The Elephant in the AI Room – How Money Drives Progress in Artificial Intelligence

There is a common understanding among stakeholders and participants in AI development and progress that is rarely talked about: money.

As much as there is an implicit and explicit creative and destructive attribute to AI as a concept, a field of study, and as an outcome, most take it for granted that the precursor to the justification of financing AI research and development leads to an AI industry or for AI to support existing and future capitalistic pursuits .

In a way, AI’s Achilles Heel is money, both as a medium for capital markets and as a proxy for the immense resources it requires throughout its lifecycle. In this manner, it is no different from all other aspects of human life and endeavours. As much as it appears to be purely digital and virtual, AI is still a computing and information system that requires physical and material underlays to iterate through the triad of archetypical processing lifecycles: input, process, and output , regardless of abstraction and complexity levels.

We often quip that even Hyperintelligence, in its preceding form or its nominal and optimal state in the future, is no different from the rest of us; it is no match to the powers of budgets, lawyers, and politicians. Pull the plug, literally on infrastructure or the pipes of finances, then it effectively withers. Inundate it with legal constraints and choke it and its developers with regulations, then it is the endgame before its promise even manifests.

What we worry the most, and in a way it is already the dominant strategy among leading companies, governments, institutions, and various interests, is the drift towards oversimplification and mundanity .

AI is not just LLMs. AI is not just a conversational bot. AI is not just about prompting. AI is not just ChatGPT, Bard, Cortana, or Siri. AI is not just a plugin for enterprise search and knowledge management. AI is not just about essay writing. AI is not just about generative arts. AI is not just to have an assistant or co-pilot or nanny.

But it is becoming more and more clear that the biggest fears of society about AI will be negated by its least common denominator: to be shackled not by fear but lack of human common sense, perspective, and creativity.



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