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Beyond artificial intelligence

A robot that seems to have successfully passed the Turing test by producing messages that are difficult to distinguish from those emitted by a human being caused a stir in the media.

Computer mechanisms progressively supplant us. ATMs Displace Their Biological Counterparts; cybernetic devices drive cars, airplanes, and drones; Artificial analysts diagnose diseases or interpret legal documents more accurately than their biological counterparts.

 The machines write, compose music, draw graphics and even compete in chess better than the world champion of the game of science. They increase their speed and capabilities in a dizzying and exponential way, while ours remain static.

Analysts anticipate that during this decade computerization will make more than 40% of jobs disappear. As Oscar Wilde deplored in his pivotal essay "The Soul of Man Under Socialism": "Up to the present time man has been, to a certain extent, the slave of machinery, and there is something tragic in the fact that as soon as a man invents a machine to do his work, begins to starve" (https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/wilde-oscar/soul-man/).

This could give rise to three futures. The first of them is the obsolescence of the human being.

Indeed, in a capitalist world where 1% of the population owns 50% of the wealth, and 10% owns 88%, the vast majority who do not own the means of production and live by selling their power of work will become useless as soon as the machines perform their tasks more quickly, cheaply and efficiently.

Capital has enslaved peoples, exterminated nations, unleashed genocides with no other objective than to obtain dividends. What will he do with a labor force supplanted by mechanisms that do not demand wages?

In a system where profit is the supreme good, human existence has no book value. The useless mass to produce surplus value will be exterminated by violence or by exclusion from the circuit of work, wages and consumption.

The world will become a playground where mechanical slaves will work for an oligarchy of owners made up of barely 10 or 1% of what was once the world's population.

The extermination of the majority of humanity will also solve for the elite the problems of pollution, political and social instability and the progressive depletion of natural resources.

The second potential future is that of the progressive fusion of the human being with the machinery called transhumanism. We accept in our body prostheses, valves, pacemakers. We could integrate organs and computer functions to blur the boundaries between the artificial and the natural. But our availability of implants would be parallel to the ability to buy them: it would generate oligarchies, proletariats, and the extinction of the less computerized.

The third possible future is the affirmation that human life is a value in itself, independent of its profitability or rate of profit or of its capacity to perform alienated labor in an alien world.

To capture it, humanity must seize productive forces and means of production from the tiny capitalist minority that monopolizes them and enjoy among all the fruits that the social work of all has created for all.

As Oscar Wilde also stated in the aforementioned essay: “Socialism, communism, or whatever we want to call it, by converting private property into public wealth, and substituting competition for cooperation, will restore society to its due condition of an entirely healthy organism, and will ensure the material well-being of each member of the community. In fact, it will give life its proper foundation and its proper environment."

A society in which the advanced social use of automated means of production fulfills the hitherto frustrated purpose of providing everyone with the necessary means for subsistence would free us from the slavery of alienated work, misery, ignorance and hunger.

Let us quote Wilde again: “At present, machines compete with man. Under the right conditions, machines will serve man. There is no doubt that this is the future of machinery, just as the trees grow while the farmer sleeps, Humanity will have fun, or enjoy cultivated leisure - which, and not work, is the purpose of man - or will beautiful things, or read beautiful things, or simply gaze at the world with admiration and delight, while the machinery does all the necessary and unpleasant work.

This society will give us free time to face our real problems: the meaning of existence, the limits of knowledge, our relevance when all the tasks that made us human are performed more effectively by machines.

Such a situation seems to open an abyss, just as the invention of photography in 1824 seemed to make painting and plastic artists useless.

This, however, challenged them to capture everything that the camera could not do: at first, color, with Impressionism. Then, the representation of madness and dreams, with Dadaism and Surrealism. Finally, the portrait of Pure Ideas, with cubism, abstractionism and Op Art, and that of emotions, with Expressionism. All modern art is born from the response to a machine that threatened to make figuration superfluous.

The doctrine of late capitalism -official postmodernity- threatens to annul Philosophy, Reason, History, Progress, Politics, Commitment, Ethics, Aesthetics, calling them "meta stories" without substance, since the unique value of things would be their market price.

But only outside the market are militancy, Logic, Physics, Mathematics, Aesthetics, Literature, Science, Love relevant.

Marx said that we live in prehistory, and that only after socialism frees us from alienated labor will we enter the Kingdom of Freedom and the true human history will begin.

We are not before the abyss, but before the Renaissance.

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