What is ‘AI Anxiety’? My Interview in French Newspaper Libération (June 20, 2023)

In an article titled Après l’éco-anxiété, l’«IA-anxiété» ? (After Eco-Anxiety, ‘AI Anxiety’?), featured in a special issue dedicated entirely to AI, I was interviewed by the French newspaper Libération. The piece delves into the phenomenon of AI-induced anxiety, dissecting the roots, driving forces, and potential implications of this evolving societal concern.

In my interview I highlight the interconnectedness of fear-driven marketing and commercial interests, debunking the notion that panic surrounding AI is spontaneous. Instead, I maintain that the producers themselves often propagate these alarming narratives to cultivate the idea of a technology that operates beyond human control, with an almost magical aura. I identify three waves spanning from the late 1980s: the initial phase of AI’s ascent, characterized by the rise of “expert systems” capable of answering questions; the debates about the end of work that began to take shape in the mid-1990s, featuring figures like Jeremy Rifkin and sociologists such as Dominique Méda; the 2013 Oxford study on task automation, that rekindled the controversy, predicting that 47% of American jobs would be replaced by 2030. However, I challenge this “reductionist” approach, and I emphasize that jobs encompass complexities beyond mere task execution. Real-world dynamics—legal frameworks, social tensions, and political nuances—are often disregarded in such predictions.

In a repetitive pattern, the year 2023 introduces a study by researchers including OpenAI members, suggesting that 80% of American employees could see 10% of their tasks taken over by ChatGPT. I try to temper this notion, emphasizing that OpenAI’s intent isn’t to dismantle the workforce or humanity but rather to outperform competitors and tech giants.

To read the full article (in French), visit [Libération].