On the Value and Lack of Values of Artificial Intelligence (9 Pages) 13 January 2019

whether what is today erroneously taken to be “Enlightenment reason” has so truncated the meaning of reason that reason is left impotent in the face of the power of AI.

The irony here is that Kissinger’s reflections demonstrate what happens when a reductionist, socially constructed understanding of reason is allowed to dominate the discussion of “intelligence.” The result is that the meaning of reason is readily reduced to pragmatic, instrumental reason informed by “analytical” critique of merely empirical data to the exclusion of what makes humanity a “rational” being in the first place – because this reductionist version is the kind of reason that we have come to elevate above everything when it comes to serving our interests. In short, a misanthropic understanding of reason is mistakenly viewed as a threat to human reason.

What follows proposes that we question the assumptions beneath the prevalent, anti-Enlightenment rhetoric concerning rationality not to undermine the clearly productive benefits of AI but to retrieve a far broader and beneficial understanding of reason. This kind of “critique” (not merely analytical criticism) allows the identification of the limits to AI that, at least potentially, can illuminate a pathway through the