Does Artificial Intelligence Herald a New Era in Human History? And What Will This New Era Bring?

When Henry Kissinger first met the former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, he told him that “Google is a threat to civilization as I understand it.” The two of them, together with the MIT computer scientist Daniel Huttenlocher, subsequently coauthored The Age of AI, in which they explore the ramifications of artificial intelligence. The advent of this technology, in Kissinger’s formulation, signals the end of the age of reason that began in the 17th century, and the start of something new. In conversation with Roger Hertog, the three address the ethical, philosophical, geopolitical, and even religious implications of these new frontiers in computing.

At one point, Hertog poses the question, “Isn’t it possible that with the end of the age of reason, and a new intellectual force in our lives—artificial intelligence—that humankind will search for meaning in their lives, and maybe find it, in a newfound belief in God or religion?” To which Kissinger replies that such an outcome is “probable.” (Video, about 90 minutes.)

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Read more at Temple Emanu-El Streicker Center

More about: Artifical Intelligence, History, Religion, Technology, U.S. Security

 

The New Iran Deal Will Reward Terrorism, Help Russia, and Get Nothing in Return

After many months of negotiations, Washington and Tehran—thanks to Russian mediation—appear close to renewing the 2015 agreement concerning the Iranian nuclear program. Richard Goldberg comments:

Under a new deal, Iran would receive $275 billion of sanctions relief in the first year and $1 trillion by 2030. [Moreover], Tehran would face no changes in the old deal’s sunset clauses—that is, expiration dates on key restrictions—and would be allowed to keep its newly deployed arsenal of advanced uranium centrifuges in storage, guaranteeing the regime the ability to cross the nuclear threshold at any time of its choosing. . . . And worst of all, Iran would win all these concessions while actively plotting to assassinate former U.S. officials like John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, and [his] adviser Brian Hook, and trying to kidnap and kill the Iranian-American journalist Masih Alinejad on U.S. soil.

Moscow, meanwhile, would receive billions of dollars to construct additional nuclear power plants in Iran, and potentially more for storage of nuclear material. . . . Following a visit by the Russian president Vladimir Putin to Tehran last month, Iran reportedly started transferring armed drones for Russian use against Ukraine. On Tuesday, Putin launched an Iranian satellite into orbit reportedly on the condition that Moscow can task it to support Russian operations in Ukraine.

With American and European sanctions on Russia escalating, particularly with respect to Russian energy sales, Putin may finally see net value in the U.S. lifting of sanctions on Iran’s financial and commercial sectors. While the return of Iranian crude to the global market could lead to a modest reduction in oil prices, thereby reducing Putin’s revenue, Russia may be able to head off U.S. secondary sanctions by routing key transactions through Tehran. After all, what would the Biden administration do if Iran allowed Russia to use its major banks and companies to bypass Western sanctions?

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Read more at Dispatch

More about: Iran nuclear deal, Russia, U.S. Foreign policy