DR KURPATOV - MAN VS AI - Russian Time Magazine

Will we lose the battle with Artificial Intelligence?
What will help us survive in a world where AI decides everything?

These matters of concerns were considered and answered by psychiatrist, Dr. Andrei Kurpatov, who has been actively promoting psychotherapy for over 20 years. He was the author and host of several programs on the first Russian TV channel. He also managed the “Red Square”, a major television program production company. He founded the “Clinic of psychological counseling and psychotherapeutic treatment” and the intellectual cluster “Mind Games” in St. Petersburg. Dr. Kurpatov has published 30 popular science books on various aspects of human behavior, with total circulation of more than 5 million copies. His books were even translated into eight languages!

His last book “The Fourth World War “, caused an incredible reaction. In this book, he describes the outcome of Artificial Intelligence vs. mankind. So, what comes next and how do we survive in the world of machines?

What was the purpose of writing “The Fourth World War”?

This book was conceived of a series of articles I had written for a major Russian portal. The articles were rather ironic, in fact: on one hand, I described the way modern people have dumbed down; and on the other hand, I showed that Artificial Intelligence is “smarter” than ever. And I was incredibly surprised by the reaction. Although the audience of this online publication was considered to be the most intellectual, commentators began to argue in eager rivalry. So, I decided to change my humorous mood and speak seriously. And not about some distant future, but about what is happening now!

Is your book a warning to humanity or a statement of our future loss in the one-sided fight with AI?

We have built such a complicated civilization, that no one is able to manage it – neither Trump nor Putin, nor the UN, nor the EU, nor anyone else. It is, so to speak, more “incomprehensible”, more complex than the human mind is able to perceive. Even such innovative companies as Facebook and Apple, not to mention other industrial giants, have grown to such extent and are so drowned in their own bureaucracy, that they have become completely unmanageable.

The world is becoming more and more complicated with each passing moment, while we are growing dumber and intellectually degraded under the influence of total digital dependence. And as for AI, it is proceeding to storm the intellectual Olympus.

Most people tend to underestimate the scale of the coming war. They reassure themselves that in extreme cases, one can quit the Internet and go back 30 years, to fax machines and landlines. ill it be possible to revert back to the past, or
will it be too late?

Let’s face it – we will never stop using the Internet, unless, of course, there will be some global catastrophe (which is not excluded) resulting in its disconnection.

However, I do not think that we will have a real war between mankind and Artificial Intelligence. It will be some kind of hybrid war: Artificial Intelligence will undertake our intellectual tasks step by step, and, accordingly, we will dumb down. A brain without training its intellectual functions, quickly turns into a cabbage.

It is quite possible that we simply will not have time to reach this “superpowerful” AI, which, as Kurzweil promises, should make our life incredible. Most likely, we will get stuck somewhere at the entrance of this technological paradise. We will find ourselves in a world where everything works in the wrong way, some protocols conflict with others, big data turns into meaningless garbage, everything crashes, catastrophes follow one another, and there is no one who is capable of managing it.

In your book “The Fourth World War”, you describe three possible scenarios, and they all are far from happy endings. Do we still have a chance to win control over AI, and if we do, what should humanity undertake today?

The unique characteristic of the future, is just our imagination. We don’t know our future; and therefore there may be a lot of probable future forecasts. Good or bad – it does not matter, they can be invented and re-invented in unlimited quantities. Therefore, I honestly do not like forecasts. I prefer to have available facts as a base. The facts prove that technology simplifies human life, and deprives a man of the need to solve complex intellectual problems. We should also consider uncontrolled information consumption — according to Kaspersky Lab, more than 60% of today’s young people (from the US to Russia) are constantly online. All this leads to people’s mind-numbing – “digital dementia”.

How do we escape this dead-end? There is a rather extreme method: it is necessary to create intellectual reservation areas, where digital content will be narrowed, and all efforts will be directed to the systematic development of analytical abilities of people from their earliest childhood. It seems to me that the right thing to do now, is not to train a detachment of brave men for a flight to Mars, but a detachment of intellectuals who will be able to maintain the stability of our own civilization when something goes wrong. And the fact that something will go wrong, seems very, very probable to me.

Scientists predict that global robotization will deprive more than 50% of people of their jobs by 2038. Are there any professions that will remain in demand?

I think we should consider this issue from a different point of view, as all professions will undergo radical changes in the near future. Some professions will disappear completely, but all other professions will undergo changes (except for hairdressers, maybe). Doctors will require additional skills different from what they have acquired. We will all become just add-on units to complex hardware, and for the most part, I’m afraid, rather dumb add-on units – just its human interface.

Therefore, my position is as follows: it is necessary to master your brainwork. Obtain skills of intellectual activity, and only after that, such a person will always be able to adapt to new challenges and succeed in the framework of social competition, which, obviously, will only increase.


I cannot name three ways, but I am ready to tell you about three aspects, which I explain in detail in my new books from the “Academy of Meaning” series.

  1. Getting rid of digital addiction and limiting information consumption — our brain needs time to think.
  2. Absolute acceptance of facts about our human nature. While we live in illusions about ourselves and our lives, it is pointless to think.
  3. It is necessary to master the skill of “focused thinking”, which I describe in my book “Mind Palace”. But it is a topic for another long conversation.


The main brain’s need… is to ensure a person’s survival
The book that everyone should read… “The Brothers Karamazov” by F.M. Dostoevsky
What is the best way to reboot our brain? Long aimless wandering
What are your main weaknesses? Everlasting desire to improve everything
What kind of superpower would you like to have? To travel in time for research purposes
Can one be happy without having any money? It is not as easy as you think, even if you have money
Will the next generation be dumber than we are? Unfortunately, I don’t have a high opinion of the intellectual abilities of mankind in general, so there’s nothing to talk about
What is your main source of motivation and inspiration? Awareness of my own ignorance

This book tells you why artificial intelligence is not fiction, how it works, and why it is smarter than our brains. You will learn how AI thinks, and what the consequences of the latest scientific discoveries are. Will this help you prepare for a new reality? No. However, you will seriously think about what is happening now!


Photos by: Andrey Kotusov



Olga Garicichina


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