By 2024, George Orwell’s “1984” could be a reality, says Microsoft President Brad Smith

  • According to Microsoft’s Brad Smith, AI may be winning the race against humanity.
  • George Orwell’s 1984 warned that the dystopia of the surveillance state could “come to pass by 2024.”
  • It’s imperative to beat china in the AI race.

Microsoft’s president has warned that if lawmakers don’t safeguard the public against artificial intelligence, life as it is described in George Orwell’s 1984 “could come to pass in 2024.”

Smith expressed concern during the discussion about China’s escalating use of artificial intelligence (AI) to monitor its citizens and the possibility that we may be in a losing battle with the technology. Thus highlighting the common concern that the threat to democracy could come from the state’s hegemony in the region.

“If we don’t enact the laws that will protect the public in the future, we are going to find the technology racing ahead, and it’s going to be very difficult to catch up,” Mr. Smith said. “I’m constantly reminded of George Orwell’s lessons in his book 1984. You know the fundamental story…was about a government who could see everything that everyone did and hear everything that everyone said all the time”

“Well, that didn’t come to pass in 1984, but if we’re not careful that could come to pass in 2024.”

Many believe that China’s capabilities are well beyond those of the EU and that it has aspirations to surpass the EU as the world leader in AI by 2030.

China outperformed the US in 2019 in terms of the number of patents obtained by academic institutions for cutting-edge AI technologies.

According to research by Comparitech, China is home to 54 percent of the 770 million CCTV cameras in use worldwide.

A smart city project that claims to essentially put artificial intelligence in command was launched by the Chinese tech company Terminus in 2020. The city project, which is marketed as focusing on efficiency and citizen comfort, would be managed by AI, meaning a system would keep track of all people’s habits and preferences. The question is whether or not the citizens would voluntarily provide their data in exchange for comfort. According to the analysis done by Comparitech, as indicated above, citizens don’t appear to have many options.

The US National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence’s chair, Eric Schmidt, a former Google chief executive, has issued a warning that outpacing China in AI is essential.

Musk suggested that as an answer, “if you can’t beat them, join them”. The goal of Musk’s Neuralink project is to someday enable humans to coexist harmoniously with artificial intelligence.

Ray Kurzweil’s Singularity theory posits that artificial intelligence will eventually reach a point at which it is able to solve problems regarding its own technological advancement. As it will be able to do so at a pace far surpassing the capacity of humans, it will then innovate at a pace beyond our imagining, potentially leaving us biting the dust.

Campaigns such as Stop Killer Robots have led petitions with signatures from the likes of Noam Chomsky, Elon Musk, and ex-employees of Google’s Project Maven, to stop the propagation of fully autonomous weapons.


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