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It seems that in a short time AI will be able to think for itself. When will we humans think?

In a recent article (April 11, 2024), Joelle Pineau, the vice president of artificial intelligence (AI) research at Meta, stated that “we are working hard to find a way for (AI) to not only talk, but I can really reason, plan and remember.”

In fact, according to that same article, Meta and OpenIA were at that time “on the verge” of their new AI models “being able to reason and plan.”

Two weeks later, on April 26, 2024, OpenAI announced that its new version of ChatGPT can now “remember and plan,” although, perhaps out of modesty or prudence, there is no mention of ChtGPT 5 (or whatever it is called) can already truly reason.

In other words, in approximately a year and a half ChatGPT went from being just a novelty, almost just a toy (as the first phones and the first airplanes were considered), to transform itself into an artificial AI that speaks, remembers, and plans. One can speculate that ChatGPT also already reasons for itself or will soon do so.

Nevertheless, these new advances invite a closer, more detailed, and careful examination of the impact of the imminent arrival of artificial general intelligence (AGI), which, unlike current AI, will no longer be a purely reactive system, but rather a system capable of sophisticated cognitive processes. How sophisticated will they be? We will soon find out.

While all this happens, that is, while artificial AI learns to think and reason (what's next? Be self-aware?), we humans think less and less. And, as a consequence, we know less and less and, for this reason, it is increasingly easier for us to accept any type of misinformation, pseudo-theory, or funny video, while rejecting “reality.”

As the American philosopher Daniel Dennett (recently deceased) said in his memoir “I Was Thinking,” the real problem we face is not the arrival of the IAG or some other type of superintelligence. The existential threat that could even end civilization is turning AI into “a weapon for disinformation.”

The consequences of this situation, according to Dennett, will be devastating for our society because “we will not be able to know if we really know, we will not know who to trust and we will not know if we are well informed or misinformed.” Furthermore, “We could become paranoid and hyperskeptic, or simply apathetic and impassive. Both are extremely dangerous routes.”

Seeing what is seen and listening to what is heard in the so-called “media” and “social networks” (names reminiscent of the “Ministry of Truth” of Orwell’s 1984), what Dennett already warned us about it's happening. In a way, if that’s true, we are already all doomed.

If this were the case, our situation is remarkably similar (if not exactly the same) to that of the souls described at the beginning of Canto 3 of the Inferno, in Dante's Divine Comedy. These souls are in Hell and lost all hope after being condemned to misery for not thinking, having lost, and forgotten “the good of the intellect.”

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