“Pausing” AI and the Barbra Streisand Effect

Written By Luke Sweeney

Updated May 15, 2024

Nothing makes people want to talk about something more than being told not to talk about it. 

Legendary vocalist Barbra Streisand earned her place in infamy for this exact reason after trying and failing to suppress photos of her Malibu mansion. 

streisand estate

Before she raised a stink, her utterly unremarkable residence had only been viewed six times. Had she simply laughed it off, the image would have been forgotten overnight. 

After her uproar, it was downloaded more than 420,000 times in a month. 

It’s an example of what experts call psychological resistance: Any information that people think is being hidden from them is instantly perceived as more valuable. 

Because of this, the recent motion by Big Tech leaders to “pause” AI development will most likely accelerate the movement. 

After all, why else would these billionaires be so afraid of it? 

But unlike with Casa Streisand, AI is actually worth paying attention to. And despite the best efforts of Elon Musk and his cohorts, the industry is moving ahead at full steam. 

Their plan seems altruistic at first. The idea is for governments to either set rules around AI or simply place a moratorium on its use until a decision is made. 

I would love to hear an explanation on how that would work. 

An image of black-market AI and underground data centers instantly comes to mind — in fact, here’s what an AI program spit out when asked for an “AI black market”:

black market AI

If you ask me, it’s not a coincidence that Elon Musk is behind the nonprofit company that called for the pause. 

He’s been very publicly kicking himself for abandoning OpenAI right before it became one of the most important companies in human history:

elon AI tweet

Now he's suddenly prioritizing humanity's welfare over his own profits. Call me a cynic, but I’d say the Streisand effect is in danger of being renamed the Musk effect. 

Ulterior Motives Aside, Musk Is 100% Right

Although he arrived at the correct answer accidentally, Musk is dead on. AI is as potentially dangerous as it is awe-inspiring. 

I’m not talking about danger in terms of Skynet from Terminator or other worst-case scenarios. It’s unlikely that these programs will ever have the capability of turning on their human masters.  

But AI is dangerous in that it could completely change what it means to be human. 

We’ve always been the smartest beings on the planet — I think it’s even given us a bit of an ego. But we’re approaching the very real possibility of becoming second best. 

Once AI is better at all the things we consider “human,” the lines will blur. Work as we know it could become obsolete. 

It could easily become a utopia, with everyone living peacefully as robots do all the work or an elite class could control AI and usher in a new era of class disparity.

That’s as deep as I care to delve into the dark philosophy of AI. If you're interested in that side of things, I can recommend a few good sci-fi books. 

But my point is that AI’s future is unwritten. As the tech matures, you will probably hear wildly different predictions — some good, some bad. 

Don’t count ANY of them out. AI could just as easily save the world as it could destroy it. 

But regardless of the outcome, AI is coming soon, and from an investment standpoint, that gives us a few important clues to follow. 

For now, we don’t recommend putting your money into the “walled garden” of AI. Google, Microsoft, and other massive companies already own too much of the board. 

Instead, try some of the enablers that AI simply cannot function without. 

These tiny companies can often see massive gains during major paradigm shifts like these. All it takes is one major deal from a Big Tech powerhouse to set them off. 

The company we have in mind is on the short list for a deal with some of the biggest names in AI. 

You’re still not too late if you invest today but I’m not so sure about tomorrow…

To your wealth,

Luke Sweeney
Contributor, Energy and Capital

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Luke’s technical know-how combined with an insatiable scientific curiosity has helped uncover some of our most promising leads in the tech sector. He has a knack for breaking down complicated scientific concepts into an easy-to-digest format, while still keeping a sharp focus on the core information. His role at Angel is simple: transform piles of obscure data into profitable investment leads. When following our recommendations, rest assured that a truly exhaustive amount of research goes on behind the scenes..

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