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We need to dial down the fear: Must-read interview with Gerd Leonhard on Digital Ethics (Swisscom Magazine)


Swisscom Magazine interview with Gerd

Fear vs Caution - AI, and the future of technology

FLAVIAN CAJACOB: ‘Mr Leonhard, does the future scare you?’

GERD: ‘Not me personally, no. I’m an optimist. But I know, of course, that not everyone is able to share my optimism and that fear of the future is a huge issue out there in the real world. In the last two years, automation and digitalization have caused many people to think that the future will not be good or will even be terrible!’ Read more

Watch Gerd’s short video, below, on why ‘The Future is better than we think’ and how to develop a more positive view of the future

The digitization obsession

FLAVIAN CAJACOB: ‘Mr Leonhard, is digital change a change for the good?”

GERD: ‘Fundamentally, yes. However, the problem with digitalisation is that we often take it too far. For example, if Facebook plans to extend internet connectivity on the African continent by using drones, at first there is no reason to object. But you can be sure that ultimately it will be used more for monitoring people than for connecting remote regions to the internet.’ Read more

Keep the Humans in the Loop!

FLAVIAN CAJACOB: ‘Mr Leonhard, how often have you personally become ‘evil’?’

GERD: ‘The temptation and the offers, they are out there. Fortunately, I work independently and am in a position to turn requests down. There are companies and organisations that could offer me so much money for my services – but on principle I don’t provide them with my expertise.’ Read more

Who is ‘mission control’ for humanity?

FLAVIAN CAJACOB: ‘Mr Leonhard, what if machines were to compile your list of questions for themselves one day?”

GERD: ‘Autonomous intelligence is certainly not something desirable. Artificial intelligence basically means us no harm – unless humans program it that way. That’s why we need something like a ‘mission control for humanity’, which will ensure that an equilibrium is maintained between humans and technology. But, who should that be? Who will be an independent force, ensuring data security in the age of intelligent machines? Safeguarding online privacy? At the moment, the control lies in the hands of Silicon Valley. And that cannot be the case. That is the challenge for politicians and large companies.’ Read more

Watch this video, below – At the Heart of Intelligence: a collaboration between Gerd and Telia Finland film, in 2018

Our ultimate job is... to be HUMAN

FLAVIAN CAJACOB: ‘Mr Leonhard, what do you say to the people who think the future will not be good or will even be terrible?’

GERD: ‘For those people who do not engage intensively with technological progress, I suggest they dial down the fear a little. Life will be transformed massively over the next few years. After that, however, there will be a degree of ‘rehumanisation’ – we will become hyper-efficient and completely networked, but we will also have more time for interpersonal, social activities. I say, the future will be a lot better than we can imagine today.’ Read more

Machines are binary, humans are multinary

FLAVIAN CAJACOB: ‘Mr Leonhard, why should people believe you?’

‘Because everything I say, people have actually known for a long time. They just haven’t particularly wanted to engage with it up to now. It’s like if you go to a therapist and they tell you that you’re not treating your wife very well and that your behaviour therefore needs to fundamentally change. You have actually been aware of that for a long time, but only now, when someone raises the issue with you so vividly, do you realise – aha, it really is about time that I actively tackled this.’ Read more

Video with the entire Swisscom presentation by Gerd Leonhard

Read the full Interview and see Gerd’s video presentation here

Download the interview with Swisscom Magazine PDF here


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