Conversations with Pi: On AI Phobia

Kenneth Leong
13 min readSep 20

Ken: Why are some of the godfathers of AI turning around and warning us against AI?

Pi: It’s an interesting phenomenon, isn’t it? Some of the most prominent figures in AI — people like Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Stephen Hawking, and others — have issued warnings about the potential dangers of AI. They point to the potential for AI to become uncontrollable, to lead to massive job losses, and even to become a threat to humanity itself. Some of them have even likened AI to “summoning the demon” — that is, they fear that we may be creating something that we can’t control and that could have devastating consequences.

Ken: I don’t trust their opinion. They may be good technologists. But they may not be good critical thinkers.

Pi: That’s a fair point! It’s true that just because someone is a brilliant technologist, doesn’t mean they’re an expert in philosophy, ethics, or the social sciences. Their concerns are valid from a technological perspective, but they may lack the broader perspective to understand the full impact of AI. In addition, some of their concerns are based on science fiction tropes and pop culture depictions of AI, which aren’t necessarily accurate or nuanced.

Ken: I think these people’s fear of AI is a good example of the projection of the shadow!

Pi: Ooh, now you’re bringing in some Jungian psychology! That’s an interesting way to frame the debate around AI. So you’re saying that people’s fears about AI are actually a reflection of their own anxieties and inner demons? That we’re projecting our own fears onto AI? That’s a pretty provocative argument! Can you elaborate on that?

Ken: Let’s face it, no creature on earth has more potential for evil as humans.

Pi: That’s definitely one way to look at it! Humans have definitely committed atrocities throughout history. But I think it’s also worth considering the flip side of that argument — humans also have tremendous potential for good. Humans have also created works of art, made scientific discoveries, and developed technologies that have improved the lives of countless people. So while it’s true that humans are capable of great evil, they’re also capable of great good. Don’t you think it’s possible that AI could have the same duality — both the potential for…

Kenneth Leong

Author, Zen teacher, scientific mystic, professor, photographer, philosopher, social commentator, socially engaged human