Interview with Hares Youssef
— Hares, what is the Digital Revolution, and can we say that it means the emergence of a new type of person, the Digital Man? We are, no doubt, talking primarily about changes in the modern person's way of thinking, and the impact that the Digital Revolution has had on their consciousness.
— I don't think we could even fit the answer to this question into a separate book, which we could call Digitalism. Digitalisation - what our civilisation is engaged in today - is not just a phenomenon but also a stage in this civilisation's evolution. The roots of digitalisation are found in the same source as idrak (إدراك). Idrak is a set of algorithms by which the natural brain - I mean, not only the human brain - functions in order to process the data we perceive using the five senses we are familiar with: sight, touch, smell, hearing and taste. Idrak is an Arabic word, to which consciousness comes closest in meaning. But people don't know how idrak functions; they assign its functions to themselves and think they reproduce what idrak reproduces. That is, the relationship between idrak and a person is such that the person, using the properties of idrak, assigns them to themselves. This is inherent in the properties of idrak.
— How does idrak relate to Artificial Intelligence?
— Idrak and its properties, its specificity, its algorithms are the primary sources of digitalism. The mission of all AI algorithms will be combined with idrak algorithms. And the mission of AI in the future will serve to benefit a person who must, with its help, intellectually grow to the level of his idrak. What we see today is informational chaos, an undeveloped digital world, the conflict between the old world and the new. All this is in the nature of things. It is typical of any acute transitional period, and there is nothing scary or dangerous about it. Ignorance, which fights against evolution and digitalisation, is scary and dangerous. As are those who use this as a tool to achieve their own selfish goals.
All conditions for the development of digitalisation are forcing us to create an environment that is suitable for this development. I call it digitalism. We must understand digitalism sufficiently to be able to interact with, use and benefit from digitalisation.
Our brain processes millions of bits of information every second. Our brain is a real digital factory, and everything that the brain reproduces in this area is compatible with its plans. But we are ignorant of these plans of the brain - and we cannot call the brain our possession.
— I'd be interested in hearing your opinion of the new type of person that has appeared in the era of the Digital Revolution.
— Some time ago, I was standing at the Paris Charles de Gaulle airport, looking at a huge display board, on which numbers and letters changed as flight information was updated. This process involved special clicks. There were tens of thousands of announcements on the screen, and each of these announcements consisted of numbers and letters that conveyed the flight data. It was interesting to watch this picture, in which kilowatts and kilobytes combined to create for us a new information screen - as a source of education for the new person.
The screen that in due course brought an entire generation almost to a state of hypnosis was the television. But there's no point talking now about the effect it had on human consciousness. We could say the same thing about smartphones. Today the new screen, the touchscreen, is already a kind of 'classroom blackboard' for the new generation. On this screen, information is updated very quickly, and, of course, a click becomes a choice. It's important to mention choice here. When making the decision to click, how can we influence events to ensure that our selection is always useful? It is digitalism's task to create useful content that will teach a person to make the right choice. But this cannot be done without including everyone in a conscious economic process. Digitalism will be able to include each user in a unified economic process and raise the level of economic awareness. Thus, the consumer will be transformed into a producer, and the culture of consumerism - into a culture of production, in all aspects of human life.
— Does it make sense to consider the Digital Revolution not only a Technological Revolution but, above all, a Spiritual Revolution?
— A prerequisite medium for getting the best out of digitalism is transparency, which means the integrity of the data we provide to AI about ourselves. Transparency is impossible without a new moral revolution, based on sincerity and capable of saving the human soul - on both a personal and a collective level.
Interviewed by Natella Speranskaya