We are regularly warned about the future perils of Artificial Intelligence (AI). This is in fact the subplot to the recent drama surrounding OpenAI and its former CEO Sam Altman. It’s unclear how society plans to respond to these warnings. But one thing is for certain: we must take them seriously.

Our next major black swan event could very well be something related to AI. A black swan event is typically described as an unexpected large-sized event that comes with major consequences. The 2008 subprime mortgage collapse, the 9/11 attacks, and COVID-19 are all examples.

When you’re in the middle of them, you feel like there could be no end to how bad things can get. Society always bounces back though, aside from those who tragically lose it all. But there are always worries that the next one will be worse—bigger, deadlier, longer, or even one that substantially alters humanity or ends us as a species entirely.

Most definitions of a black swan event refer to how they’re unanticipated but in hindsight are seen as predictable. What this in turn means is that we should never laugh off serious concerns about potentially harmful events, no matter how far-fetched they seem.

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Iron Will

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