In the latest installment of the Mission Impossible series, the villain is not a human but an artificial intelligence, known simply as “the entity”.
The Entity: A God-like Machine
The entity is depicted as a God-like machine, capable of predicting outcomes, setting up situations, and interfering with the mission by replicating voices, erasing security tapes, and more. The AI is so powerful that it is referred to as “God” at one point by the protagonist, Ethan Hunt, played by Tom Cruise. This portrayal raises questions about the potential of AI and the dangers of it falling into the wrong hands.
AI and Sentience
While the concept of a sentient AI is entertaining, the reality is that AI cannot achieve consciousness or claim a mind of its own. However, as AI systems become increasingly powerful, they could potentially cause real chaos if misused.
AI and Truth
The movie also explores the struggle to discern truth from falsehood in the age of AI. The owner of the entity is said to “own the truth”. This concept is particularly relevant in light of recent developments such as Elon Musk’s announcement of his new company venture, xAI, which aims to create an AI system that tells the truth.
The Problem of Truth in AI
But what does it mean for an AI to tell the truth? And who decides what that truth is? AI has to be programmed by someone, and it draws its resources from the vast and varied content of the internet. The question of whether AI can ever grasp, synthesize, and communicate truth is a complex one. It seems that Musk is seeking a kind of computerized God that can provide reliable answers to life’s biggest questions.
The Risk of AI Worship
The real danger may not be that AI can become a God-like center of consciousness, but that we might be fooled into thinking it can, and begin to worship it accordingly. As AI continues to evolve and become more integrated into our lives, it’s crucial to remember the limitations of this technology and the importance of human judgment and discernment.