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‘Google is a threat to civilization’ and ‘Eric Schmidt is one of my best friends’: Henry Kissinger

‘AI will change human consciousness exceeding that of the Enlightenment’: Kissinger

Henry Kissinger AI
Henry Kissinger. Image via video from DVIDS
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Henry Kissinger reminisces saying, “Google is a threat to civilization,” but that through his best friend Eric Schmidt, he has come to view AI as something that will change human consciousness.

“I became a great friend of Eric Schmidt, who is today one of my best friends. He invited me to give a speech at Google […] and I began my speech by saying […] ‘I want you all to understand that I consider Google a threat to civilization as I understand it'”

Henry Kissinger, the man who has pushed for a one world government for decades and whose policies have played a direct role in some of the most heinous global atrocities of the past 60-odd years, is preaching AI ethics this week.

“Over the years, Eric [Schmidt] was kind enough to introduce me to a lot of artificial intelligence researches [..] and I am concerned with the historical, philosophical, strategic aspect of it,” said Kissinger at the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence Conference on Tuesday.

“I’ve become convinced that artificial intelligence, and its surrounding disciplines, is going to bring a change in human consciousness exceeding that of the Enlightenment”

“I’ve become convinced that artificial intelligence, and its surrounding disciplines, is going to bring a change in human consciousness exceeding that of the Enlightenment because of the inherent scope of the investigations it imposes,” Kissinger added.

The 96 year-old statesman has played a hand in US foreign policies such as the carpet bombing of Cambodia, ousting the democratically elected president of Chile, approving Argentina’s ‘Dirty War,’ and supporting genocide in Bangladesh, among many, many others.

“I think the technicians are too modest in the sense that they’re doing a spectacular thing, but they don’t ask enough of what it means. I would say the same for strategists. This is bound to change the nature of strategy and of warfare”

In his book “Behold a Pale Horse,” researcher Bill Cooper remarked that “Kissinger has been a traitor to this country for many, many years” and that he got his start in policy making when “Rockefeller gave Kissinger a grant of $50,000 in the early ’50s, a fortune in those days, and made dear old Henry a member of the CFR [Council on Foreign Relations].”

However, Kissinger has continued to advise every US president since the 1950s, and his unique perspectives stem from a vast wealth of knowledge and experience that is unparalleled in modern foreign policy.

He became interested in AI after befriending the former head of Google even though he considered Google to be a threat to civilization.

“Let me give a few words about how I came into this field. I became a great friend of Eric Schmidt, who is today one of my best friends. He invited me to give a speech at Google […] and I began my speech by saying […] ‘I want you all to understand that I consider Google a threat to civilization as I understand it.’ This was the beginning of our friendship.”

Kissinger doesn’t shun AI, yet he doesn’t fully embrace it either. He more or less accepts that its arrival is inevitable, but due to the unpredictable outcomes the technology demonstrates, AI shouldn’t be the sole decision maker on the battlefield.

“AI will exist and will shape us,” the 96 year-old statesman claimed.

“The key problem we face in actual crises as security advisers is ‘how do you threaten with nuclear weapons without triggering a preemptive strike on the other side?’ As the weapons themselves became more esoteric, even in terms of the 70s, when we move to fixed, land-based missiles, they had a high potential for retaliation, but next to no potential for being used diplomatically.

“I think it will become standard that AI algorithms will be part of the decision making processes, but as that happens, the decision makers have to think through the limits of it.”

Kissinger suggested playing war games to measure the reliability of AI decision making on the battlefield.”

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“Much of human effort has been to explain the reality around it”

The accused war criminal also warned that, just like in the 1993 Jurassic Park movie, scientists are so preoccupied with pushing the boundaries of technology that they don’t stop to think of the consequences.

“I think the technicians are too modest in the sense that they’re doing a spectacular thing, but they don’t ask enough of what it means. I would say the same for strategists. This is bound to change the nature of strategy and of warfare.”

He added, “AI has consequences that we elicit, but we don’t always know why.”

As a whole, Kissinger sees AI as an esoteric force that will change the human perception of reality.

“In the conceptual field I think that it’s [AI] the next big step for mankind,” and that “Now, unpredictable consequences are going to follow.”

“Much of human effort has been to explain the reality around it. The Enlightenment brought a way of looking at it on a mathematical basis and on a rational basis.

“The idea that you can explore reality in partnership of what is out there, and that you explore it by means of algorithms where you know what they will produce, but you do not yet know why — that is when people start thinking about it. That will fundamentally affect human perceptions.”

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Tim Hinchliffe
Tim Hinchliffe is the editor of The Sociable. His passions include writing about how technology impacts society and the parallels between Artificial Intelligence and Mythology. Previously, he was a reporter for the Ghanaian Chronicle in West Africa and an editor at Colombia Reports in South America. tim@sociable.co