To AI, or Not to AI

by | Feb 23, 2023

To AI, or Not to AI

by | Feb 23, 2023


Americans allegedly believe in justice. Our founders deemed the concept of justice as necessary for the preservation of our republic; defined as a free and just society, where preserving liberty and property was the only legitimate role of government.

Consider our current system of justice, judgment by our peers. Trial by jury! Where information asymmetries should be eliminated or mitigated by the pre-trial discovery process. Where only facts are considered evidence. Where we can face our accuser, advocate on our own behalf, and explain any mitigating circumstances. And appeal, if we can prove there were procedural flaws

A just outcome requires the revelation and presentation of all legally obtained facts and evidence. Some of the evidence can be interpreted by experts. The jury hears only evidence and summations. And then our peers, the jurors, decide. We the people decide what is just, and punishing injustice is reserved for us. Some have argued citizen jurors should have the right to nullify laws as a check on state power. Our ability to nullify acts of injustice deemed to have been perpetrated by the State. The State does not judge us.

When I invested in Parler and acted as advisor, I advocated for the rewriting of the Terms of Service and the establishment of the enforcement of the Terms of Service to be executed by peers. A jury system comprised of volunteer jurors, who had been on Parler for at least six months and had their identities validated. Only they judged whether there were violations of the Terms of Service, with no content moderation or content moderators. Simple Terms of Service defined by the First Amendment. Is the speech constitutionally protected or not? Parler neither acted as an authority or did surveillance. The Parler community submitted content they believed violated the Terms of Service, which was then judged by peers, with the right to appeal. I believed Parler should never act as judge, jury, and executioner. It should adhere to the principles we established as being the fairest way to implement justice. Where conviction is only legitimate if peer-based, and requires a preponderance of evidence and consent by either a supermajority or unanimity.

In contrast, the current practices of app-based surveillance companies masquerading as social media platforms violate all procedural justice principles. Surveillance is their monetization model. While you enjoy their content, they are watching and learning, creating algorithms to enrage you to increase engagement. They package your behavior and sell it to companies and nefarious actors who then target you with marketing, propaganda, and psychological operations, subjecting everyone to manipulation. Surveillance companies often freely give user information to governmental agencies without warrants.

Are you informed or given a voice with what is done with your data? Are you indifferent with who it is shared with and how it is used? Is there any transparency? Is value shared? If you have any doubts, I suggest reading their Terms of Service and Privacy Policies. You will discover they take hours to read if you have a legal background. They abandon almost all our principles of procedural justice. They do not represent the town square. Their business model is anti-social. It has nothing to do with free speech. A safe environment for dialogue, debate, discussion, public square, town hall; that is misinformation/disinformation. They are surveillance companies, who hire data scientists and neuroscientists to apply trial and error to algorithms, with the end goal of keeping users as addicted as possible. The more you are outraged, the more users are engaged, the more the surveillance of that engagement can be packaged and sold for whatever purposes and to whomever will pay the right price.

Klaus Schwab has stated that: “Who masters those technologies-in some way-will be the masters of the world.” Meanwhile, Jaron Lanier has used the term “digital Maoism” to describe the current, app-based, Big Tech ecosystem and the surveillance companies like Meta, Google, and Twitter as “spy agencies.”  And BF Skinner theorized the type of behavior control as “operant conditioning,” being “Twitter poisoned.”

The new, most current talked about technology is AI, which is a perversion of all principles of justice. We surrender our freedom if we agree to be subjugated by or subject to AI.

Artificial is correct. The intelligence is artificial. The people pursuing AI put profit and power over humanity and freedom and want to replace our free will with their will and their algorithms. They forget why markets exist and are so important. No one will possess perfect knowledge, perfect information, and perfect foresight. It is a fool’s errand to pursue that, an act of extreme arrogance and hubris. I will not participate in a process so dehumanizing.

For all those who claim to believe in AI, let them subjugate themselves to their own AI. I will not deprive them of their right to contract their lives out to do so. But not with my cooperation. Not with my data. Not with my consent. How can anyone call themselves human if they delegate thinking and judgment to a third-party algorithm? They are free to choose AI as their God. I hope most choose not to. A better investment, in my opinion, is our own intelligence.

Liberty and freedom are messy. Centralized systems that enjoy “economies of scale” are more efficient. If we want efficiency and value it so highly, then embrace an authoritarian, totalitarian state where the consent of the people is not required. That would be extremely efficient. Clearly it is more efficient to not require the process of obtaining consent and convincing a majority that they would be better off. So much more efficient to have an authoritarian, totalitarian state that makes all those decisions on our behalf. That is centralization. Efficient, but fragile. Why fragile? Because mistakes are systemic. They bear a very high cost to society. And the transaction costs or mitigation are extremely high and will probably end in violence.

Decentralization is less efficient but prevents against systemic risk. Regime change is not costly. We learn more. We adapt more easily. Cost of innovation is lower. And, in the long term, proves also to be more efficient because we preserve the benefits of liberty and freedom and it is through this preservation of liberty and freedom we have the opportunity to all become the best version of ourselves and create the best opportunities not only for ourselves but for society. No blessing is greater than the blessings of liberty and freedom. Only decentralization will preserve those attributes. Market-based outcomes which represent the decisions we as free people make freely.

Our personal sovereignty also requires data sovereignty. Our data is our property. It is the manifestation of our behavior. Who has access to that information should require our consent. I suggest we all embrace a data manifesto. The information we produce is to empower ourselves. We keep learning. We get smarter. Our judgment improves. We make our own lives better on our terms.

Data is the second most valuable currency after trust. That is why the most valuable companies are those best at extracting the most amount of data at the lowest cost. By surrendering our data we are commodifying ourselves. And are poor negotiators. Because to the extent that we are commodifying ourselves, we are capturing a small percentage of the economic value.

Stop selling your humanity. And if you choose to do so, do not do it so cheaply. Require your consent and authorization. And like all personal property, maintain custody. Then, the intelligence will be yours and not artificial.

What do I propose as a solution? Embrace only decentralized platforms that function as infrastructure to facilitate peer-to-peer communication, collaboration, cooperation, and commerce. Ecosystems without controlling authority where permission is not required, censorship is not practiced, privacy is respected, ownership of data is retained, and no algorithms exist.

We, the people, are empowered. Not surveillance companies or artificial intelligence.

About Jeffrey Wernick

Jeffrey Wernick is a private investor and early advocate and acquirer of bitcoin. He frequently lectures at his alma mater, the University of Chicago.

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