Don’t stop AI R&D, redirect it

By Preston Estep, Ranjan Ahuja, Brian M. Delaney, and Alex Hoekstra Originally published May 15, 2023 for the Boston Globe The recent release of ChatGPT has brought long-simmering debates over the risks and benefits of artificial intelligence into public view. The ability of so-called large language model systems to answer complicated questions in conversational dialogue […]

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The Leverage and Centrality of Mind

Humanity faces many critical challenges, many of which grow relentlessly in seriousness and complexity: declining quantities and quality of freshwater, topsoil, and energy; climate change and increasingly unpredictable weather patterns; environmental and habitat decline; the growing geographical spread and antibiotic resistance of pathogens; increasing burdens of disease and health care expenditures; and so on. Some of the most serious problems remain intractable, irrespective of national wealth and achievement. Even developed nations suffer from stubbornly stable levels of mental illness, poverty, and homelessness, in otherwise increasingly wealthy economies. A known root cause of such broken lives is broken minds. What isn’t widely recognized is that all other extremely serious problems are similarly and equally intertwined with the intrinsic incapacities of human minds—minds evolved for a focus on the short term in a slower and simpler time. Yet minds are also simultaneously the most essential resource worth saving, and the only resource capable of planning and executing initial steps of necessary solutions. There is hope for overcoming all serious challenges currently facing us, and those on the horizon; yet there is only one most efficient strategy that applies to them all. This strategy focuses not on these individual and disparate challenges—which ultimately are only symptoms—but on fixing and improving minds.

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