The game Deus Ex has been heralded time and time again, by both it’s fans and the critics, for being incredibly accurate with its predictions about the future. It was mostly focused on conspiracy theories, the Illuminati, A.I. takeovers, a secret global plutocracy and plans to blow up the entire internet. But it made these predictions on the basis of real-life facts and events, and as a result, some of the concepts explored were seriously convincing. In terms of A.I., though, it seems like we have yet to create an all-powerful machine that wants to take us all over. However, the hands that the future of artificial intelligence lies in are somewhat concerning indeed. The Big Nine, a book by Amy Webb, discusses in detail who’s in control of the biggest research behind A.I., as well as the most likely scenarios for the future.
The Conglomerated Control Of Artificial Intelligence
A real eye-opening title, The Big Nine explains that the future of A.I. is controlled by nine different companies existing on two different sides. Six of these companies are American, with the remaining three belonging to Chinese companies. The acronym “G-MAFIA” is used for the American companies: Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, IBM, and Apple. As for the three Chinese companies, the acronym “BAT” is used: Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent. As much as we’d all like to believe that A.I. is going to be developed as an all-purpose ally by a trustworthy organization, that’s just not the case: whatever A.I. is going to be made for, it’s going to be in the interest of these companies.
Of the first 6 companies (G-MAFIA), Google is probably one of the most transparent when it comes to their motives. They have a page solely dedicated to their research on the subject, as well as an official mission statement in which they state ease of A.I. accessibility as one of their overall goals. Of course, it’s impossible to tell what their actual motives are, so for the sake of preventing a tangent conspiracy rant, we’re just going to have to take their word for it. Next up is Amazon, who also have a page for their A.I. research, although it’s mainly intended for developers. We could keep going on and on about IBM’s page or Facebook’s motives, but one thing’s clear: in its early stages, artificial intelligence is most likely only going to exist to meet the ends of these companies.
What Other Motives Could A.I. Serve?
Things are a bit different for the Chinese companies, however. Alibaba, Tencent, and Baidu are all Chinese companies, meaning that they’re susceptible to the influence or the Chinese government in the research and use of A.I. You can think of Alibaba as the Chinese equivalent of Amazon: they do everything from e-commerce to, you guessed it, A.I. research. Their main competitor, Tencent, also happens to be one of the companies that control the future of artificial intelligence. Tencent is a jack of all trades; they’re the largest game company in the world, they host numerous music streaming services (think of a dozen different Spotifys, in China, all controlled by the same organization), and they specialize in just about everything that Alibaba does. The last Chinese company, Baidu, is one of the largest A.I. companies in the world. They’re all about futuristic technology development.
If we as a species were truly as efficient as we like to think, the best course of action in terms of developing the most advanced A.I. would obviously be to join forces and devote all of the resources into one program. We should probably be thanking them for not doing this, though. That’s the quickest route to developing a conscious A.I. straight out of Deus Ex, willing and able to destroy humanity at a moment’s notice.