The AI (Oppenheimer) Moment

Volume 11, Issue 28


Nuclear Explosion


Artificial Intelligence (AI)

On August 13, 1942, the United States began the Manhattan Project with the support of the United Kingdom and Canada. Its purpose was to develop the world’s first nuclear weapon. The first atomic bomb was successfully detonated July 16, 1945. American physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer headed up the team of scientists.

The project was initiated at the behest of Albert Einstein who had learned in 1939 that his German scientific counterparts had achieved the splitting of a uranium atom. The Germans were on the precipice of developing a horrific weapon that could change the course of World War II. It was critical that the Allied forces develop “the bomb” before the Nazis. 

Major General Leslie Groves was assigned military oversight of the Project. Not only was it necessary to develop “the bomb,” but it was also equally important to strictly administer sovereign responsibility for the governance of its unimaginable force.

On the 78th anniversary of the Manhattan Project, the movie Oppenheimer is being released. The director, Christopher Nolan, was intent on not only portraying the accuracy of the events, but the emotions involved in realizing the potential of the Project. In the movie, Oppenheimer is played by Cillian Murphy and General Groves is played by Matt Damon. In one important exchange of dialogue, the composite fears of those involved were exposed with raw, fibrous emotion:

Leslie Groves : Are you saying that there’s a chance that when we push that button… we destroy the world? 
J. Robert Oppenheimer : The chances are near zero… 
Leslie Groves : Near zero? 
J. Robert Oppenheimer : What do you want from theory alone? 
Leslie Groves : Zero would be nice! 
Contemplation of the impact of this new technology unleashed on society was known as the “Oppenheimer moment.” 
The world now finds itself at a similar moment with the advent of artificial intelligence (AI). 
AI has the ability to change how society functions pursuant to core elements of foundational structure. The immediate fears are transitional impacts to the workforce. Many clerical and research jobs are now at risk. A key component driving the Writers Guild and Screen Actors Guild strike is the use of AI to replace writers and the ability for AI to create images of actors without compensation or residuals. This recognition of the threat of AI is literally the tip of the iceberg. 
But why are we at the point of an “Oppenheimer moment” now? Because, left unchecked and improperly regulated, it can destroy the world as we know it. How? By distorting, manipulating, and obfuscating truth.
We live in a society today where citizens have lost trust and confidence in governing institutions. They question the truth of facts presented. Conspiracy theories abound. Thirty-four percent of the American electorate still believe that the presidential elections of 2020 were fraudulent. To many, Joe Biden is an illegitimate President. Many believe that the Deep State has weaponized the Department of Justice to destroy political candidates. 
Former President Trump was recently issued a target letter by Special Counsel Jack Smith indicating that new federal indictments are likely in reference to the January 6, 2021, insurrection. At the same time, progressives feel threatened by corporate control of banking and finances. They fear that climate change will never be taken seriously until certain efforts for amelioration of carbon emissions are nationalized.
Determining the state of society, the immediacy of crisis, and the equitable resolution of policy issues in conflict, all depends upon who defines truth.
AI operates on the instruction of the question asked or the resulting outcome desired. An innocent example is a recent contract case litigated in New York district court. Both plaintiff and defendant attorneys were competent counsel of established law firms. The defendant firm filed a brief seeking dismissal of the action based upon case precedent cited exonerating their client. Plaintiff’s lawyers, first perplexed that they had not found the cited cases in their research, discovered that the cases did not exist. Embarrassed, defendant counsel realized that AI had made up the citations.
It is not that AI was disobedient by thinking for itself. The question put to AI must be exactly aligned with the parameters of the product defined. Apparently, AI drafted this as the best answer to defend against the plaintiff’s brief. In the future, the law firm will be more careful to add the instructions to use only case law litigated and found of record in proper journal reports. 
Given the mistrust of citizens today, consideration of facts, leading to any theories, are reliable in rendering truth only in direct ratio to the ethical intentions of those promulgating universal government policy. AI makes it incumbent upon all leaders to strictly administer sovereign responsibility for the governance of its unimaginable force.
In 1945, the world realized the extirpative power of the atomic bomb with its destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. No one then or now wants to see a war fought using nuclear weapons. Following the Manhattan Project, “the bomb” was sequestered to only the Allied forces. Nuclear weapons have to some extent proliferated, but by some measure, are still controlled. Iran wants “the bomb” but, to date, has been unable to obtain it. 
To the contrary of limited access to the atomic bomb in 1945, AI is available worldwide without restriction to sovereign, corporate, or individual use.
In this new age of technological advance, as sovereigns and individuals navigate the meaning and impact of the AI (Oppenheimer) momenthow does one prepare and defend oneself? One must determine emphatically what truth means. There are only two choices for the foundation of the ultimate answer. Either God created the universe and every individual for a specific purpose, or mankind is the accidental consequence of unemotional forces of a lifeless, inorganic, dark universe. These two antithetical philosophical options are the bookends of the determining premise. 
If life is accidental and meaningless, then transcendent moral truth doesn’t exist. Only temporal truth is morally guiding. Yes, there are facts of nature. One can argue that society has evolved into the status of inclusiveness, social equality, and gender neutrality as dictated by government. Yet, this definition is not tethered to any eternal meaning of a universe which spawned life by accident. In this scenario, the answer to Oppenheimer’s question: “what do you want from theory alone?”  will not be that the destruction of the world will be near zero. AI can orchestrate truth to any destination of perceived morality. 
For life to have eternal meaning, then transcendent morality can only be justified by an all-loving, omnipresent Creator who created mankind in His own image connecting creation to Himself in eternity. Truth then is defined by transcendent principles codified in God’s laws through ordained righteousness.
The one blessing endowed by the Creator to all individuals is the self-controlled power of free will. We each get to decide for ourselves the meaning of truth. No government or outside entity can coerce a personal decision of free will. Individual choices are protected in the spiritual realm. AI may test society’s social strength to avoid alternative unrealities of truth. 
Maintaining one’s own reality in truth will depend upon answering the one fundamental question in reference to the antithetical options as to the meaning of the universe.
In these times, now more than ever, one must purposely exercise one’s free will to make a choice lest….
AI makes the choice for them.
My name is Marc Nuttle and this is what I believe.

What do you believe?