Of the several themes that came to the forefront at the session of Parliament held last week on Humane Digitalization, perhaps the most consistently voiced message was that digitalization is not negative or positive in itself, but it is up to the human beings who program it and those who use it who decide its impact. Therefore education around humane digitalization is crucial for the general population, decisions makers and tech companies. This was the 12th annual session of Parliament.
Several positive aspects of digitalization were raised and its various contributions in each sector were noted by guest speakers and GEP Ministers in each different sector.
However, the main points of discussion were about the specific drawbacks and future risks that digitalization poses.
Undoubtedly, the rise of Artificial Intelligence was one of the biggest topic of discussion. AI is still young and already it spreads across the spectrum of sectors, but there are few regulations on it. Members noted that fear of AI is not the correct response, and humanity must learn to use new tools in a rational and human-centered way. Yet many concerns about AI were expressed, for example its potential to replace human effort, thought and social interactions. "What will happen if everything is to be done by machines? What will be left for human beings to do, and what will it mean to live as a human being?" asked Prof. Achutsankar R. Nair, a Professor of Bioinformatics. There were several calls for ethics and responsibility in the design and deployment of AI and the preservation of human dignity and freedom. The Bill for Humane Digitalization which was passed on the second day goes into detail about the regulation of AI.
GEP Founder His Holiness Jagadguru Swami Isa shared many insights into the vast differences between the human being and digital machines, seemingly in response to the growing fear in society that humans are easily replaceable by machines and/or no more than biological machines. He went into great detail about the complex makeup of the human being, from the gross (physical), subtle and causal levels of matter, to the three states of waking (deep sleep, dreaming and wakefulness), to the various historical means that humans have employed other beings and equipment to make their lives easier.
Another area of concern was the vast potential of digitalization to energetically disrupt both living and manmade systems, by converting natural processes and systems into artificial ones. "Without awareness of the energy balance inherent in any natural system, new technologies and processes are being deployed that have the potential for planetary-scale disruptions like we see with climate change," said Dr. Christophe Dumas, Minister for Science and Technology. "It is essential to use science and technology based on the fundamental knowledge of energy balance and the I-particle," he said, referring to the fundamental particle that has been introduced in Swami Isa's unified theory. The Ministers for Natural Resources and Environment echoed his concerns. Members called for greater global education about energy.
The present laws on digital surveillance and privacy were discussed. Members agreed that more robust legal protections and education for users need to be implemented worldwide, and that the GEP should have a role in designing such policies and programs.
Digital currency came up at several points through the two days, concluding with Swami Isa giving a stark warning about the use of digitalized currencies in any form (either cryptocurrecy or nationalized digital currency). He noted that since digital currency is a form of wealth that is not based on a physical reality like gold, the further the abstraction into "shadows," the more easily it can be manipulated or undermined and the entire global economic system is at risk. "Real wealth is physical, not virtual," he said.
All in all, many thought-provoking recommendations were made for framing a human-centered digitalization. Swami Isa's reminders about the vast potentials, gifts, complexity and excellence of the human being gave inspiration for a new vision of digitalization in service to the higher nature of humankind and the living world. Undoubtedly, without clear knowledge of the energy that makes up the human being, the digital world, and the systems they live in, the way forward is bleak. Now is the time, says GEP, to make a clear and proactive path forward that ensures energy balance, happiness and harmony for all.
The Bill for Humane Digitalization was passed on the second day.
Videos of full talks are available on YouTube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1VKKwZ3ycM&list=PLuUBsXn59BPPtPq8IOfmtKDKZx2JuWf64
GEP 2022 Session Summary and Photos: https://www.global-energy-parliament.net/gep2022