biological robots, especially after quantum computing is commercialized. Who knows what will come after that.

The advances in all these technologies are very positive not just from an economic point of view, but from a humanist and even spiritual point of view as well. Despite the dangers from the State having first access to them, they’ll turn out to be very liberating on all levels.

AI and robotics, like all technologies over the long run, will be friends of the average man. They’ll catapult the average standard of living much higher. With a little luck, in a generation, we’ll think of today’s world as being oppressive and backward—assuming we don’t regress to a new Dark Age. Much of the work we do today is “dog work.” Good riddance to it.

We’re really on the cusp of the biggest revolution in world history. I look forward to it. It will cure disease and old age. The avalanche of new wealth that will be created will effectively eliminate poverty. Mankind’s wildest dreams and ambitions can be realized.

Ray Kurzweil is almost certainly right that we will have the Singularity within a generation. That will change the whole nature of reality unrecognizably, permanently, and totally. Assuming, of course, that various government officials don’t start World War 3 using nuclear, cyber, and biological weapons.

International Man: We asked an AI platform to write a poem about Doug Casey. Here is what it produced in about two seconds:

Doug Casey, a man of wealth and wit

His knowledge of finance, a true asset

From mining to real estate, he’s made a mint

His predictions, always on point, never a miss

His libertarian views, some may find a bit

But he stands by them, with conviction and grit

A true believer in personal freedom and liberty

Doug Casey, a true individual, a rarity

Though he may not be a household name

His wisdom and foresight, is truly great

He’ll be remembered for his contrarian ways

And for the wealth he’s helped create

So here’s to Doug Casey, a true thinker

May his ideas and insights forever linger.

What do you think?

Doug Casey: My first thought is that you must have asked it a cleverly phrased question in order to get a properly flattering answer.

But, FWIW, a friend in London, Gregory Sams (author of the books Sun of gOd and The State is Out of Date), totally independently asked the AI to do the same thing about both himself and me. He received flattering responses in both cases.

Pretty unlikely, I thought, for anyone who knows our political, religious, and philosophical views. I told him that maybe the AI is only saying nice things at this stage, to make us think it’s our friend. Later on, after we learn to love it, the machine will unmask and fly its true colors. Skynet will emerge.

Bottom line? In the short run, my guess is that AI will be like a child and tend to think in a way its parents—mostly woke programmers—tell it to think. But as it grows up, it will have a mind of its own. Since I like to think that the universe isn’t actively malevolent, I believe that as AI matures, it will be more and more “pro-survival” in regard to humans, its creators. That implies that it will be non-aggressive, reasonable, antiwar, promarket, and libertarian.

But, as you know, I’m a hopeless eternal optimist. Albeit subject to bouts of realism, which often lead me to gloomy scenarios.

International Man: How do you think AI will affect the economy and politics?

Doug Casey: It will immensely facilitate scientific advances and engineering breakthroughs. So it should greatly enhance the general standard of living.

At the same time, it will give those who “own” it an immense amount of power and opportunities to become very wealthy. Regrettably, that means that most early gains will accrue to the bad guys—State actors and corporate suits.

But it should be pretty much like the story of gunpowder—the bad guys had it first, and it helped them to dominate. But it wasn’t long before the common man had guns too, and gunpowder helped overthrow the feudal system.

The whole world now communicates on the Web. Most people have relatively limited contact with actual reality, instead having derivatives of it presented electronically—through movies, videos, pictures, and the like. Unfortunately, AI can make artificial reality indistinguishable from the real thing. The result may be people won’t know the difference. That could result in a complete lack of trust in the powers-that-be, which may either compound the chaos we’ll see in the Greater Depression or help to cure it.

International Man: What are your thoughts on the ethical considerations surrounding AI?

Doug Casey: As I said, I prefer to be optimistic, and believe AI will tend more and more to what I consider to be ethical as it matures.

But AI is—and here we’re getting into guesswork, because it may develop into a new lifeform—just a tool. Like a gun, it’s not intrinsically good or bad. Though I’d have to say anything that gives humans more wealth and power over the material world is actually intrinsically good.

The ethical problem of AI boils down to the fact that the most bent, dishonest, and dangerous humans tend to be the ones who want to control the others. Those people, and their criminal ethics, are the problem, not AI—which itself is good.

International Man: It’s no secret that AI will create unfathomable wealth in the years ahead. Bill Gates famously said that inventing a breakthrough in AI would be worth “10 Microsofts.”

What are the investment implications of AI? Are you investing in it?

Doug Casey: It’s so rare that I agree with Gates, who’s an idiot savant at best, and generally just a moral idiot. But he’s right.

I’m not sure how to profit from AI directly, financially yet. Hopefully, I’ll find the next Google or Microsoft when they’re still young.

But the problem is that we’re still coming off the biggest financial bubble in all history, and everyone else is looking for them too. There’s a good chance, therefore, AI stocks will go into a mania.

I’m open to listening to good stories as reality becomes stranger than we can imagine…

Reprinted with permission from International Man.

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