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Tyler Cowen

Maybe AI Isn’t as Scary as We Thought

For now, the worry that artificial intelligence will deliver the world to totalitarianism seems overstated.

A painting robot.

A painting robot.

Photographer: Hollie Adams/Getty Images Europe

One of the longstanding worries about the technologies of artificial intelligence is that they will enable surveillance, autocracy and maybe even totalitarianism. These views no longer seem so convincing. The world’s autocratic states are not exactly turning these technologies to their advantage, and meanwhile artificial intelligence is taking some individualistic turns.

Consider the program called DALL-E, which allows the user to generate digital sketches and images, derived from natural language instructions, using the power of artificial intelligence. The quality and diversity of the images is truly impressive. It is like having a world-class team of illustrators at your disposal.