Home Editorial – Regulation, war, ChatGPT: 2023, the cognitive collapse of the Internet

GEAB 175

The monthly bulletin of LEAP (European Laboratory of Political Anticipation) - 15 May 2023

Editorial – Regulation, war, ChatGPT: 2023, the cognitive collapse of the Internet

We hear a lot about the end of civilisation linked to the arrival of AI, which ChatGPT has made clear for everyone. Human beings would have no or very little added value from now on, AI would be so much more than HI…

We have news from the future that is both reassuring and disturbing. Without educated and rational humans, it won’t be long before ChatGPT and the like go completely crazy. This is good news for the usefulness of humans.[1] But it is very bad news for that wonderful tool we were given almost 30 years ago: the Internet.

The incredible reduction in the cognitive gap between citizens and leaders and the immense dynamics of bringing people closer together that this invention made possible began to slow down around 2015, in the context of terrorism and then Trumpism in particular, which provided an opportunity to regulate the Internet, to make its socio-aggregative power more complex, to force the major players (be they access, content and application providers, servers, hosts, forwarders, or even search engines and social networks) to control their flock.

Then the hunt for anti-vaccination speeches, soon followed by the hunt for pro-Russian speeches in the context of the Russian-Ukrainian war, led to the indexing of websites, and even entire countries, and to a sharp and brutal reduction in the diversity of opinion on many subjects within the framework of Google or other Western search engines (Qwant, Yahoo, Bing …).

And now ChatGPT has come along, and in just two months, not only biased content but plain silly content is already appearing. This is the experience that our team has had in preparing this issue.[2]

Of course, we recognise the usefulness of AI and do not condemn it as a whole. Other tools in the same field of application are more “honest” and reliable, inserting quotations and sources (Perplexity). But we must always be wary of automatisms, because errors are not only human.

It seems that armies of journalists (who probably do not know how to write) ask their questions directly to ChatGPT and quickly reread content relating to knowledge that they do not master well, letting the worst nonsense pass. These texts, now signed, will be taken up by the same ChatGPT, which will soon be fed with nothing but its own nonsense. Yes, this AI learns everything by itself. That’s the problem: it will soon feed on its own false content and invent a world that is totally absurd and detached from any reality/rationality.

And it will happen very quickly.

However, it will require us to quickly regain control of our information systems, but especially our education systems. Schools are the first to worry about the absurdity of knowledge tests after the introduction of ChatGPT. In fact, students have since long stopped learning to write, and are quicker to copy and paste poorly digested content, without any major reforms in teaching and testing methods. Thanks to the ChatGPT experience, the chances are increasing that national education systems around the world will begin to recover and reinvent themselves to create the conditions for an enlightened 21st century.

We will have no choice: since Covid, there has been a shortage of talent… And just as the industrial revolution educated its masses to avoid having morons at the controls of its machines, education will once again become a priority to produce humans capable of understanding, monitoring and even correcting the work of AI.

For a long time, the United States, and to a lesser extent Europe, reduced the financial effort required to educate these masses, relying on brains trained elsewhere and then on new technologies. But now the brains educated elsewhere are going to work elsewhere, and the new technologies are reaching their mechanical limits. And just as the West will have to relearn how to produce goods, everyone will have to start educating their own populations properly to shorten the inevitable war for talent that is starting to emerge (those who get their hands on the brains made in China, ASEAN, India… will survive).

In conclusion, if, like us, you find that you sometimes have difficulty understanding the articles you read, don’t question your own intelligence, but that of the machine. The responsibility for this collapse lies, of course, with all those who believe (or would like to believe) that AI will replace them, when it is only a tool at their disposal.

The Chinese, for example, are using AI to replace miners in coal mines.[3] That makes sense. But if you replace journalists with AI, or the training of journalists with AI, then you have a problem. And before we manage to regain control of the basics of education/information, we will have to go through a period of great conceptual and cognitive confusion, which will be one of the strong characteristics of the post-Covid crisis.

Our advice is to do as the GEAB does:

  • Read the information at the source (institutions, companies, NGOs, etc.);
  • Use your critical analysis grids (sources know but also want to give a good image and therefore do not tell everything);
  • Cross-reference sources on the same topic;
  • Express your own opinion.
  • Go to conferences, meet people, listen to what they say;
  • Listen to their facts rather than their analysis;
  • Express your own opinion.
  • Dive into the depths of the web to access the remaining diversity;
  • Read media and official sources from different countries, in different languages;
  • Express your own opinion (again).
  • Trust your instincts: if you don’t understand, question the content rather than yourself;
  • Appeal to your rationality: if something seems strange/inconsistent, there is a problem;
  • Like the GEAB, set your major systemic transformation trends, constantly question them in the light of reality, but also question the reality by returning to your major transformation axes;
  • Go to the library to read history;
  • Eliminate all media whose articles seem artificial;
  • Read all the small media that you can get your hands on, that put sources to their analysis (which ChatGPT does not).

Not only will you be helping to keep your reality intelligence alive, but you will be contributing to that beautiful affirmation of the human being’s extra soul that the e-cognitive collapse will allow. Back to human!

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[1]     We refer you to our interview with Bogdan Herea from last month: “AI Advancements have been a breakthrough this year”. GEAB 174, 15/04/2023

[2]     Source: Atlantico, 31/01/2023

[3]     Source: SCMP, 13/05/2023


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