In the light of the recent events about AI and creativity, I have decided to write this article in my effort to diffuse fears in the collective. Those that are regulars of my blog know that I am the co-founder of two companies that use AI (Seyhan Lee and Cuebric). I find it equally important to run a successful company and to provide conscious contemplations to cut through the misinformation in the collective around (generative) AI.
By writing this article, my aim is to inspire the reader to adopt a curiosity and expansion governed worldview that is centered around human progress. When it comes to fear, the subject matter may vary but provocation and our carnal reaction remains the same for each topic. A younger hire with better understanding of contemporary tools, our wife’s new handsome trainer, our son’s not-so-attractive new wife, everything and anything in this life has the capacity to provoke fear and anger in us. What I wish to convey with this article is not a guideline to convince you that AI is the best thing since slice bread; but a peaceful demonstration that it is us who are hurting, it is the collective who is dividing, and it is the human progress that is stopping as long as we remain in the vibration of fear.
I wonder, in the face of novelty, why our instant reaction is denial? Why humans have been afraid of technology for eons? Why the immediate reaction to the printing press and to the lightbulb, which was denial, is the same reaction we are currently having for AI? Is it because we get defeated by our routine and refuse to improve as our habits and comfort will be subject to change? Isn’t a human a creature that needs to constantly evolve? When humans evolve, we become priceless, as we start reflecting our infinite divine selves.
When enough time passes, novel inventions and courageous scientists who were first welcomed with scrutiny become the subjects of standup comedies. Did you know that Galileo Galilei faced scrutiny and condemnation from the Catholic Church for his support of the heliocentric model proposed by Copernicus? Just because he said the Earth orbits the Sun, he spent the remainder of his life under house arrest. LOL. History is filled with Galileos and Catholic Churches…. another example would be Ignaz Semmelweis. The Hungarian physician introduced the concept of hand hygiene in medical practice during the 19th century, advocating for proper hand-washing to reduce the transmission of infectious diseases. However, his ideas were initially rejected by the medical community. Semmelweis faced professional ridicule and struggled to gain acceptance for saying that we better wash our hands before we operate on people.
What I am getting at with these examples is that even if we are 100% convinced that a novel tool, worldview, opinion, structure, invention, may be preposterous, harmful, or wrong at first, after enough time, they may become ubiquitous just like washing hands and Earth orbiting the Sun.
Why are we afraid?
People’s fears and reactions to situations are deeply influenced by the information stored in their subconscious minds. Our subconscious is shaped by our upbringing, experiences, and the beliefs instilled in us during our formative years. For instance, imagine a child growing up in a household where the parents, who have limited financial means, constantly emphasize that money corrupts people, promoting the notion that it is better to be poor than to be rich. Subconsciously, this child associates money with negativity and evil, developing a fear of wealth.
On the other hand, consider another child raised in a family that encourages them to passionately pursue their talents and excel in self-expression. In this environment, money is seen as a tool to support their creative endeavors, and the child subconsciously connects money with progress and growth. These examples demonstrate how our early conditioning influences our perceptions and fears, as our subconscious associations shape our beliefs and reactions to various aspects of life, including money.
If we were to search inside the collective unconscious for AI, it is quite hard to find any positive story about it. Actually, I do empathize these days with writers, because they know best that a script can tell a powerful story that transcends cultural borders and shapes the belief systems of nations. In movies, we have seen many different examples of AI as the enemy, such as HAL in 2001, Skynet in Terminator, and Agent Smith in The Matrix. These movies have shaped our collective unconsciousness to view artificial intelligence as a threat to humanity. For every J.A.R.V.I.S., there has been ten Ultrons.
If we look at AI from this perspective… and if we were to ask the collective, especially the movie industry, to stop being afraid of AI… it would almost feel like asking a blind man to stop being blind. I understand, it can be very hard to imagine a world which is different than what we have pictured in our head, but if you can give me chance, I would like to point our attention towards different forces that contribute to our collective fear around AI.
Rethinking the paradox of rejecting physical harm while tolerating spiritual distress.
Are we aware that the opposite of fear is courage? As long as fear permeates our being, we remain susceptible to external control, as fear inherently represents a state of vulnerability and weakness. It is only through acts of courage that we can break free from this cycle and embark on positive actions that not only benefit ourselves but also contribute to the betterment of the collective. Unfortunately, when humans are dominated by fear, they often regress to a primitive survival state, perceiving their very lives to be at stake. Regrettably, this model of control through fear has held our species’ conscious evolution hostage for far too long.
In our society, we hold in high regard the remarkable achievements through sheer physical determination, taking pride in conquering the highest mountains and exploring the depths of the oceans. However, it is important to acknowledge that the most significant expedition one can undertake lies within the confines of our own thoughts, through deliberate and conscious growth. The ultimate triumph in this world lies in having the audacity to conquer our own fears and rise above them, for it is through such courageous acts that true achievement is realized.
In our society, we have established systems to assess, heal, examine, and reprimand actions that inflict harm upon the physical body. For instance, if someone physically assaults another by hitting them in the head, it is widely accepted and expected that the appropriate authorities, such as the police, should be notified and involved. However, when it comes to the intangible yet equally damaging act of filling someone’s head with fear, our societal conditioning often leads us to celebrate the perpetrators rather than holding them accountable. The most valuable gift we can bestow upon an evolving species is not a tangible possession, but rather the gift of conscious knowledge.
When I watched CNN feature Geoffrey Hinton saying that AI could kill us and that there is no way to stop it, I swear my reaction was laughter. I did not cringe a second. Is Mr. Hinton’s worries are valid? Probably. Was saying that we’re all gonna die on prime time the vessel to verbalize it? Absolutely not. Probably this is the reason why so many people I know has stopped watching news; since mainstream media still values fear-mongering more than spreading conscious information. Dear CNN, wouldn't it be better if you were to organize a roundtable with AI leaders and researchers where they would share their opinions on how to center AI developing around human progress? So that we can inspire the collective for positive progress and foster transparent discussions between corporation leaders and public?
Two days ago Hollywood Reporter tweeted Writers Guild Committee Member John August Discloses A.I. Investment, Faces Scrutiny. I had to laugh again. Wisdom is the capacity to read the true meaning behind words. What this tweet says: We are in a time to hate AI and if you do not hate AI we are going to publicly sanction you, you will be guilty, so you better not do it. I looove to read Hollywood Reporter in my spare time but I am confused with this divisive and judgmental attitude. Last time I checked, I thought our difference of opinions, colors, and backgrounds were making us more diverse and this shall be the society we should be striving for.
“The ultimate tyranny in a society is not control by martial law, but control by the psychological manipulation of consciousness, through which reality is defined so that those who exist within it do not even realize they are in prison” — Barbara Marciniak
Until we awaken to the realization that our education, system, and media are programmed to inundate our minds with fear, we will never be able to reclaim the true greatness of our species. Our belief system, our consciousness is our biggest asset. Each time we overcome fear, we directly say no to control and manipulation of our consciousness by outside forces.
During my last session with my spiritual teacher Derya, she has pointed the obvious to me… As you’ll see in the map of consciousness by Dr. David Hawkins below, courage is the first emotion before we enter “reason”. Until we can feel courage, we exist in the realm of unreasonable justifications of everything as long as they serve our survival.
Fear stops human development and courage expands it.
Does AI possess harmful implications for the future of humanity? Yes, it can be harmful, just like how the internet has led to negative effects such as social media exacerbating low self-esteem, by way of instant gratification, comparison, and competition. Just like the solution to the negative implications of social media in the collective is not to shut down the internet, the solution of remedying the potential negative implication of AI shall not be stopping its progress. Instead, we should seek more openness and transparency from AI research labs and require them to disclose their product maps. Like I have suggested in this article, we shall have AI Ethics Councils that are above and beyond all corporation and governments that can make sure that all AI progress serves the elation of humankind.
We must not stop human development. Rather, we must ensure that said development centers on humans. By being purposeful in our implementation of new technologies, especially in the arts, we can ensure that the continued drive to evolve our knowledge and our approaches allows us to develop holistically as a culture. Humanity is on a journey of exploration and discovery — it’s in our DNA — and it is up to us to responsibly manage our progress to strike a balance between technological advancement and the progress of the human spirit.
The purpose of fear: distinguishing fear-driven action from fear-induced sedation
Fear, in its essence, serves as a powerful trigger for action in our lives. However, over countless generations, we have been conditioned to respond to fear with anger, followed by seeking sedation or escape from the uncomfortable sensations it brings. This conditioning has hindered our ability to utilize fear as a catalyst for positive change. Consider the example of witnessing our food catching fire: instinctively, we swiftly reach for a water bottle or extinguisher to quell the flames, recognizing the urgency of the situation and taking immediate action. In this instance, fear is channeled constructively, driving us to protect and preserve.
It is imperative that we reevaluate our ingrained responses to fear and harness its energy to propel us towards positive action, rather than succumbing to anger or becoming immobilized in its presence. By embracing fear as a call to decisive and purposeful engagement, we unlock the potential for growth and transformation in our lives.
When AI company owners and scientists express their fears about AI on TV, it should motivate us to create councils, educational programs, and positive action plans. Fear has been used by the media for centuries to create division and weakness in society. Fear is an emotion, a negative emotion that we shall strive to heal in the path towards progress.
Gazing into the depths of knowledge that questions the very foundations of our perceived reality can be a daunting and unsettling endeavor. While all 10 out of 10 of our closest friends are afraid of AI, it can be difficult for us to drum up the courage to be curious for its positive implications… However let’s always remember that we cannot stop human progress. Instead of yearning to stop human explorations, we shall strive to distinguish the role of the human (vision and creativity) from the role of the machine (high computational production).
In the years to follow, AI will be a ubiquitous tool for creativity, just like fork and knife has become for food consumption. When we study the history of film, these rocky periods have been experienced when a ground-breaking new technology is introduced (talkies, color, digital camera) however while remaining inquisitive and curious, let’s also please remain kind to ourselves and each other during this in-between period...
I’d like to end my article with wise words from Maya Angelou “[…] people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Thank you, dear reader, for taking the time to read this article. When you engage with my words socially, this conscious worldview spreads to others, so thank you for subscribing to my channel on Medium and my mailing list for your regular dose of science and spirit.
With love and gratitude, Pinar