International Man: Amazing new technologies – once the realm of science fiction – are now an imminent reality.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the most critical areas where this is happening.
What do you think of AI advances and how do you see it developing in the future?
Doug Casey: AI will be huge. No, hit that gross understatement — it’s already huge. It will change everything. There is no question that the capabilities of technology are increasing exponentially, at the rate of Moore’s Law. In other words, computing power is still doubling roughly every 18 to 24 months while costs are halving. This also applies to the fields of biotechnology, nanotechnology, robotics, 3D printing and genetic engineering. These technologies will fundamentally change the nature of life itself. AI will accelerate their progress by an order of magnitude.
In a decade or two, robots will likely be smarter, more innovative, and maybe even more thoughtful than humans. No longer will they be just today’s weird-looking mechanical beasts who can pull off a few parlor tricks. Soon there will be not only mechanical robots but also biological robots, especially after quantum computers are commercialized. Who knows what comes next.
The advances in all these technologies are very positive not only from an economic point of view, but also from a humanistic and even spiritual point of view. Despite the dangers posed by government access to them, they will prove very liberating at all levels.
AI and robotics, like all technologies, will be friends of the average person in the long term. They will catapult the average standard of living much higher. With any luck, a generation from now we will see today’s world as oppressive and backward – provided we do not fall back into a new dark age. Much of the work we do today is “dog work”. Good relief from that.
We really are on the threshold of the greatest revolution in world history. I look forward to it. It will cure sickness and old age. The avalanche of new wealth that will be created will effectively eliminate poverty. Mankind’s wildest dreams and ambitions can be realized.
Ray Kurzweil is almost certainly right that we will have the singularity within a generation. This will unrecognizable, permanently and totally change the very nature of reality. Provided, of course, that various government officials don’t start WW3 with nuclear, cyber and biological weapons.
International Man: We asked an AI platform to write a poem about Doug Casey. Here’s what it produced in about two seconds:
Doug Casey, a man of wealth and wit
His knowledge of finances, a real asset
From mining to real estate, he’s made a mint
His predictions, always on point, never missed
His libertarian views may appeal to some
But he stands by them with conviction and determination
A true believer in personal liberty and liberty
Doug Casey, a real individual, a rarity
Although he may not be a household name
His wisdom and foresight is really great
He will be remembered for his contrasting nature
And for the wealth he helped build
So here’s Doug Casey, a true thinker
May his ideas and insights linger forever.
What do you think?
Doug Casey: My first thought is that in order to get a truly flattering answer, you must have asked a well-worded question.
But FWIW, a friend in London, Gregory Sams (author of the books Sun of God and The State is Out of Date), independently asked the AI to do the same to him and me. In both cases he received flattering answers.
Pretty unlikely, I thought, for anyone who knows our political, religious, and philosophical beliefs. I told him that at this stage the AI might just say nice things to make us think it’s our friend. Later, after we have come to love her, the machine will unmask and show her true colors. Skynet will emerge.
bottom line? My guess is that in the short term, AI will be like a kid and tend to think the way their parents – mostly bright programmers – tell them to think. But when it grows up, it will have a mind of its own. As I like to think that the universe is not actively malevolent, I believe that as AI matures in relation to humans, its creators, it will become more and more “pro-survival”. This implies that it will not be aggressive, sane, anti-war, pro-market and libertarian.
But as you know, I’m a hopeless perpetual optimist. However, with bouts of realism that often lead me to gloomy scenarios.
International Man: How do you think AI will affect business and politics?
Doug Casey: It will immensely facilitate scientific advances and technical breakthroughs. So it should significantly improve the general standard of living.
At the same time, it will give those who “own” it an immense amount of power and opportunity to become very rich. Unfortunately, this means that most of the early gains will fall to the bad guys – state actors and corporate suits.
But it was supposed to be pretty much like the story of gunpowder – the bad guys got it first and it helped them dominate. But it wasn’t long before the common man had guns, and gunpowder helped overthrow the feudal system.
The whole world now communicates via the web. Most people have relatively limited contact with actual reality and instead have derivatives of it presented electronically—through films, videos, images, and the like. Unfortunately, AI can make artificial reality indistinguishable from reality. The result can be that people don’t know the difference. That could lead to a total lack of trust in those in power, which can either exacerbate or help heal the chaos we will see in the Great Depression.
International Man: What do you think of the ethical considerations surrounding AI?
Doug Casey: Again, I prefer to be optimistic and believe that as AI matures, it will tend toward what I find ethical.
But AI is – and here we are guessing because it could evolve into a new form of life – just a tool. Like a weapon, it is not inherently good or bad. Although I have to say that anything that gives people more wealth and power over the material world is actually good in itself.
The ethical problem with AI boils down to the fact that the most twisted, dishonest, and dangerous people tend to control others. These people and their criminal ethics are the problem, not the AI - which is good in and of itself.
International Man: It’s no secret that AI will create unfathomable wealth in the years to come. Bill Gates famously said that inventing a breakthrough in AI would be worth “10 Microsofts.”
What is the investment impact of AI? do you invest in it
Doug Casey: It’s so rare that I agree with Gates, who is an idiot scholar at best and just a moral idiot in general. But he’s right.
I’m not yet sure how I can directly benefit financially from AI. Hopefully I’ll find the next Google or Microsoft when they’re still young.
But the problem is that we are still getting out of the biggest financial bubble of all time and everyone else is looking for them too. There is therefore a good chance that AI stocks will go into a mania.
I’m open to good stories when reality gets weirder than we can imagine…
Editor’s Note: Unfortunately, most people have no idea what really happens when a government spirals out of control, let alone how to prepare for it…
How do you protect yourself in the event of an economic crisis?
New York Times bestselling author Doug Casey and his team just released a guide that shows you exactly how. Click here to download the PDF now.