©   Edgar J. Ridley 2015

The 24th annual International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Buenos Aires, Argentina, is faced with a dilemma.  At least 1000 members of the IJCAI have signed a letter expressing concern about the future potential of AI to colonize the arms race.

The question being debated is whether AI programs have the potential to destroy humanity.  Will future AI weaponry become capable of selecting and engaging human targets on their own, without human thinking?

Humans are the engine that runs all technology.   As expressed in my book, The Golden Apple Changing the Structure of Civilization- Volume 1, it is only by humans behaving symptomatically, i.e., using symptomatic behavior, will they unlock the key to all technology being used productively for civilization.  When AI is programmed by populations behaving symptomatically, rather than symbolically, that is the only way that it can be used in a humane and productive way.

Yes, if humans thinking symbolically create AI, then it can be the conduit to destroy humans.  However, those symbolic-behaving humans will ultimately bear responsibility for the shutdown of humanity.  If the creators of technology use it to further mythologize, then the fears and concerns of today’s scientists are warranted.  However, when a Symptomatic Thought Process® is applied in the development of technology, with human minds that have not been colonized by symbolism, then there is unlimited potential, from enhancing medical treatment to helping solve global conflict.

Artificial Intelligence cannot destroy humans. Only humans can destroy humans.  As noted in the closing paragraph of The Golden Apple Changing the Structure of Civilization – Volume 1:

As we look at the world around us, we see the destruction of lives and the environment in such a way that it is hard to envision its recovery.  However, a behavior pattern initiated by the Symptomatic Thought Process will allow us to experience every relationship in a qualitatively new way.  That qualitatively new way will eradicate the barbarism that we find ourselves in today; and instead would bring about a just civilization that will endure forever[1]


Edgar J. Ridley is Chairman of Edgar J. Ridley and Associates, an international management consulting firm, with a worldwide practice based in New York City.  His most recent book is The Golden Apple:  Changing the Structure of Civilization, Volume 1 (Africa World Press).  Volume 2 of The Golden Apple: Changing the Structure of Civilization – Evidence of Symptomatic Behavior, is in press; and he is currently drafting Volume 3 of The Golden Apple:  Changing the Structure of Civilization – Symptomatic Behavior in Practice.

[1] Excerpted from Edgar J. Ridley, The Golden Apple: Changing the Structure of Civilization, Volume 1 (Africa World Press) 2008.

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