Tunisian President Kais Saied recently found himself in the midst of controversy after he accused artificial intelligence of conspiring against humans, delivering a strong warning about the potential threat it poses to human existence.
The president’s remarks came during his supervision of the celebration of Knowledge Day, and they sparked widespread debate and ridicule.
Saied stated that, in its essence, AI is an assassination of human thought and a danger that looms over all of humanity. He drew parallels between AI and autonomous weapons and drones, which are commanded and controlled by a single entity. This comparison raised eyebrows and triggered a range of reactions from different quarters.
One of the critics of President Saied’s comments was Abdel Wahab Hani, the head of the Al-Majd Party. Hani argued that AI is not an imminent danger or an absolute evil, nor is it a threat to the human mind, as the president proclaimed. Instead, Hani viewed AI as a tool that is at the disposal of human intelligence. He highlighted its potential for good, emphasizing that it can contribute to human happiness, progress, and the overall well-being of humanity. However, he acknowledged that AI can also be harnessed for evil purposes that may lead to the destruction of humanity.
Hani expressed his disappointment with the president’s characterization of AI as an adversary, emphasizing that such a perspective is unwarranted and inappropriate. He particularly highlighted the occasion of Knowledge Day, which celebrates the pursuit of knowledge and the education system. Hani pointed out that many individuals within the educational framework, such as students, researchers, and professors, regularly interact with AI in their academic pursuits, jobs, and future endeavors. He argued that these individuals have the potential to shape and contribute to the development of AI for the betterment and service of humanity.
The debate around President Saied’s comments shines a light on the ongoing discussion surrounding the role and impact of AI in our lives. While some share his concerns about the potential consequences of AI, others argue that it can be leveraged for positive outcomes. The crux of the matter appears to be how we choose to utilize and regulate AI technology.
Several activists responded to the president’s statement in a sarcastic manner, proposing that President Saied include artificial intelligence in the list of individuals involved in conspiring against state security.