We discuss in Episode 29 of Success and Inner Growth the impact of artificial intelligence on human thinking and human culture. Here is the transcript of the recording with Evangelyne Brownyz and Johannes Stockburger.
Hi and welcome to episode twenty-nine of the podcast Success and Inner Growth. My name is Johannes Stockburger. And I am the owner and founder of Java Publishing. Our mission is to help those, who want to crash this glass ceiling on top of them, to find a way around it and climb on top of it.
Welcome, Evangelyne Brownyz
Today, first of all I want to introduce to Evangeline Brownyz. She is our new editor, and she is also producing this podcast from now on. Hi, Evangeline. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
Thank you so much for the opportunity. My name is Evangelyne Brownyz, as you have said. And I’m from Kenya. I live in German now. I’m also editor and producer. And I’m in university in UK University, United Kingdom.
What are you doing in university?
I’m studying IT information technology.
OK, so let this be with it. Yeah, the topic of today’s artificial intelligence. I think first of all, it is worth to say a few things about it. You can ask me, and you can also contribute your thoughts. The first question is:
What at All Is Artificial Intelligence?
So, everybody is talking about it. It is the next step. They say it is the next big development after the Internet. And I mean, the Internet is not yet very old. It is maybe 30 years old. Let me say better say: It is 30 years that I had access to the Internet for the first time and I got that because I saw a small, classified ad, which was saying something like where is a new thing which used to be only for the CIA to have information around. And this is now going to be open to the public.
I thought this you must have.
And I had it. I had a computer, and when you had a phone and then you had to fix something like a cap on the phone so that the noise can be transferred to a microphone of a computer. And this was how this connection was built at the time. So, it was very, very different from now. But now it changed really the world. Yeah, because now you can exchange data, information all over the world in seconds, and you can send money to your Mama, and it is after 5 minutes there. It’s costing €2.00 to send it. Before, it would have taken 5 days, and you would have given that bank €50 to send it. This is a huge difference.
Yeah, and but now they say the next step is artificial intelligence.
And also, you can communicate easily with your loved ones with their like distance away.
What Can Artificial Intelligence do for Us?
And now the next step is artificial intelligence. And this means basically, that they built computers, which are able, almost, to act as a human, to talk as a human, to understand what you are saying. Not only to write it down, but to understand what you are saying, to search on it and to find answers.
So, nowadays you will not type into Google a few keywords carefully thought out, and when you look what it’s giving you back. But you say: “Hey Google, tell me what is going on tomorrow morning in Nairobi.” And Google will understand what you are asking, and it will be able, maybe even to tell you not only what was going on yesterday, but what is going to go on tomorrow morning. This is artificial intelligence.
And is it like also because now in Google they can even count the steps like kilometers or know what you have been walking throughout the day. Yeah, you find your steps in the Google, in the phones, wherever.
Yeah, but this is not exactly artificial intelligence. But this is something, which makes artificial intelligence possible. Because, all these phones we are walking around, from Apple, from Google, from Samsung, are always collecting information and sending lots of information to the computers [of the AI companies.]
And not only it is, what you it used to be, that everything what you are doing on the Internet is observed by somebody. But now even your phone is observing, if you are snoring in the night, and Google knows it and so.
They know really, really, really a lot and much more than would normally make sense for somebody to know, because … how your breath is sounding in the night, is not really interesting to anybody else, other than the person who is sleeping with you in the same bed.
But still, they are collecting these kinds of data or maybe, they say they won’t, but maybe they have a hidden thing where they ask you for permission and you agree to it, and they do it.
Or even if you are shopping and you are paying with a credit card, it is all going into the systems where you are walking.
For me, I think, there is no privacy in such things.
Yes and no. I think most for of this information, is the connection to a person removed. It is anonymized. So. OK, they collect it. Yeah, but when they remove the connection to you.
But they know there was one person snoring a little bit louder. And when they know in this area, there have been 100 persons snoring a little bit louder and when they know, OK, maybe there is a new virus there.
But you know my problem is: I don’t know who it’s getting or who is receiving all this data from me. Yeah, so I can’t. I don’t trust those people.
Artificial Intelligence Is a Fact of Life
But you cannot prevent it. And my thinking was, and I think still the same: You cannot prevent that they are collecting that data about you. Because for that, not only you would have to throw your phone away. You have to move into a forest, somewhere, almost without electricity. Look, here in town you have everywhere cameras. You have sensors. You could only use cash money.
So, this is just not possible. Yeah, my thinking is: let them collect it, but don’t give it only to one. Give it to your four or five of them. So, because this makes at least sure that they cannot cheat with it, saying that you did that, which you didn’t do it. Because then it’s in the next database, that it was not true. So, I don’t think you can prevent that. You have just to live with it. It is, even if you don’t like it, or if you like it: Who cares?
Dangerous, But Powerful
For me, I think, that is very dangerous thing, in the world. I prefer now even the analog.
Look, it is also very powerful. Look, it is like for example: Now this conversation, it will take us only two or three keystrokes, and then we have it in writing. Before, it would have taken a professional a day to put that in writing, you could have paid hundreds of dollars for it. Now you just press a button, connect it to Microsoft, and they give you a text.
The other thing is without that all research engines would not be possible. You get access to a huge, a huge amount of information. The problem is that it is like with everything. A knife is dangerous, it can kill somebody. But the knife is also good because it can really help you to produce your meal. And so it’s with that thing, also. It is dangerous, and it is also powerful and beneficial. And so, you have to know, where the dangers are, you have to learn how to handle it. Because there is another danger, it can also check what you are thinking and when it can try to influence you to change your thinking, especially if it is governments, yeah, who have really an interest to influence people, and they can use that also for that purpose. This is dangerous.
How AI influences Our Thinking
But on the other hand, for example: If I write a text, if I am thinking about artificial intelligence, for what is it good and what is it bad. And I write it down, and it is thoughtful, and inspiring for some people. But nowadays I write it, and then I copy it into one of these tools for artificial intelligence.
Because it will give me another take on a language, it will try to express the same things, but in other words. And this is helpful because these people, who are doing that, and especially Microsoft, they know how people are talking, and how people are thinking. And when they know that they know also how you can express something so that people are understanding it.
Microsoft is a big power in artificial intelligence, but this time not because of the phones. With the phones, they failed. They tried it.
But basically, they can watch, what you are doing on your computer. And there, they can not only watch what you are doing and what you are saying, they can watch how you are thinking. You write a text, you discard it. You write the next version, you discard it, you change it. Microsoft can see all that. You store it mostly on Microsoft nowadays, yeah, you put it on OneDrive, and you use with online versions of Microsoft Office. Or even if you have it on your own computer, it is half on online, so we know a lot of how people are thinking, and this is dangerous and it’s helpful. Yeah, it is helpful to communicate. But it’s dangerous in a way that they can also influence that thing.
Artificial Intelligence and Governments
And especially if that power comes to governments. Let me say if what happened in USA. Last time in the last election, when these people with artificial intelligence, they band together with the government to create reactions of people to hide information and to push other information in the foreground and you know they don’t do that like that, that everybody sees the same. They do it in a way where you see the thing, which is influencing you. This is possible, and they do that, they did that.
The danger is that this artificial intelligence is falling in the hands of the governments in my eyes. Because it’s so powerful and then, you know, with Google, Microsoft. OK, you have to deal with one of them or with two. But if you don’t want Google, you can go to Apple with your phone. If you don’t like Apple, maybe you buy a Google phone, or if you don’t really want it, you take just the phone, a normal phone, which has not this software. And same with the computer. Yeah, you have different vendors. But government, if you are at a certain place, this government is telling you: “I am your government, and you cannot choose whether you deal with me.”
The Power of Social Media
So yeah, that’s what I’ve been telling you, that these things are very dangerous, especially for the government. Because this is the way of influencing people to vote or to do these things, and this is how people steal elections.
Yes. Also, how people steal elections, but also, look in the beginning: You remember this time when there was this Arab Spring during Obama? And this was done a lot by Facebook.
This was not really yet artificial intelligence. It was just that Facebook knew who is thinking how, and they have been bringing these people together. Who went then to the street to oust the governments in Tunisia, in Egypt, in Libya. They tried it also and Syria. In Ukraine basically the same.
This was not yet really artificial intelligence. But this led also stronger governments like the one in Germany to try to prevent people from using Facebook. So, they were threatening businesses with a fine of € 50,000 if they put Facebook like buttons on their websites.
But they did it anyway, because Facebook was so powerful that they have been thinking, OK, we have to do it. And the government by themselves, they did it even also. This is the power of social media.
The Power of Artificial Intelligence
But with artificial intelligence, now, they use that power not only to bring people together, but to understand many things, which nobody has been understanding before.
The real beginning of the thing was the joke going on: Amazon sending you advertisement for diapers before you even know yourself that you are pregnant. And truly you are pregnant, and you need them later. And this was the joke of it.
But the danger you can see in that: Police is still using that things. And then they say, OK, we think tomorrow morning in that area is going to happen that crime and they bring people police already there. And the probability is high that we are right, although we don’t know why and who is it. But they see signals and they follow them, and they see the results.
The problem is that they could see a result [signal], that you are going to kill somebody tomorrow, but it’s not true. They think now they have to prevent you from doing that and bring you into custody and in a prison without any real reason. This is not farfetched. You know, and this is, this is the danger of it.
But the question is now how are we handling that?
How are we handling that? You know, we cannot prevent the sun from shining. We cannot prevent artificial intelligence from being there or observing and putting things together.
We have to live with it, whether it is dangerous or not. The sun is also dangerous. But the sun is also giving us energy and food. And this artificial intelligence, it will give us information, it will extend our reach by far. But we have also to make sure that it’s not ruling us.
How does Artificial Intelligence Help Us?
So, my question is, how does the artificial intelligence help us?
It is giving us a lot of tools like text to speech like generating AI, where you can ask a few questions and you can write you a text. Or, better is to write your text by yourself and it helps you to improve it. Or you can take a photo here and tell it over Photoshop. I want here in this corner of our house and when it will put a house into that photo. It gives you a lot of help with creativity. It helps you even to be creative. Creativity, which is the one which you can do. But artificial intelligence normally not. But it can support your creativity also.
And it can help you understand. It can help also even to understand sicknesses. It can help in preventing diseases like these pandemics. Yeah, because it can allow people, at least early on, to ask the right questions. It can be very helpful in one way, but it can be also very dangerous in another way: it can also change our thinking and change our perception of truth.
Limited to Yes and No
You know, and this is the main point which I want to make: artificial intelligence can only use information which can go through a computer, which is digitalized. Which means, in the end it can handle only a lot of yes and no and yes and no and yes and no. But, you know, if you are sensing a feeling or an energy or emotions, they are not only yes and no. We have nowadays already systems there which are measuring the happiness of people. So, for example, they have cameras on the streets and they not only can do face recognition, yeah, but they can also know, when you are walking there, whether you are feeling happy or healthy or whether you are feeling depressed or angry.
This is in itself dangerous because you cannot control anymore where this information is going. If you are walking through a town like Frankfurt, you are passing a hundred cameras on your way to work. And all these cameras can see your face, can see who you are and can see how you are today.
But also, it is another danger which I see in it, that is, it is redefining the meaning of happiness. So, you will no longer ask yourself, or maybe you don’t even ask yourself, am I feeling happy today? Because you are just feeling happy.
Example: The Concept of Time
But with that one, yeah, I think there comes a time you will take your phone out. Yeah, take a short video of your face and ask the phone. Am I happy today? And the phone will tell you: yes, you are happy or no, you are not happy. And this will change the meaning of happiness. You know, and this I think is terrible. This is, with time that happened already. Time is now a row of seconds. Yeah, it used to be something completely else before that, digitalization and what it was coming before. It used to be the sun, the moon, the sun was standing up. Time used to be the years it used to be the months. It is a movement of the moon. It had many, many dimensions. But now it is only a number.
I think it can. if we’re not taking care, it can reduce our wealth and what we perceive of the world to numbers.
Where Humans Have an Edge
But this is also how we can prevail. Because, if we train our body and our mind to perceive also things, which are not numbers: Our feelings, the feelings around us, the people, the energy. And then we have, at least in our own world around us, a real edge over artificial intelligence, because we have sources of information, which cannot be sensed through a computer. Which are not either with a microphone to be digitalized, or with a camera to be digitalized, or maybe with a sensor for fingerprints. Which is the energy, which is the charisma, which is the feeling and if we are strengthening that dimension of ours, I think we can, at least in our near field, still control our life and not allow all this powerful people to control us, and I think this is what counts in the end.
Artificial Intelligence and the Subconscious Mind
OK. My next question is artificial intelligence and the subconscious mind. What do they have in common?
Yeah, this is an interesting thought. Let me first talk a little bit about the conscious mind and the subconscious mind.
The conscious mind is how we are really reasoning. It is especially working with causality. We are saying: if that is happening, then this is also true. If that is true, this is true and on that we conclude that is also true. We give a reason to things.
We are reasoning, but the subconscious mind is not reasoning. It is just connecting impressions and patterns and it is soaking everything up which you allow into your brain in from your eyes, from your ears, from the smell, from hands all information. Also with information, which is, I say from a sixth sense, the inner energy.
And, our subconscious mind is soaking all this energy up, all this information up, and then he is searching it for patterns and relates it to each other. So, it is saying: This is similar to that; this is similar to that. Or, maybe, they are connected. Maybe, this would be also connected like that. This gives you then a feeling: Oh my God, I think, I heard something like that before. And, you don’t know what, but you have an idea where to look. This is how your subconscious mind is helping you.
Focusing on Connections
Artificial intelligence is working somehow the same way. It is not looking for reasons, it is not looking for causal relationships. Artificial Intelligence is just looking what is happening together, what is coming together? It is looking for associations.
A butterfly flying in Europe through your window can cause a sack of rice falling down in China.
This is sounding very funny, but this is about hidden connection of things. And this is not a causal relationship, these are patterns, these are things which are occurring together.
And, if you master that, you know a lot in advance. Maybe, you don’t know that for sure it is happening, but it is a high probability of happening. This is even why artificial intelligence, it’s so important in the current wars, in the modern wars. Because, you cannot know for sure, nobody is telling you that your enemy is trying to do that: but you run it through a computer, and your computer is telling you: have here look. It might be like that. And often enough, it is true.
You know, and with that they target things. And the military is not waiting until they know really something for sure. If they think for 80%, here is the target which we want to hit, they shoot. If they hit then in half of the cases the right thing, it’s already a big success to them.
How to Keep Control over Your Own Life
Artificial intelligence is power, but I think also, to come to an end, we can master it in our life. First of all, by training our subconscious mind, which is working according to the same principles; and training our senses, so that we have a real wealth of information. Also important, to sleep enough, because in the sleep we are passing the information to our subconscious mind from where it is based in the brain from the day, we space it up, we keep it. And when it is crunched and sorted. The next day we have again space to safe information about what’s happening today. And in the night, we are crunching it again.
If we are not sleeping enough, and not taking care of the system and our subconscious mind, first of all, we will not get this information to the subconscious mind, but second of all, this place where we are normally saving the information, which we see every day, this will be full. And if it is full, we miss a lot of things. This is why, under stress you don’t see many things.
And so, for us it’s important to take care of ourselves: to sleep enough, to eat well, to train our senses, to avoid drugs and alcohol.
And drink a lot of water.
To give our body really what it needs.
And to stay always positive.
And this is our way I think to overcome the dangers of artificial intelligence and let it still work for us. Take care for yourself, care for your mind, care for your subconscious mind, care for your senses and keep your environment clean.
The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Our Culture
And I have here another question: How do unintended consequences affect our thinking?
This is about that it changes meaning of words there and when it is streamlining the concepts and removing everything from thinking, and with thinking also from reality, which is not fitting in this, let me say digital thinking of yes, no, yes, no, yes, no. Yes, no, yes, yes, yes. No, no, no. Yes, no, yes, no. Yes, no. You know if artificial intelligence, and it will, becomes in many instances the real arbiter of truth, it is no longer: You decide what is true. And you should keep for you the right to decide what is true for you. But especially the governments and societies, they think they have the right to decide what is true for that society. And It’s going to happen, but this decision, what is true in a society and what not It’s basically made by these artificial intelligence systems.
Limiting the Scope of Governments
But do you think this group which you have mentioned will do like that, especially government?
I think, this is a logical consequence, it is unavoidable. You know, this is like a neutral thing. We are discussing something, you, and me. And I say: “the grass is green.” But you say: “the grass is blue.”
And we are fighting, and we are shouting, until some third comes in and says what are you doing here? Why don’t you ask Google? So, we’re asking Google: “is grass green or blue?” And Google will tell us: “Grass is green, maybe sometimes yellow or brown, but certainly not blue.” And we are going to believe that. That way, it is a positive example, because it has been the end of a fight.
Controlling the Meaning of Words
But do we want computers and governments decide what is the meaning of happiness? Or do we want to decide it – everybody for himself? I want to decide for myself what is the meaning of the word “Happiness” for me. I want to decide for myself what is the meaning of a word “Love” for me. Me, I want to decide for myself even what is the meaning of the word “tiredness” for me, of “angriness,” of all these things.
And I don’t want from outside somebody to tell me: “You are angry.” I say: “I’m not feeling angry.” And they: “I know that you are angry!” and I will again say: “I am not feeling angry.” Next it is shouting to me: “But you are angry!” And I will become angry, because this shouting and not believing me and trying to force me into angriness. And this is dangerous.
This is only a simple example. I can say “I love this lady.” My computer is telling me: “No, it’s not true. You don’t love this lady.” And I say: “I love this lady.” But this computer is saying: “No, no, no, no, no.”
And, then these ladies there and asking: “Computer why do you think this guy is not loving me?” Again this computer is saying: “I know for sure that he’s not loving you. Don’t try. Don’t rely on him.” And this relationship is destroyed. You know because people believe in computers.
Now, this is an example still innocent.
But if they have now somebody manipulating that, and I know in Eastern Germany the government has been destroying families if people don’t follow guidelines. So, they have been pitting husband against the wife, just to destroy your life.
And if you put that thing together, such a bad will of a government and the power of that computers, you come to a point, where you can become really fearful.
Me, I think, one consequence of this power of artificial intelligence is that we have really, really, really, really, and importantly to limit the power of governments.
So, to make sure that they cannot decide about everything. There are really spaces that are off limits for them. To concentrate on these few public things for what you need to them. But they don’t tell you what to do in the night in your bed.
If you allow both, artificial intelligence, and a government, which says it has to decide everything, then you are really running into trouble.
Artificial intelligence is supposed to stay there. We cannot change it. Which means we have really, really, really limits to the scope of governments so that the government is not able to abuse artificial intelligence.
Thank you so much.
I thank you.
PS: See also the transcript of Podcast Episode 10 – How to Take Care of Your Subconscious Mind