Governance. Artificial intelligence (AI) is making the buzz again. With the emergence of ChatGPT or the Hollywood artists’ strikeworried about the idea of being replaced, it will have fueled all year long the inexhaustible debate between technophiles and technophobes, those who expect an unprecedented revolution from AI and those who are ironic about the umpteenth media frenzy – financial about it, those who hope that it will produce a surping of the human and those who are frightened by it.
In fact, such an anthropological approach confuses the debate, precisely because it considers AI in an anthropomorphic way, attributing human qualities, behaviors and dispositions to machines, while symmetrically reducing the human being to the quality loaned to the machine.
Obviously, he always seems to be surped by the machine, since he created it precisely to overcome his own inabilities. That’s what Gunther Anders (1902-1992) had called the Promethean shame, “which seizes man in the face of the humiliating quality of the things he himself has made” (The Obsolescence of Man, 1956). It is clear that Western man delights in this shame.
A global corporate oligopoly
However, AI more essentially raises important economic and political questions. Economic because it prefigures a new phase in the industrialization of the world, which now concerns the high-frequency processing of billions of digitized pieces of information. It makes it possible to industrialize credible answers to multiple questions, to create narrative or visual artifacts, to detect probabilities of links between occurrences or to propose statistically logical decisions when faced with choices.
The use of such an industrial tool modifies the productive apparatus in proportions which remain to be measured, without giving in to the exaltation of the new, but by examining the relationship between the enormous cost of the investment and the final utility of the product services. AI also and mainly poses three political questions.
On the one hand, such industrialization of information processing contributes to reinforcing preconceived ideas, common representations and locking users into self-referring systems of thought which will accentuate the fragmentation of society.
On the other hand, the investments necessary to master AI being considerable, we will inevitably see the creation of a global oligopoly of companies controlling this very sensitive industry.
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