ChatGPT and artificial intelligence more generally are transformative technologies capable of liberating humanity from the necessity of burdensome toil. Recent discussions have neglected this possibility because they suffer from the sorts of cognitive distortions catalogued by Marx and the Marxist tradition. Technology fetishism, understood on the model of commodity fetishism, occurs when the use and development allowed by a certain mode of production appear as intrinsic features of the technology itself. Naturalistic mystification occurs when the socially contingent use and development of these technologies is made to appear natural and therefore inevitable. To those suffering from either distortion, it will appear that opposition to unfettered profit-seeking, along with the exploitation of workers and despoilation of nature that follows in its train, requires opposition to AI across the board. But there is nothing in the nature of AI that makes it better suited to the production of private profits than social goods. To think otherwise is to confuse the (natural) forces of production with the (social) relations of production, and distinguishing nature from convention is, as G. A. Cohen rightly observes, the foundation of all social criticism. I therefore suggest that criticisms of ChatGPT and AI should be focused on their real target: the capitalist mode of production that limits their use and development to socially malign ends.
"On ChatGPT and the Forces and Relations of Production."