Similarities between AI, biotechnology and the atom bomb

Some months ago, when the bomb was still only a rumour, there was a widespread belief that splitting the atom was merely a problem for the physicists, and that when they had solved it a new and devastating weapon would be within reach of almost everybody. (At any moment, so the rumour went, some lonely lunatic in a laboratory might blow civilisation to smithereens, as easily as touching off a firework.)

… However, it appears from President Truman’s remarks, and various comments that have been made on them, that the bomb is fantastically expensive and that its manufacture demands an enormous industrial effort, such as only three or four countries in the world are capable of making.

George Orwell (19 October 1945)

People say that about AI and biotechnology these days.

It is possible that when the technological hurdles in AI and biotech are finally solved, the details of how to make them will be so painful and boring that no one will even bother to figure it out.

However, every once in a while we are hit with technology that democratizes power into the hands of the many much like guns did. AI could also be that.

Humanity (or at least an intelligent few) would then become conjurers of spirits which amplify the desire to change the world as they saw fit.

My only hope is that a God is born among us because of such pursuits. We will call the God: Immanuel, meaning God is with us.


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