More laws have not made society a more civilized one. However, it has made society more developed. And this is a key point. Society has confused and interchanged the meaning of development with being civilized. This is something that governments have not put attention to. Or, they do not have a solution. AI, a human flourishing one, could become part of the solution, but it would have to take into account the reality of the Law of Diminishing Returns-LDR. In a nutshell, the LDR legitimate the argument just presented. It states that Laws are needed, and when democracy started to grow, more laws where needed. However, when it hits the point of diminishing returns, more laws mean less democracy and less development, and as the graph shows, it enters a zone of negative returns, which is exemplified by the ‘State of Incivility’ we are today.
A significant challenge of Artificial Intelligence is that it will reach its singularity—its takeoff, its intelligence explosion— before we reach the singularity of evolving from developed to civilized nation states. AI takeoff, or singularity, poses many challenges to society. For example, HBR talks about the high ‘Price of Incivility’ that companies in US and Canada are paying in their workplace, since ‘over the past 14 years … 98% have reported experiencing uncivil behavior’, which is part of having a ‘boss from hell’, putting a toll to workers, companies and societies and a real cost to productivity ‘63% lost work time avoiding the offender’. Weber Shandwick and Powell Tate with KRC Research, also found that in the United States there is a ‘severe civility deficit in our country’, what the Huffpost called a Shame Nation, since in 2016, among the population ‘84% have personally experienced incivility’. Are we polite croods?
But what is incivility? Or what does it mean to be a civilized nation? For Weber/Powell/KRC “By civility, we mean polite and respectful conduct and expression”. Porath and Pearson (HBR) framed as ‘uncivil behavior’ and ‘everybody who experiences workplace incivility responds in a negative way’. Definitively, we as society are continually thriving to become a civilized group of people. Incivilization is considered as something negative. Can AI help us to achieve that desire? What must we do to make it a reality?
First, let’s see what society is doing. Besides education and putting a lot of emphasis on the main social institution for this, the family, society have this idea that the ‘Rule of Law’ will help maintain a true democracy, one that is developed and civilized . Its main and simple premise is that ‘no one should be above the law’ and that ‘the international community acknowledges the rule of law as a precursor to the successful promotion of development and democracy’.
We need laws to help harmonize the social transactions demanded in a developed society. So it seems that we need more laws since we are a uncivilized global society. If someone misbehaves, society creates laws to define the limits of that behavior. Simple, more laws and incivility will vanish. Correct? That is the Rule of Law. However, the reality is complex as was presented at the first paragraph of this post. Incivility is on the rise in the same way laws have been on the rise in almost all so-called democratic nation-states. For example, in the United States, David Hayes helps us see the incredible contrast, ‘when the laws of the United States were codified … in 1925, all of the titles combined occupied a single volume’. The UK Government has done research about why laws have become too complex. The Economist called ‘Over-regulated America’, and the Cato Institute argued that we have ‘too many laws’ and ‘too much regulation’.
The message that I want to send is that we need to redefine civilization. We must go further until we reach a true state of self-government and self-management. Stop issuing new Laws at the peak of Diminishing Returns can be achieved if this is paralleled with correct behavior and flourishing socialization, which will have an outcome of less control by the police, the law, judges, parents, teachers, and/or the military forces. Control has to be redefined as a healthy balance between harmonious laws and self-control. This is true inflection point that defines civilized nation-states.
Socialization’s main goal must be to convert state mandated control into self-control. Abell and Gecas wrote that the internalization of appropriate social and moral norms is considered the hallmark of successful socialization. It is a major means by which social order and control are maintained in a society, because it involves the individual’s voluntary compliance. As stated in the second post, can we create AI-humanoids that have flourishing structured software, so they can help reflexivity to emerge in purposeful human beings, hence voluntary compliance is an expected outcome? We are failing as a global society in good-faith voluntarily social behavior. We need to strength this part of global socialization. It seems that this ought to be part of any AI-project if we want to transcend development and enter a desired stage of civilizations. Fukujama’s ‘End of History’ is far from being achieved. Being a developed society is a materialistic goal. Being a civilized society is a flourishing one.
The good news is that this is already happening. You could critique any interaction between AI and emotions, or purposeful living, or caring machines., and, you have a point. But this path must start somewhere, so for example the Partnership on AI to Benefit People and Society, funded by Amazon, DeepMind/Google, Facebook, IBM, and Microsoft, has seven thematic pillars, all with a goal of ‘AI and the Social Good’. Another initiative is the Global Civic Debate on the Governance of AI, where through six themes the ‘vision for prioritizing human wellbeing in an era of AI and autonomous systems’ can be globally discussed. And a very important effort in these arenas of ‘socialization vacuum’, the LovingAI project lead by Julia Mossbridge and her team of experts, working with AI-Sophia by Hanson Robotics, are promising determinations where “AI agents can communicate unconditional love to humans through conversations”. Also, we would have to see how the Affectiva project develops, as it works towards humanizing ‘how people and technology interact’, researching about empathy and emotional intelligence using AI.
But starting something, as I have been stating in these posts is not enough. We ought to see actual and current social voids in global societies, understand their root causes, and then instill these findings in the software that will be embedded in artificial intelligence machines. By doing this, I argue, we could help humanity’s next step in 2050 where AI-humanoids will be part of the social thread.
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