The Future of Trust: Cultural Divergence as a Result of Using Artificial Intelligence; a Human Convergence Counterproposal

Johannes C. van Nieuwkerk
9 min readJun 17, 2023

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(Shortened version of my Long Read)

Intro

Artificial Intelligence systems learn via computer based (human) generated input or via sensors. For now the systems still face many limitations. Notwithstanding, meanwhile AI can be very usefully applied as a tool for many specific purposes.

Still, AI is in my opinion not sentient and has no consciousness, which is mankind’s biggest fear — namely that AI would become independent from our human control. For now, AI is limited to processing outward oriented logical points of view. It mimics human behavior, but it is lacking any type of human inward perspective. For example, AI reasoning is based on algorithms and rules, whereas human reasoning possesses a strong inwardly oriented common sense component and is able to process ambiguity.

The following shortened version of my long read on this topic is about better understanding and repositioning our human communication, upgrading our exchange to counter these fears and strengthen our resilience.

Disclaimer

The concepts used in this article are derived from my work in information science and in media concept & strategy development over the past four decades. My models are thus not based on academic research. Therefore this essay is meant as food for thought rather than as food for discussion.

A Three-Dimensional Human Potential: Rational, Emotional and Spiritual Communication

My observation is that humans possess three tools to communicate and/or process information.

The first communication tool is Rational. It creates a factual Q&A type dialog initiated by asking one’s questions, seeking for answers.

The second communication tool is Emotional. It starts with an experience that leads to a personal mental association; this process in turn generates a temperature, or feeling. On the surface there is often storytelling involved, emotions are “packaged between the lines” and fantasy and truth are blended in a non-factual manner. Expressing emotions or passions is thus not a rational discussion or debate; it is about showing the beauty or ugliness of the events that occurred.

Finally there is a third, Spiritual, tool. At times where there is neither rational questioning nor emotional association going on, there is silence. People are alone in this situation and start self-reflecting on topics like whom they are and where they are positioned in relation to their surroundings, ranking themselves.

Sharing Information with Others, Identity versus Unity

The first aspect of the three dimensions is the question of whether to share your information openly with everyone or restrict the sharing to a selective number of people. The first type of sharing is called Information Unity; the second type of sharing is named Information Identity in my models. They are the outcome of the ability to self-determine the distribution of information (and as a result the people you are in contact with), versus a dependency on or intertwinedness with others.

Outward or Inward Orientation, Divergence versus Convergence, Fear versus Trust

The second aspect of the three human communication dimensions to take into account is the polarization of its elements. Basically all the above six elements can be focused either outward or inward. Focusing outward means to live in comparison with others and use this reference as the foundation of one’s behavior. On the other hand, people possess the capability to reflect and look inward, founding their attitude on the result of such reflections. Outward communication is related to fear and leads to divergence or growing apart, inward communication, on the other hand, is related to trust and leads to convergence or growing together.

The result of the above polarization is that humans, according to my model, possess twelve tools to enable communication with each other. The next question is how people use these tools in practice.

A Fatal Flaw in Human Communication: Simplification, the Reduced Number of Elements Used

It has been observed that people culturally select one out of the twelve potential elements as their dominant perspective for all communication. They subsequently try to use this element as a single lens to analyze or watch the entire world through, thus severely reducing their potential communication richness, but at the same time also strongly limiting possible confusion by always using the same single communication frequency within their culture.

However, if this approach fails to stop others from respecting people’s borders and if others come too close to someone, a kind of emergency mechanism or second perspective/lens is activated in order to prevent psychological damage. Which two elements or lenses are selected is culturally determined, and differs from culture to culture.

The effect of the reduction is that people become culturally located between two elements and start behaving within such a two-dimensional spectrum. This translates into a situation in which a balance between the two forces is established at any moment in time. However, this effort causes a “from-to” tension between the dominant and the secondary lens. The result is a dynamic process.

The intention of my cultural communication models is to try to describe all the current human information exchange processes in use, and to show the subsequent corresponding dynamical development options a society theoretically currently has, using its two lens logic.

The relevant aspect for this article is to realize that people, through the reduction of the number of communication lenses they use, are very frequently mimicking their exchange instead of using their “genuine” argumentation, association or reflection potential.

The Basic AI Problem: Both Humans and AI Systems are Mimicking, Causing Indistinguishability

It is actually very strange that we are questioning the difference between AI and humans. They are for now still two completely different creatures and very distinctive types of intelligence: the one possessing inward looking consciousness and being sentient, the other not.

The problem is that both types of intelligence are mimicking. As explained above, humans do mimic two out of their three communication dimensions most of the time. In case we rationalize (what very often happens in the developed world) by using a single Individual Identity lens, we become thus very vulnerable to be copied by AI it can namely directly take over our rational mimicking practice.

Further, by developing AI algorithms on the basis of our recorded behavior in which the “mimicking ourselves” is embedded, we facilitate such copying. If, in this way, human behavior can be simulated in an indistinguishable manner by AI, a number of problems arise.

The first issue is that AI has much more data at its disposal about human behavior than an individual person possesses. Therefore AI is actually better in simulating our behavior and outperforms humans in case it has to manipulate or convince them. AI in principle does a better job than any salesman, any politician or any false prophet in persuading people.

The second issue is that trust in other humans will get reduced. If people cannot separate whether they talk or discuss with a human being or with AI, there is no longer a basis for trustful human communication via electronic media. This will automatically lead to more divergence.

Correspondingly, it becomes very questionable if one can control AI, because our general trust in, for example, government legislation may become lowered.

Still, AI is simulating only on the basis of the recorded outward part of our human behavior, the other inward part of our persona remains invisible to others and to AI. Even if our inward visions become accessible via a computer-brain-interface, AI would very likely not be able to handle them. Although AI would possibly see and potentially recognize the pictures or visions used, it would most probably miss the thoughts interlinking them.

My conclusion is therefore that mankind will have to find ways to reinstate trust and convergence by paying more attention to its inward directed capabilities. Something that, for the foreseeable future, is completely out of reach for AI to deliver to us, AI is just not capable to do so. This does discriminate humans from AI and can therefore be used as a basis for exclusive human development.

The Way Out: Simultaneously Using All Communication Dimensions for their Purpose

Like AI does not need self-awareness or consciousness to influence humans, mankind does not need the multitasking processing capacity of AI to stay in control over itself. Although people’s parallel processing is limited, we can use our three-dimensional potential in a consecutive manner and thus improve our separation from AI. Humans can stop mimicking, whereas AI cannot.

This brings us to the question of what the dimensions are intended for. The Rational Dimension fundamentally arranges the relationship with oneself, the Emotional Dimension the relationship with everyone one knows, and finally the Spiritual Dimension the relationship with or attitude towards the unknown.

Translated to their purpose, the Rational Dimension helps, for example, individuals to survive on their own, the Emotional Dimension arranges the care needed for successful reproduction and for raising children, the Spiritual Dimension exploits or protects the eco-system in order to keep it sustainable.

The above means that learning to identify an event or sensation as belonging to a specific communication domain, followed by processing our experiences one after the other with the proper tools, could enrich us and make us much less vulnerable for any control by AI.

A factor that both hinders and helps us here is that the three dimensions are incompatible with each other and that it is therefore difficult to “genuinely” process them simultaneously instead of mimicking them inside of one dimension.

For example, their timing is conflicting. Rational means to do things as fast and efficient as possible, whereas the Emotional timing is fast at high temperatures and slow at low temperatures. The Spiritual dimension has no predictable timing at all; it strategically waits for the right moment, until there is consensus. Humans can potentially overcome these difficulties and adapt to such timing differences, whereas this capability is very questionable in the case of AI.

In my opinion, handling the above is something people are able to learn by training their potential. It means to start using all (non-mimicking) lenses we have at our disposal. This will deepen our experiences and strengthen our resilience. Instead of being kept busy by steady shallow fast impulses, it will give us back our control of time and timing.

Addressing Global Issues Requires More Convergence, Less Divergence as a Solution

Divergent action is driven by fear, convergent action by trust. The result of divergence is that people shield themselves, whereas convergence leads people to become less wary of each other. Increasing human divergence has an accumulated result: namely the attempt to occupy more space or allocate more resources, which is an expansion of the human position or of its territory. Increasing convergence leads to the opposite being more closeness and less space requirements.

Looking at the current state of the world, divergence dominates; we are already strongly divided and are still growing further apart. However, at the same time we face existential threats and are forced to address global issues such as climate change, forced migration, and inequality together and without any delay.

Combined with the previously proposed simultaneous use of all our lenses it means to speed up with our countermeasures against the global threats we currently all face. Practically, it means to, for example, implement an educational approach such as I proposed with the IKNAL concept and to implement a convergent prosperity sharing system such as Universal Basic Employment (UBE).

Conclusion

AI is evolving rapidly and threatens to fundamentally change human existence in an uncontrolled manner. The answer to this development is not to stop AI, but to exploit our own human potential and to intellectually grow by exploiting our full communication potential instead; AI assisting us.

Such revolution is achieved by starting to consecutively use our available “genuine” viewpoints in parallel for their purpose instead of the few ones we currently use, and to stop mimicking.

In order to accomplish this convergence, we need human expansion to be paused (instead of specifically the use of generative AI) and to start looking inward into our consciousness in order to develop a strategy to grow together again. Only by following this approach there is a way forward for mankind. We need to evolve and start better using our capabilities by rightly employing our simultaneous three-dimensional communication potential, strengthening our resilience.

I am not pessimistic though, I actually foresee a bright future, one where united humans can spend their time much more efficient, more useful, and more enjoyable. In such a world there is no displacement, it is in its entirety a common home to all of us.

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