QUESTION: Mr. Armstrong, I attended your 2011 conference in Philadelphia. A friend of mine insisted and paid for the ticket, telling me your computer has been incredible on forecasting long-term that nobody can come close. I confess I thought your forecasts at the event were out there. You put up the war cycle and said it would all begin in 2014. That was three years in advance. There were cameramen there filming what later became the film The Forecaster. I hear they are doing a sequel to show all the forecasts you made ten years ago have come true. I also hear they are doing a Holywood film on you, like the Big Short.
You have accomplished what nobody else has done, and you are even a legend in markets and were even a speaker at the American Hackers convention in computers. With all the craziness going on about Artificial Intelligence, some people call it a threat to humanity, and others seem to be hinting that AI might take over everything. So there is no better person to speak about this than you. Are we at risk from AI, or is the hype some excuse claiming AI starts the war, not the people, as a cover-up?
ANSWER: ChatGPT has dazzled the world and led everybody to think that AI will be something like the movie Terminator or The Matrix. I will dig out the old program I wrote in the early 1980s for my children. It was a simple program where I taught the computer to have a conversation. It would ask a question like – Do you have a dog? My daughter would reply yes. Oh, what is their name? She would then say the name. It stored all that info so the next time she went to the computer; it would ask: How is your dog Buttons? One day she came home from school and saw I had the computer apart, and she started crying, saying I killed it.
Back then, I worked with Dragon Systems. They produced hardware that you plugged in a board in the slot of an old IBM XT, and the computer would speak. She would bring over her girlfriends to prove to them her computer talked to her.
The point is that such a program is not really AI in the sense that it is self-aware to the point it will take over the world. With the introduction of the internet, such a program that has free reign to search can provide astonishing answers. Nevertheless, this is by no means self-aware.
The theory behind these wild claims entirely rests upon this idea that there is no God, we have no soul, and our entire existence is no more than a biological supercomputer. Therefore, they presume that if you put in enough data, some miracle will emerge, and it will become conscious just as a living being. That may make a great movie, but I think I am pretty well advanced in AI, and aside from disagreeing with this theory, I can write code that will make you think it is alive, but that is just mimicking human interaction. I do not know of any possible way to create a fully conscious AI system. It is only theory.
As far as Socrates is concerned, I poured myself into the program. It is NOT a neural net that you hope for the best. I taught Socrates how to analyze and know history, so I did not hardwire relationships. That is why it has discovered things and can do long-term forecasting beyond anything out there. As I have said, we are all connected. You cannot forecast a single market in isolation – you will always be wrong caught by the wildcard from an external market. They lost in Russia in 1998 and needed cash in the middle of a liquidity crisis. So they started selling assets everywhere to raise money to cover their losses in Russia. You would never have seen that coming just by looking at a single market.