Future imperfect: The tragedy of being denied an AI-enhanced civilization

Why we must temper AI before we lose it forever, depriving ourselves of all the wondrous innovation and beauty it can bring

Marc Hoag


SOURCE: Marc Hoag via Midjourney 5.1. Yes, this is an AI-generated image that I created using Midjourney’s prompt-based image generation.

I have a fear: that governments of the world will decide to tightly regulate AI out of citizens’ hands just as surely as they regulate nuclear weapons; certain online behavior; and much more besides. Italy took the first preemptive step in this direction already. China too, of course. I don’t think it requires much of a leap to imagine a near future where the US rips AI from our grasping hands; frankly, I’d be pleasantly surprised if this didn’t happen.

The thought that we could be denied this incredible new power is a wretchedly terrifying one, and dare I say, a profoundly, deeply emotional one.

AI — this current blend of public-facing LLMs — is not only the most powerful tool humanity has ever seen, but also, the most beautiful. It is a catalyst for innovation and creativity, equally as potent for science as it is for art. AI provides the blind with recipes conjured up from a photo of their refrigerator’s contents. It gives a 50 year-old truck driver both the confidence and capacity to shift gears from trucking to coding, a heretofore insurmountable, unimaginable…