Considerable attention has been directed to the possibility of a technological singularity when artificial intelligences “wake up” and start acting in their own self-interest. Long before then, however, humanity will confront an ethical singularity—a point at which the evaluation of values systems acquires infinite value. The computational factories and intelligence-gathering infrastructure of the global attention economy have begun to function as karmic engines, perfecting values-reinforcing feedback loops that are transforming everything from the dynamics of social interaction to geopolitics.
Drawing on Buddhist resources, this talk made the case that our prospects of realizing more humane global futures depends on changing how we are present and developing both capacities for and commitments to compassionate ethical creativity.
Peter D. Hershock is director of the Asian Studies Development Program at the East-West Center in Honolulu. He has authored or edited more than a dozen books on Buddhism, most recently "Philosophies of Place: An Intercultural Conversation" (edited, 2019). His current project, initiated as a 2017-18 Fellow of the Berggruen Institute in China, is a monograph on The Intelligence Revolution: The Challenges of Humane Presence in an Era of Artificial Agents and Smart Services—a reflection on the personal and societal impacts of the attention economy and artificial intelligence.
Video and full transcript here: https://cswr.hds.harvard.edu/news/2020/02/19/intelligence-revolution-and-new-attention-economy-ethical-singularity
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