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A.I. in the Garden of Eden

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, best-selling author and Ronald Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan thinks back to how promising and exciting the advent of the internet and artificial intelligence was expected to be. Things aren't looking so well today. She writes:

But a small, funny detail always gave me pause and stayed with me. It was that from the beginning of the age its great symbol was the icon of what was becoming its greatest company, Apple. It was the boldly drawn apple with the bite taken out. Which made me think of Adam and Eve in the garden, Adam and Eve and the fall, at the beginning of the world. God told them not to eat the fruit of the tree, but the serpent told Eve no harm would come if she did, that she’d become like God, knowing all. That’s why he doesn’t want you to have it, the serpent said: You’ll be his equal. So she took the fruit and ate, she gave to Adam who also ate, and the eyes of both were opened, and for the first time they knew shame. When God rebuked them, Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed the serpent. They were banished from the garden into the broken world we inhabit.

A.I. tech workers are stealthily taking a bite out of the apple:

I believe those creating, fueling, and funding it want, possibly unconsciously, to be God and on some level think they are God. The latest warning, and a thoughtful, sophisticated one it is, underscores this point in its language. The tech and AI investor Ian Hogarth wrote that a future AI, which he called “God-like AI,” could lead to the “obsolescence or destruction of the human race” if it isn’t regulated. He observes that most of those currently working in the field understand that risk. People haven’t been sufficiently warned. His colleagues are being “pulled along by the rapidity of progress.”


Peggy Noonan, “Artificial Intelligence in the Garden of Eden,” The Wall Street Journal (4-20-23)

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