Jack Dorsey, founder of Twitter, warns that social media drains people’s free will

Jack Dorsey is the digital age’s Robert Oppenheimer if social media are the equivalent to a weapon that can cause mass destruction.

The remorseful Twitter founder expressed his conflicted feelings at the 16th annual Oslo Freedom Forum, held on June 5. His creation was born from the noble ideals and open-source protocol before being corrupted by realities of having to survive in a highly competitive market.

He also issued a warning. The first manifestation of the danger is the social media and internet companies that have grown into billion-dollar behemoths through discovering and curating content on the unorganised, vast expanse of the Internet.

OpenAI is the next-generation of artificial general intelligence. What Facebook and Google did for the Web, OpenAI will do for the future.

AI tools are likely to know us better than ourselves, and will influence our subconscious thinking, whether by design or by default, even if they make their algorithms transparent.

“This may sound a bit crazy, I know, but the debate about free speech is a distraction at this time. “I think the real discussion should be about freedom of will,” he stated in Oslo, the Norwegian capital and home to the Nobel Peace Prize.

“We are being programed .” We are programmed on the basis of what we say we are interested in. And we’re told by these discovery mechanisms what’s interesting – and as you engage and interact with that content, the algorithm builds more of this bias.”

Dorsey received moral support from Elon Musk, the serial entrepreneur, who bought his creation in November 2022 for US$44bil. (RM206.60bil). He then rebranded it and reshaped it to his own image.

Tesla CEO Jack Musk posted “Yeah Jack is right” on Wednesday.

Dorsey says that revealing the code underneath, like Musk did with X, won’t either help to build trust and create transparency.

In his opinion, even if the algorithm is open source, it still remains a black-box.

Twitter’s co-founder said that it is impossible to predict exactly how Twitter will work and what you’ll see, and it could change at any moment.

Dorsey warns that “because people are so dependent on this, it is actually changing and affecting the agency we currently have.”

It is dangerous to continue to depend on this. We can fight it all we want but it knows better than we do.

Restore Agency through a Marketplace of Algorithms

Dorsey believes that the only way to solve this problem is to create an algorithm marketplace where users can choose which black boxes are the most reliable, and then seamlessly switch between them at any time, depending on their requirements. They could even design their own.

The need for a solution becomes more urgent as we progress, because a neural net like OpenAI’s GPT-4 at its most fundamental level is an algorithm that harnesses data scraped off the Internet with hundreds of millions of parameters.

Open-sourcing research models and constant publication of AI science has been a way to mitigate the risk in the past.

These days are over. OpenAI released ChatGPT in November 2022, which sparked a race between a few corporations to commercialise this technology.

Dorsey stated that five companies were building tools on which we would all be completely dependent. “And they are so complex, we don’t know how to verify their correctness. We have no clue how to verify what they do.”

Dorsey did not name the companies, but it is likely that he meant OpenAI, Microsoft’s partner, DeepMind and Meta from Google, as well as Amazon-backed Anthropic.

He could have included xAI as he warned about becoming dependent on one CEO such as Sam Altman – but ironically, Elon Musk as well.

It is unclear whether the owner of X or xAI intended to endorse this as well. – Fortune.com/The New York Times

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