Throughout history, there have been times when some human minds shone brilliant lighting the way forward for us all. For much of time, their light could be said to be enough. Never omniscient, but enough. At these times, these big minds saw far enough ahead to lead us forward.
Along the way, our world has become more and more complicated. So complicated that even our best and brightest minds may not be capable of dealing with all the variables involved in matters such as economics, governance, psychology, …, and education.
For the past few decades, computers have assisted us more and more in studying the hard sciences and, to some extent, the soft. Artificial Intelligence (AI), the intelligence of machines or software, has been developing since the advent of computers and in broad use for the past two decades. Since 2012, deep learning* AI has pretty much taken over the field.
For the past two decades, much of AI’s capacity has been applied in Surveillance Capitalism (collecting consumers’ data and using it to target them more precisely). AI is used to surveil social media users for personal information; this information is used within social media companies and/or sold to others for all sorts of purposes. Experts now say that Google, Facebook, other social media companies, and maybe the Chinese government know more about us than we know about ourselves.
Recently, significant advances have occurred in AI. We stand on the threshold of an AI Age within the current Digital Age. An age during which AI will take us to places we have never been, we could not have reached with our mere mortal minds.
We have always been somewhat limited by our capacity to think, perhaps even more so by our preconceptions and prejudices. AI, with its greater capacity, opens new horizons for humans. Especially, if it is free of prejudices and preconceptions.
We can look forward to asking AI for new ideas about how should it be. How it should be for such things as economic and governance policy. To help us better understand psychology and psychiatry. And, to find ways to improve education (isn’t education applied psychology?). AI may indeed lead us into a brave new world.
*Deep learning is the subset of machine learning methods that are based on artificial neural networks with representation learning. The adjective “deep” in deep learning refers to the use of multiple layers in the network. Methods used can be either supervised, semi-supervised, or unsupervised.