Values & Generative AI

How might a mind for our minds help us with the paradox of knowing what we care about but allowing us to care about something for which it has no knowledge?

An abstract image of a candle vigil

In 2015, Mark Zuckerberg mused on the idea of a fundamental mathematical law that governs human social relationships and ultimately codifies us. He even speculated that there may be a unifying theory of humans that can be expressed in an equation, and was willing to bet on it. But what if machines start to mathematize our most cherished values—our group and individual values?

Silicon Valley has a penchant for seeking out things that can be quantified through mathematics and machines. Mathematics excels at anything that it was instrumental in discovering, but it is not as robust when applied to things it cannot explain. The algorithms used in Silicon Valley restrict the scope of human social relationships to the kinds of values that are amenable to mathematical explanation. However, if we limit the scope of human social relationships to only what is possible to quantify, we risk creating a thin representation of what we truly care about.

The problem is that in complex human social systems, anything that is easy to quantify tends to be a very superficial representation of our values. The more we try to mathematize human values, the more we focus on what can be easily expressed through mathematical formulas, and the more we neglect everything else.

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