All the literature that you and we read agrees on one thing: a new way of living together must be found. It is hard not to agree with this statement. We must overcome the current phase of cultural conflict and seek a new coexistence where the “I” gives way to the “we”, where individual well-being cannot be conceived without common well-being. These statements are irresistible. And yet, like any matter that appears unquestionable, these claims are riddled with problematic elements. Who fits in that “we” so attractive? How do we go from “me” to “we”, from the individual to the community? Does that “us” fit the people we don’t like? What percentage of the population does that “us” that we dream of comprise? Can there be a “we” without a “the others”? Who has to imagine this new world? What do we do with anger (with that of “the others” and with our own)? What room is left for conflict? And for the discrepancy? What do we do with what bothers us? Do mosquitoes fit into that “we”? And the viruses? The plankton? The poisonous plants? The artificial plants? And artificial intelligences? artificial intelligences. Since the 1950s, when studies on artificial intelligence as we understand it today began, fictions have portrayed artificial intelligences as a threat. Possibly a threat similar to that which the machines posed to the Luddites; that of the robots in Asimov’s novels; or on another level of things, the faceless faces of immigrants in our societies. As in any mythology, the creator’s fear of being overtaken and annihilated by his creation has led to the dilemma of coexistence between humans and artificial intelligences. Fear of the other, of the unknown. For the first time, humanity finds itself facing an agency that is perceived as more capable, as superior. And that agency joins the rest of the agencies that are already in play to define the “we”. What should be the rights of a cow, a human, an AI or the sun? Does our choreography of the future intertwine or tie hands? Who is to imagine the new myths? And our future? What if we invite artificial intelligences to imagine a “we”? If we invite them to imagine a place for that “us”? What if we ask you to help us imagine An Island?
* Image generated by artificial intelligence DALL·E mini based on a description of a possible scenic space