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Musk v. Hawking

Musk v. Hawking In 2017, the proponent of self-driving cars, Elon Musk, will square off against Stephen Hawking, who counsels for the ban of artificial intelligence in the military and heavy restrictions in the civil area

No. 2, Nov.-Dec. 2016 » TheFILEstarters

2017 will be a landmark year for discerning the direction for the Planet’s economies, politics, military strategies and its social and ecological paths. 

Episteme 

The most obvious challenge stemming from the new technology is the vast class of unemployable people, made redundant by robotics, automation and AI, a situation afflicting not only menial workers and low skilled labor, but also white collar clerical workers and even highly skilled work.

The United States has placed itself at the beginning of a new road which appears to be reconfiguring the international status-quo of the last decades on many levels. From an economic and financial perspective, we should not discount the strength that Washington’s new strategies will lend to the dollar. The new President is a businessman and the business world approach that he detailed in books like “The Art of the Deal” will leave an indelible mark on his negotiations, both economic and strategic, as well as his various policies. America will radiate the strength of his personality and assertiveness, at least until we will have seen real economic growth from his policies… His abrupt manner, however, can bring unpleasant surprises in the long-term with the well informed and sensitive political and economic global community, which is increasingly averse to autocrats and monopolists. In order to discern the long-term trends, we must give our undivided attention in 2017 to understanding the profusion of “contextual couplets”, many of which bear the mark of conflict, which surround the new Administration and will be generated by it – the US and NATO, the US and Russia, the economic and military stance towards China, cooperation with the EU, cooperation with the UK, US relations with Mexico etc. 

Techne 

There are also other landmarks for tracing the global future which demand our attention this year – the attitudes towards migration and terrorism, towards conflict areas, the approach towards climate change, pollution and resource depletion. The world must decide in 2017 what attitudes and policies it will adopt with regards to the new technologies, since this will be one of the last periods before their widespread dissemination makes basic regulation much more difficult. Industrial robotics, artificial intelligence, additive manufacturing and biotechnologies raise not only economic and financial questions, but also legal, social and ethical quandaries. In 2017, Elon Musk, the man who is proposing self-driving cars and revolutionizing access to space, will sit face to face with scientist Stephen Hawking, who is addressing mankind with a plea to ban or regulate the use of artificial intelligence in military and civilian fields. The latter’s reasoning regarding the risks is extensive – from self-multiplying intelligent machines eventually eliminating mankind, to the already very real accidents where autonomous decision making by the car has led to the death of its passengers.

The most obvious challenge stemming from the new technology is the vast class of unemployable people, made redundant by robotics, automation and AI, a situation afflicting not only menial workers and low skilled labor, but also white collar clerical workers and even highly skilled work.

2017 must find solution to the comprehensive technological revolution we see on its way, regardless of momentary economic and political crises. However, it is these crises which appear to be multiplying – the European Union, which had been threatening Grexit as a punishment, was itself punished through Brexit. Now, in the lull before Brexit is implemented, centrifugal forces are acting on the EU from all side. The US is supporting the UK’s decision, putting it to “front of the line” for a free trade agreement. Turkey is slowly devolving politically and growing increasingly more fundamentalist, turning its gaze towards Eurasia and its own pretenses of leadership in the Muslim world. Meanwhile, Russia is pressing for an end to sanctions and the recognition of its new territorial gains. Elections in France and Germany, among others, will clarify whether the EU will be revitalized or whether it will break up.

Romania, which has constantly favored the EU and the Euro-Atlantic Projects, is itself subject to centrifugal forces, partially on account of its neighboring countries, whose vision of the future implies greater autonomy relative to the EU and pro-Eastern sensibilities. 2017 can be a good year for our country if it will leverage its exceptional military and economic position to interface between East and West, between Eastern resources and Western technology. All of our advantages must enter into play in this complicated year. Security and financial stability can attract investment. Our resources, our touristic potential and our existing digital infrastructure and connected businesses are also advantages.

2017 must find the countries, the social and the business communities, the citizens themselves ready to make an intelligent, informed and visionary reformulation of our common future in a world of many variables. Let us hope that changes will be for the best.

 
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OEconomica No. 1, 2016