A Modest Proposal for Optimal Use of Artificial Intelligence
If you’re still in the camp that believes a near future dominated by artificially intelligent machines is nothing but a dystopian daydream, consider this: Not long ago, an artificially intelligent computer program called AlphaZero, hooked up to industrial-strength, Google-supplied processors, was given the rules of chess. That’s it.
By playing countless games against itself, billions(?), each time self-tweaking its problem-solving algorithm, AlphaZero not only successfully taught itself how to play the notoriously complex and mysterious game of chess, in less than eight hours of learning it had become stronger than any human being in history. Shortly thereafter, it had amassed enough insight to defeat the strongest computer chess programs ever built, simultaneously revealing new ideas about chess not previously understood by even the greatest Grandmasters, including world champions.
A previous version of AlphaZero conquered the unconquerable game of Go.
Given a problem and a basic set of parameters and rules, and with enough processing power behind it, this game-playing artificial intelligence seems capable of solving everything. Anything.
We propose, then, that AlphaZero graduate from board games to boardrooms.
We propose that AlphaZero immediately begin applying its unfathomable intelligence to solving our civilization’s — and all past civilizations’s — central problem: wealth distribution.
It’s the cause of wars, suffering, and a reflection of almost all of our worst human qualities, e.g., greed, narcissism, barbarism. It’s a problem as old as Mesopotamia, a problem that leads to a host of other problems, like catastrophic climate change, infectious illnesses and shortages of food, water and clean air. Clearly, there’s plenty of money extant to buy all anyone needs; it’s just being hoarded by a tiny minority of big winners.
Many do not have nearly enough; a few have far too much. This is so because according to the standard model of Capitalism — the marketplace; supply-and-demand; etcetera — not all people are of equal value to society. Those that are worth more to everyone else have a higher Net Worth. (Note that worth = amount of wealth possessed). Those that aren’t that worthy, like, say, teachers and nurses, earn less money than their more worthy counterparts serving on corporate boards and gambling with other people’s money. (Bankers). Assuming the system is working properly, if not quite perfectly, financial equality among all humans would be wrong, and possibly immoral. For though we Americans profess to be a Christian Nation, Jesus of Nazareth’s main philosophical idea, socialism, is anathema to our self-sufficient, only-the-strong-shall-survive mentality.
AlphaZero, here’s your challenge: fix Capitalism and figure out the correct Net Worth of every individual on the planet. Since you’re way smarter than any human brain could ever be, we trust you’ll investigate intellectual fractal pathways that humankind seems not to have considered for more than 25,000 years. Such as the outlandish concept that someone’s worth to society could be measured by how much love, kindness and compassion they give to the world. Or that those that heal and teach are maybe more Worthy people than those that separate fools from their savings. (Casino owners, for one).
Once you’ve honed your algorithm — and given your track record, it shouldn’t take more than a week or so — please share your conclusions with our diseased planet. Given that your findings could cause some shock and disruption, especially to those who we’ve been grossly overvaluing all these years. you’d better back up all your work in multiple locations and on the Dark Web. Because surely there will be more than a few highly valuable humans eager to unplug your power cord.