Invisible Minds

Invisible Minds Wide

I am sure I am not alone in my utter exhaustion at the onslaught of AI ‘tools’ being shoehorned into every offering at the moment. It feels like an enormous land grab by a tiny percentage of the population to own as much data, the new frontier, as possible.

My inbox is overflowing with marketing and spam email, fuelled by AI writing tools, that can spin up convincing sales pitches in seconds. Unsubscribing is such an ordeal that entirely new services have been created to catapult those emails into a black hole because that is easier than unsubscribing… yes I really do want to unsubscribe, no, I don’t want to feed more data into your machine by telling you why.

People are being manipulated into signing over the rights to their own image so corporations can digitise, reproduce and exploit it infinitely, with no residual income to the person who lives within that ‘data’. We live in fear of posting photos of our kids on social media, the only way to stay connected in an increasingly disconnected world, in case some tech giant or other has changed their terms and conditions monolith and now owns our image rights in perpetuity. Who has the time, patience and legal degree to read those?

At the back of this ‘data grab’ is an obsession with creating new minds and tools that can grow exponentially, hoovering up rights, resources and profits for their owners and investors as they grow.

Future Minds
This proliferation of AI brings me back to a book I read a few years ago – The Inevitable, by Kevin Kelly – an author who’s work and thinking I hugely admire. In that book he listed a whole range of ‘minds’ that could be created with AI that genuinely fascinated me. Here are just a few examples:

A mind trained and dedicated to enhancing your personal mind, but useless to anyone else.

A superlogic mind without emotion.

A general problem-solving mind, but without any self awareness.

A self-aware mind, but without general problem solving.

A mind that takes a long time to develop and requires a protector mind until it matures.

A nanomind that is the smallest possible (size and energy profile) self-aware mind

A mind specializing in scenario and prediction making.

I was enchanted by the exponential possibilities of these new minds to create entirely new ways of thinking and being. Oh the mindless jobs they could replace while making income redistribution effortless and equitable. Eye roll – what planet did I think I was on 🙄.

This latest wave of AI has left me perplexed, as I consider the types of actual minds that are being sacrificed to fuel this expansion into an automated reality. I am not anti-technology, quite the opposite, I am always excited by new technology and enjoy the benefits of ChatGPT as a brainstorming tool. However, I am deeply frustrated by the amount of money, resources and time being pumped into creating these digital minds when so many human minds are fraying.

All of these AI tools are being created by human minds that, for the most part, have access to funding opportunities, connections, computers, education, physical safety, health services, food, clean drinking water etc… How much of the worlds population does not have this? Just how many minds are buried under the weight of survival?

What potential ‘value’ or opportunity could be unlocked if for example ‘Anna’, the single mother didn’t have to work two jobs just to make sure her kids are fed. What if she had access to good quality childcare, a basic income, education and a supportive and encouraging community. **That one mind could potentially be limitless – a self learning and healing network of billions of neurons neatly wrapped up in a completely unique body that can hold, support and love other humans – no innovation required.** Now multiply this by the millions of minds, with completely unique perspectives, that we will never know because they are cowering under oppressive regimes, sacrificed to endless political wars and/or suffering starvation. Nature has created this incredible technology in all of us but we don’t value it because human minds are complex, emotional, unpredictable – not good for the bottom line.

Just for a minute, let’s consider the minds that are lost in a society that values money more than people.

The minds that are lost
Minds lost to mindless minimum wage jobs

Minds lost to domestic abuse

Minds lost to war

Minds lost to famine

Minds lost to preventable diseases

Minds lost to addiction

Minds lost to forced parenthood

Minds lost to manipulative management practices

Minds lost to discrimination

Minds lost to economic displacement

Minds lost to mental health conditions

Minds lost because of where they were born

Minds lost because of discrimination against the colour of their skin

Minds lost because they were born the wrong gender and have to battle for rights and supports

Minds lost to ethnic or religious persecution

Minds lost to incarceration, lack of rehabilitation or societal forgiveness after having served their time

Minds lost to sexual abuse

Minds lost to corporate games

Minds lost to financial ruin

Minds lost to homelessness

Minds lost to burnout

Minds lost to chasing a paycheck

Minds lost to ….

There are over 8 billion people on this planet, the majority are barely surviving while a tiny minority hoover up all of the economic resources into complex legal structures designed to extract as much profit as possible. Surely there is more potential in figuring out how to release the incredible potential of the 99% of minds that are either slavishly serving or soullessly starved by the endless pursuit of power through economic domination.

The irony of this obsession with AI is that we risk losing our own humanity.

What other minds have I missed out on?

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