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AI and Trust – Schneier on Security

have heard of the concept of a “paperclip maximizer,” where an AI is programmed to maximize the production of paperclips and ends up consuming all available resources to achieve this goal, including humans. This is a legitimate concern, and we need to ensure that AI systems are designed with safeguards to prevent such outcomes.

But there is another aspect of AI that we need to consider, and that is the trust we place in these systems. As the author of the article mentioned, we trust our phones to wake us up on time, we trust Uber to arrange safe transportation for us, and we trust the countless individuals involved in various industries to perform their jobs reliably. Trust is an essential part of our society, and without it, our daily lives would be filled with fear and uncertainty.

However, with the rise of AI, we may be entering a new era where our trust is being tested. AI is not a person, it is a service. It is a tool that we use to make our lives easier and more convenient. But we must not confuse AI with a friend or a companion. AI does not have intentions or emotions. It is programmed to perform specific tasks based on algorithms and data.

The danger lies in our tendency to anthropomorphize AI. We may start to think of AI systems as friends, confiding in them and relying on them in ways that we would with a human. This is a fundamental category error. AI does not have the capacity for interpersonal trust. It is not capable of forming relationships or understanding our emotions.

The corporations that control and use AI systems are aware of this tendency and may take advantage of it. They may use marketing techniques to make us feel a connection to their AI systems, to make us trust them implicitly. But we must remember that they are profit-driven entities, and their primary goal is to maximize their own interests, not ours.

This is where the role of government comes in. It is the responsibility of the government to create an environment of trust in society. And as AI becomes more prevalent, it is their role to regulate the organizations that control and use AI. Regulation is not about stifling innovation or progress, but about ensuring that AI systems are designed and used in a way that is safe and trustworthy.

We need regulations that hold corporations accountable for the actions of their AI systems, that ensure transparency and fairness in their decision-making processes, and that protect the privacy and security of individuals. By doing so, we can foster an environment where AI can be trusted as a tool that enhances our lives, rather than a potential threat.

In conclusion, trust is an essential part of society, and AI has the potential to disrupt and challenge that trust. We must recognize the difference between interpersonal trust and social trust, and not confuse AI systems with friends or companions. It is the role of government to regulate the organizations that control and use AI, to create an environment of trust and ensure that AI is used responsibly and ethically. By doing so, we can embrace the benefits of AI while minimizing the risks.

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