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"AI or the revenge of humans?" - Column published in Décideurs Magazine by the French philosopher Gabrielle Halpern

The French philosopher Gabrielle Halpern has published a column in the media Décideurs Magazine, in order to share her vision on artificial intelligence (AI), particularly generative artificial intelligence.

"A lot of international events regarding the question of artificial intelligence (AI) are taking place all over the world, so it may be interesting to think about what AI means for human beings.

Why did we need to invent artificial intelligence? When he appeared in the world, human beings saw themselves relatively little favored compared to the other animals around them. Indeed, nature, wrote the German philosopher Emmanuel Kant, gave human beings neither the horns of the bull, nor the claws of the lion, nor the fangs of the dog, nor the wings of the bird. How to survive in such conditions in the big world? How to protect yourself against predators and defend yourself without being on equal terms? How to deal with and prepare for natural phenomena? Little spoiled by nature, human beings have nevertheless not been completely ignored by nature, since it has endowed them with hands and intelligence. But how were these attributes going to allow human beings to get by? Would they be enough? Not to mention that although we have five senses, they are relatively undeveloped compared to the dog's nose, the eagle's visual acuity and the hearing of the bat or the dolphin! How then was our intelligence going to be able to face the world by relying on data as fragile, as partial and as limited as that which our five senses provide us?

The human being was devoid of claws, horns, wings and scales, but regardless, far from being discouraged, with his intelligence and his hands, he was going to launch into the manufacture of tools capable of increasing its strengths and overcoming its weaknesses. Flint, hammer, axe... But if all these devices - these prostheses, so to speak - allowed him to play on more or less equal terms with the other animals, there remained a major problem: the finiteness of his five senses, their tendency to fall too easily into optical illusions and the poverty of the information that they were able to bring to him from the outside world to set in motion his intelligence and possibly transform into knowledge. It was therefore necessary to go further: to advance science and imagine new tools. Glasses, telescopes, stethoscopes... But the information provided by these instruments was still too scattered, too few and too difficult to analyze. This did not yet allow him to fully understand the world in order to face it. With his hands and his intelligence, he had to imagine a way to increase the number of his data tenfold, analyze it as quickly as possible and even be able to predict what was going to happen by calculating probabilities. So, he developed technologies capable of responding to his desire to know the world and appease his survival instinct. Besides, businesses are not that different from human beings; they use technologies such as artificial intelligence in the hope of better understanding the world in which they operate. More than a tool, AI is on the verge of becoming a symbol for human beings of what could help them to live, to survive.

But a question arises today: if we were in danger from Nature millennia ago, is this danger still the same and have the balance of power not been reversed? If the threats weighing on human beings are no longer the same, this means that these tools are gradually playing another role. Indeed, everything seems to happen as if we no longer only wanted to understand the world and make it less unpredictable, but also to master it, dominate it and recreate it in our image. Our efforts to distance ourselves from the animal world, by rejecting “the bestial” in us, to use the words of ethologist Jessica Serra, and bring us closer to the divine raises questions. In the beginning, God created the world, then man set out to recreate the world... By seeking immortality, omniscience and omnipotence to resemble gods, will we lose our uniqueness as human beings?" , Gabrielle Halpern

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