Most people are sitting in front of AI watching it take over their reality. They don’t have the skills, experience, resources, inclination, or time to do much other than go about their daily lives, working, earning, recovering and plugging into the AI generated media they scroll through for relief. It sounds dystopian but it’s here. Our collective minds, thoughts and beliefs are being taken over by and given up to those in charge of the algorithms that take advantage of our biases, such as our misguided hunger to be right as opposed to getting it right.
There is no doubt that AI has tremendous power for good. Our minds and our health are two areas ripe for AI to fuel our growth. The explosion in content, particularly podcasts, in recent times are set for hyper growth, with AI not just translating that content, the ideas in them, into multiple languages but doing so in a manner that embodies the tone and eloquence of the original language into that of the derivative. The acceleration of the spread of knowledge, that began with writing and the printing press, is set for another inflection. The elitism of knowledge, previously imagined as being held by the Ivy League and Oxbridge kin, is set for an unleashing of democratisation, exposing the limits and discrepancies of the current model, and demanding that we find new ways of certifying how good are students are on a uniform global basis. How we orient this acceleration of knowledge around the truth is a massive unknown, especially since we rarely know what the truth is, requiring constant peer review to validate its claim. Look only what happened when a group of those in power, claimed that the earth was created in 7 days, or conversely to what happened to those who claimed that the earth wasn’t flat.
In medicine, doctors are a massive bottleneck in the process. There simply aren’t enough of them at the right price point to go around yet too often kept busy on the mundane. Much of this bottleneck can be reduced by smart phones and health trackers measuring oxygen, temperature, heart rates and photos of skin things, collected and processed by AI on device and in the cloud to triage patients in real time, delivering massive improvements in health system efficiency and effectiveness.
I’m enamoured with the potential in architecture where the potential to create designs across a range of form and function attributes within in seconds for limited costs could change the safety, aesthetics and liveability of communities around the world.
Law is exciting, Whilst many types of legal cases seem readily arguable by AI as is being done, we will need much thought and effort from our lawyers in controlling the legal frameworks, at local, national and global levels around our defining principles and that we may not be inclined to hand over any time soon.
At the same time AI does threaten to make much of what we do and enjoy obsolete. There are certainly many jobs that can be replaced, as has always been a concern with automation and we must remain deliberate about the composition of our labour forces, particularly the many white collared jobs that seem imminently replaceable and our lack of enthusiasm in the western world for blue collared jobs and trade as evident in post Brexit UK.
As all these possibilities unfold, there are a relative few amongst us who are capable of understanding the responsibility conferred upon us, the direction we want AI to take us, and the guard rails needed to be put in place to keep us on track. There are many difficult issues to tackle including peoples’ minds and health as well as the impacts of AI on the economic and labour models that underpin our societies,
Sure, the Russians and Palestinians are grumpy about their lot, money, power, relevance, history and safety. Any society that is authentically focussed on providing long term solutions to complex problems is required to adopt such empathy. The potential for AI to present options based on hundreds of years of history is also appealing.
Equally concerning, perhaps more so, is a world where geographic boundaries are dissolved by technology and where people have become so hard wired to dopamine hits from the social media scrolls that they are unable to disconnect from and where they are no longer able to understand reality, importance and truth anymore. I witnessed the potential here recently when I watched the father of a newly born, feeding his newborn baby from a bottle, whilst scrolling through the internet. The baby appears to run out of food as the father continues to scroll, the baby dry sucking the bottle. These life moments disappear so fast, are so critical for binding and yet here, one of those life moments was taken over, lost forever to what content I could never know, the content of more importance than another one of those rare and precious moments that seem to be slipping through our fingers and thumbs.
Censorship, freedom of speech and liberty are important aspects to debate and hold fast: pillars of how we collectively push on. As with gun control, where the right to bear arms needs to be placed within the context of the founding father’s intent for it to be at the community, not individual level, we need good context and clarity around what success means, so we can harness the power of these evolving technologies to improve health, wellness and intelligence outcomes of our collective. The alternative seems bleak.
As such, calls to slow down AI deployment before the genie is well and truly out of the bottle whilst building our cultures from the ground up to be curious, conscious and intelligent consumers of content, generative and otherwise, seem correct. There seems to be a need for a petition or more to our governments to get this right across the political divide.
Coming next – an analysis of what’s currently happening and how you can get involved. …….