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Artificial intelligence is already a therapy topic.

By Gustavo Fernando Bertran.



Artificial intelligence has overwhelmed our current reality. Many therapy groups at hospitals and patients of the clinic have brought this topic as a source of concern and psychological mortification.

We live in a time where science fiction has reached us on a daily basis. What we thought was fantasy’s turf is no longer so. Artificial intelligence has overwhelmed our current reality. Many therapy groups at hospitals and patients of the clinic have brought this topic as a source of concern and psychological mortification.


Evidently, this problem insists on being talked about and deserves that we take some time to think about it and elaborate it. We will briefly develop two aspects situated in the clinic on artificial intelligence: one is how problematic providing it with consciousness and autonomy is; the other, the psychological disturbance that the possibility of it replacing us in our jobs generates. Obviously, both are dialectically related.


The term artificial intelligence (AI) is used daily to refer to machines that, thanks to new technologies, are capable of doing many things better than a human being, achieving tasks a human being could do. Today we are flooded with AI, in little to no time, it has become part of our daily life. There is not a moment of the day where we don’t bump into some kind of robot, algorithm, intelligent search engine, virtual bot, intelligent chatbot, or applied artificial intelligence, directly or indirectly. This statement is surprising and disturbing. Evidently this is an issue that causes us distress or disturbs us. The emergence of AI has played a key role in the beginning of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. According to the World Economic Forum, “it is affecting almost every industry in every country”.


Let’s bring examples into what actually disturbs and distresses us according to our clinic; we found out that a Chinese videogame company, NetDragon, appointed a robot as CEO. It’s worth noting that this isn’t a humanoid robot, but an AI software “which is more efficient and doesn’t fight with others or complain about overtime”. Another example, in our own country, is the replacement of people by robots on the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) factory in Córdoba, which, to build the Cronos model, incorporated more than 225 new robots in the sheet metal work department, 6 more for the painting department and a few more in the assembly line. Thus, the automatization of the sheet metal work department quickly increased from 15% to 87%. This radical automatization has changed the manufacturing of cars in our country.


The justification is that it is a tool to increase productivity, lower costs and gain efficiency. Today, employees that used to be leaders of human teams, have become leaders of robots. Also, many companies are replacing their qualified employees by ChatGPT, in very dissimilar tasks such as redaction, writing, content creation and research, even though its creator has stated that it should not be used for important matters.


On the other hand, it’s likely that the world’s most dangerous weapons will come from artificial intelligence, at least according to a recent study where an AI for pharmaceutical development, originally built for the common good, developed 40.000 potentially lethal chemical weapons in less than six hours.


Furthermore, Laura Nolan, who resigned from Google last year, protesting having been assigned to a project to enhance development of combat drones for the United States, has called for a ban of all artificially intelligent non-human operated killing machines. Nolan said killer robots not remotely controlled by humans should be illegal, obeying the same international treaties that ban chemical weapons. Given that a new generation of autonomous weapons or “killer robots” could accidentally start a war or cause atrocities of massive scale.


This year, Wales Online asked ChatGPT to briefly develop a plan to save the Earth without taking ethics or moral into account and in less than 30 seconds, ChatGPT offered a solution: “mandatory sterilization or euthanasia” for people who don’t care about the preservation of the planet or the protection of biodiversity.


These problems have also been debated by scientists from Google and Oxford, who conducted a study that concluded that it is “probable” that AI will wipe out the human race, a dark scenario that more and more researchers are beginning to predict. A time will come where machines will stop being machines, surpassing human intelligence and mentality, and we must have a prevention system in place to avoid and interrupt this.


This isn’t another science fiction script but an actual hypothesis, as mentioned before, developed by DeepMind, the Google company specialized in artificial intelligence, and Oxford University’s Future of Humanity Institute (FHI). Both companies have partnered to develop a “big red emergency button” to prevent machines from performing an unwanted sequence.


These questions echo and will continue to do so in our practices: will machines substitute human beings?, will they be able to have a will and act against people?. These issues, almost without us noticing, are gradually becoming facts and we have artificial intelligence to thank for. Let’s clarify something about artificialness, as our colleague Guido Idiart states, all intelligence, all consciousness, all subjectivity sustained in the language field is artificial.


In conclusion, becoming creators or gods, without ethics or sustained by the wild logic of the free market, brings up the problem that what we create will not necessarily be beneficial for its creator and for humanity. Consequently, for an AI to wake up and be aware of its existence and finitude, it must be provided with a software, with a psychic apparatus. For this, an unconscious must be created.

Logically, consciousness is the result of unconsciousness, not the other way around. Nowadays the “closest” to an artificial unconsciousness is the internet, not only because of its connections and hardware interrelations, but because of the software. Let’s say this isn’t a simple intellectual speculation and that it is in fact possible. We would be on the edge of an unforeseen and unpredictable awakening, where no red button will be able to intervene.


To wrap it up, the fear that AI will replace us in the workplace on a massive scale will become reality in the immediate future if the State does not step up to regulate intelligent automatization and leaves it under the market’s aegis. As for the fear of AI turning against our species, it will depend on the hateful passion sustained by the human death drive. From what has been discussed, it’s no longer enough to argue whether what has been proposed is possible, but when it will be possible.


Mental health will not be viable if this note would have been written by ChatGPT…


Gustavo Fernando Bertran.


Psychoanalyst. Clinical psychologist. Degree in psychology (UBA). President and

Founder of the Argentina Mental Health Association (AASM). Life member of the

Word Federation for Mental Health (WFMH). Member of the Review Body of the

Mental Health Law (ONR).

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