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What if AI treats humans the way we treat animals?

Vox – “The dehumanizing philosophy of AI is built on a hatred of our animal nature. AI threatens the quality that many of us believe has made humans unique on this planet: intelligence. So, as author Meghan O’Gieblyn wrote in her book God, Human, Animal, Machine, “We quell our anxiety by insisting that what distinguishes true consciousness is emotions, perception, the ability to experience and feel: the qualities, in other words, that we share with animals.” We tell ourselves, in other words, that even if AI may one day be smarter than us, unlike the machines, we have subjective experience, which makes us morally special. The obvious problem with this, though, is that humans aren’t special in this way. Non-human animals share many of our capacities for intelligence and perception, yet we’ve refused to extend the generosity we might expect from AI. We rationalize unmitigated cruelty toward animals — caging, commodifying, mutilating, and killing them to suit our whims — on the basis of our purportedly superior intellect. “If there were gods, they would surely be laughing their heads off at the inconsistency of our logic,” O’Gieblyn continues. “We spent centuries denying consciousness in animals precisely because [we thought] they lacked reason or higher thought.”

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