Nicanor Perlas on artificial intelligence

The 21st century is an age defined by Science and Technology. It is also a time in which humanity faces a unique and unprecedented challenge: artificial intelligence (AI). If properly developed and aligned with the values of humanity, AI will bring tremendous benefits to society. However, if used inappropriately, it could undermine human civilization and, with the emergence of Artificial Super Intelligence (ASI), ultimately lead to humanity’s downfall. Scientists, philosophers and engineers call this latter possibility the existential risk of AI. The fate of our future lies literally in our hands.

How can humanity address this challenge? What are the forces emerging in society that can help deal with this question?

Nicanor Perlas has some answers. A global activist, writer, and speaker on artificial intelligence, he has also led global and national civil society networks to stop nuclear power, ban pesticides, and bring about sustainable development, including biodynmic farming in countries like the Philippines. Perlas says it is imperative that we take immediate steps to ensure that digitized technology is aligned to human values and priorities. Otherwise, ASI will kill the essence of our humanity. Further, if we do not master it now, ASI will transform mankind into its own image and ultimately destroy the human race.
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AI experts have not offered a single cogent solution to this existential threat, Perlas says. It is the task of the global anthroposophical movement to pioneer this civilization-saving work: to establish spiritual-scientific ideas in mainstream culture that would allow AI to emerge in a healthier societal context.

Perlas also offers an overview of the related trans-human concepts of “perfecting humanity” that outline the human responses needed to meet our psychological evolution with full awareness. In particular, Perlas references Rudolf Steiner who sought a synthesis between science and spirituality in the early 20th Century. Steiner not only foresaw modern developments, but gave clear alternatives. Steiner, the founder of a contemporary, scientific approach to spirituality, provided philosophical, ontological and social innovations to save humanity from the abyss.

Nicanor Perlas will be in Vancouver in June to lecture and conduct a workshop which will give an overview of the challenges of AI and how it can be made to serve humanity. Perlas will draw from the substance of his newly published book, Humanity’s Last Stand; The Challenge of Artificial Intelligence; A Spiritual-Scientific Response.

Although still in its earliest stages, artificial intelligence (AI) is radically transforming all aspects of society. Coming to terms with it is humanity’s last stand, says Perlas. Failure is not an option.

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