A world-renowned writer and philosopher is calling for the worldwide regulation of artificial intelligence so that human data can’t be ‘hacked’ on behalf of powerful corporations and governments.
Yuval Harari, a best-selling author and history professor, told Anderson Cooper that human beings could see more than just their film and TV and streaming choices known to these organizations, creating more algorithms to rule over their choices.
He compared the gathering of data to the Iron Curtain during the Cold War, pointing out that both Silicon Valley and China appear to be in a race to continue advancing these technologies.
Apps like Instagram and WhatsApp have sold for billions of dollars to investors, not because they produce revenue, but because they allow owners to control data.
Now, banks and lenders in the global financial markets use data to manipulate global financial markets.
Harari asked: ‘Does your data go to California or does it go to Shenzhen and to Shanghai and to Beijing?’
World-renowned author and philosopher Yuval Harari is warning of the catastrophic effects deregulating artificial intelligence and data gathering could have on society
Harari spoke with CBS’ Anderson Cooper for 60 Minutes
Harari says the countries and companies that control the most data will control the world in the future
Harari claimed that the next step, brought on by the pandemic, will be making easier and more likely that our medical data will be taken from us
The feature, which airs Sunday night, is highlighted by Harari suggesting that the reach of artificial intelligence could leave our information in the hands of ‘a powerful few.’
Harari claimed that the next step, brought on by the pandemic, will be making it easier and more likely that our medical data will be taken from us, sounding the alarm about ‘biometric data,’ such as facial images or fingerprint data or even DNA.
‘It’s data about what’s happening inside my body,’ he said. ‘What we have seen so far, it’s corporations and governments collecting data about where we go, who we meet, what movies we watch. The next phase is surveillance going under our skin.’
Harari argued that the countries and companies that control the most data will control the world in the future.
His solution, he tells Cooper, is that countries must begin working together to prevent this by regulating artificial intelligence and the collection of data across all nations.
One of Harari’s major themes has been warning people of the dangerous changes artificial intelligence algorithms could lead to as they increase their grip on human life.
‘Netflix tells us what to watch and Amazon tells us what to buy. Eventually within 10 or 20 or 30 years such algorithms could also tell you what to study at college and where to work and whom to marry and even whom to vote for,’ he told Cooper.
He argues that the only solution is for countries to work together to regulate data gathering.
Harari claimed that the pandemic has only made it easier and more likely that our data will be taken from us
Harari’s first book, Sapiens, was a New York Times’ Bestseller
His proposed rules would keep data collection and concentration from allowing leaders to create dictatorships.
‘One key rule is that if you get my data, the data should be used to help me and not to manipulate me,’ he said. ‘Another key rule, that whenever you increase surveillance of individuals you should simultaneously increase surveillance of the corporation and governments and the people at the top. And the third principle is that – never allow all the data to be concentrated in one place. That’s the recipe for a dictatorship.’
The cooperation necessary to stop this from happening, Harari claimed, could lead to a potential positive for the rise of AI.
‘The whole thing is that it’s not just dystopian. It’s also utopian. I mean, this kind of data can also enable us to create the best health care system in history,’ he said. ‘The question is what else is being done with that data? And who supervises it? Who regulates it?’
But Harari also told Cooper that humans are at risk of becoming ‘hacked’ if artificial intelligence does not become better regulated.
‘To hack a human being is to get to know that person better than they know themselves. And based on that, to increasingly manipulate you,’ Harari says.