‘A Blessing Or A Curse’: Netanyahu Warns Humanity Of AI’s Dangers

"Whether our future will prove to be a blessing or a curse"
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking at the United Nations, warned that the AI revolution could have catastrophic consequences if the world is not careful.

“Ladies and gentlemen, whether our future will prove to be a blessing or a curse will also depend on how we address perhaps the most consequential development of our time: the rise of artificial intelligence,” Netanyahu began.

“The AI revolution is progressing at lightning speed,” he acknowledged. “It took centuries for humanity to adapt to the agricultural revolution. It took decades to adapt to the industrial revolution. We may have but a few years to adapt to the AI revolution. The perils are great, and they are before us: The disruption of democracy, the manipulation of minds, the decimation of jobs, the proliferation of crime and the hacking of all the systems that facilitate modern life. Yet, even more disturbing is the potential eruption of AI-driven wars that could achieve an unimaginable scale. And behind this perhaps looms an even greater threat, once the stuff of science fiction — that self-taught machines could eventually control humans instead of the other way around.”

“The world’s leading nations, however competitive, must address these dangers,” he declared. “We must do so quickly and we must do so together. We must ensure that the promise of an AI utopia does not turn into an AI dystopia.”

He followed by speaking of the positive impact AI could have:

We have so much to gain; imagine the blessings of finally cracking the genetic code; extending human life by decades, and dramatically reducing the ravages of old age. Imagine health care tailored to each individual’s genetic composition and predictive medicine that prevents diseases long before they occur. Imagine robots helping to care for the elderly; imagine the end of traffic jams with self-driving vehicles on the ground, below the ground and in the air. Imagine personalized education that cultivates each person’s full potential throughout their lifetime. Imagine a world with boundless clean energy and natural resources for all nations. Imagine precision agriculture and automated factories that yield food and goods in abundance that ends hunger and want.

“I know this sounds like a John Lennon song but it could all happen,” he asserted. “Imagine that we could achieve something that eluded humanity for all history. It’s all within our reach. And here’s something else within our reach: with AI, we could explore the heavens as never before and extend humanity beyond our blue planet.

He segued to his own country: “For good or bad, the developments of AI will be spearheaded by a handful of nations and my country Israel is already among them. Just as Israel’s technological revolution provided the world with breathtaking innovations, I’m confident that AI developed by Israel will once again help all humanity. I call upon world leaders to come together to shape the great changes before us but to do so in a responsible and ethical way. Our goal must be to ensure that AI brings more freedom and not less, prevents wars instead of starting them and ensures that people live longer, healthier, more productive and peaceful lives. It’s within our reach.”

In November 2021, former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger stated, “We are moving into a new period of human consciousness which we don’t yet fully understand. … In the Enlightenment, there was a conceptual world based on faith. And so Galileo and the late pioneers of the Enlightenment had a prevailing philosophy against which they had to test their thinking. You can trace the evolution of that thinking. We live in a world which, in effect, has no philosophy; there is no dominant philosophical view. So the technologists can run wild. They can develop world-changing things, but there’s nobody there to say, ‘We’ve got to integrate this into something.’”

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