Monday, November 27, 2023

Artificial intelligence and animal spirits.

As artificial intelligence systems advance and execute computations for humans, there are arguments that human jobs would be lost. We would have nothing to do, and just idle away, enjoying the technological Eden that advancements of science and technology have prepared for us. Arguably, it is possible that humans would have less and less need to work, although I remain skeptical about such a vista of workless society. Having said that, I suspect that humans would still have a lot to work on even in a society of ubiquitous AGI and ASI.

We should never forget what the economist John Maynard Keynes described as animal spirits. Humans by nature are restless, and would move around, creating trouble, and then tying to solve them, in a perpetual movement of the soul. Working is not need-based. It is rather urge-based. Even if artificial intelligence systems achieve marvels, humans would never cease to be driven by animal spirits. Animal spirits are sacred, and off-limits, even for AIs.

A dream

I was in a university lecture room, and waiting for Kim Jong Un. There was tension around, with many security guards. 

Among the students sitting near me were apparently expatriates from the North. I had a rather large black camera which looked like a cylinder, and was worried that the guards might mistake it for a weapon. 

However, nobody seemed to notice or care, slightly to my disappointment. As expectations rose high, finally the great leader came into the room. I originally planned to film my own reaction to the lecture, but decided at the last moment to record the movements of Kim Jong Un himself. 

He was accompanied by a female officer, and started to move around, in an agitated manner. He showed a famous Japanese tv drama, and said how he loved the theme. Kim Jong Un started to dance in front of the screen, as if choreographed by the music in the drama.

A growing uneasiness troubled my heart, and finally there was a click of realization. 

Precisely at that moment, a courageous student beside me said "Isn't his all fake?" Kim Jong Un stopped dancing. The organizer, through a microphone, immediately admitted that this was indeed a fake Kim Jong Un. He apologized and explained. They were planning the whole thing with comical intensions, but the authorities giving permission became increasingly serious. So the student union had to fake everything, and they were sorry. 

Listening, I was relieved and disappointed at the same time. I noticed that there were deep wrinkles on the face of the actor who played Kim Jong Un, and realized he did not look like the great leader at all. 

The light was turned on in the class room and I woke up, found myself in my hotel room in Hokkaido. When I opened the window, the streets were covered with snow.