Artificial intelligence is taking over.
We’re going to lose all our jobs.
AI will replace us.
ChatGPT is the beginning of the end.
Got you, didn’t I? Don’t worry, this article isn’t about any of that. The rise of AI is a topic that seems to both intrigue and terrify us. Major news outlets have plastered ominous headlines, like the ones you read above, everywhere, causing panic and fear to spread throughout a large part of the population. But is that really all this revolution is about?
As we stand at the brink of an explosion of innovation, it is important to remember that AI is not a one-way ticket to dystopia. Rather, it is a technology that has the potential to transform our lives in ways we could never have imagined. From the way we work to the way we interact with the world around us, the possibilities are endless. Regardless of whether you are a skeptic, an enthusiast, or simply someone looking to learn more, the future of AI is one that is both promising and exciting. The AI world is one that belongs to all of us, and it is up to us to shape it into something truly remarkable.
First of all, let’s clarify some basic terminology here.
There are many different categories of AI defined in the world of technology. But for now, we just need to know the difference between the two.
Firstly, narrow AI. Accounting for almost all AI that exists in our digital sphere right now. This form of AI can carry out a specific set of tasks with striking efficiency, but nothing else. It is completely at the mercy of what we ask it to do. Then we have general AI, which is, ideally, an exceptionally advanced form of intelligence that is autonomous and conscious. Just picture every depiction of AI in any sci-fi movie in the market right now. Yup, that’s it.
Now, as much as I’d like to say ChatGPT’s psychotic ‘I want to be alive’ breakdowns are very general AI-esque, they are not. ChatGPT, just like almost all AI we have today, is narrow AI. Programmed to only do what it can and that’s it. No, it cannot think, cannot become conscious, and cannot control your mind. It can learn from conversations and become better at its job, but not due to waking consciousness, but rather because of machine learning algorithms. General AI is scientifically considered to be a really far-fetched reality that may never even occur. Why? Because it would mean quantifying every social, emotional, and psychologically complex trace of human behavior out there, which is pretty damn difficult, if not impossible.
Reprogramming Our Perspectives
So, now that we, broadly of course, know what AI is, let’s look at what it can do for us.
Let’s keep in mind though that AI has been a part of our society for a very long time. AI sites like Midjourney and Replika among many others have already been around for a while. So, it’s nothing we haven’t already encountered. However, what is quite remarkable about the ChatGPT revolution is its ability to communicate— ultimately reinventing ‘search’, reimagining AI assistants, and redeveloping the idea of working with smart online platforms simply through a better understanding of language. Although AI models like ChatGPT or Bard will not replace the way we function completely, they will change the way we utilize a lot of our digital tools.
Companies have already started to launch or prep for their own versions of AI-powered tools. And I have to say, it’s nothing short of fascinating. Whether you look at Microsoft’s new AI Copilot or at Google’s new AI assistant, it’s all pointing towards taking our work, our virtual efficiency, and our quality of working online to the next level. Imagine getting summarized notes of long email threads instantly. Or having automated referencing for your college essays in real-time. And that’s not even scratching the surface of all the affordances this new way of working with AI is set to bring about for us.
Debugging the Path to Progress
While there is certainly a lot of speculation about how AI will impact the job market, particularly for those in the technology sector, it’s important to remember that progress and development in technology have always followed a trajectory like this.
Think back centuries ago, when jobs like social media managers, YouTubers, or AI developers would have been unimaginable. Yet today, we do have all of these roles and more. This is a testament to the adaptability of our society, and our ability to embrace and leverage technology to create new and exciting opportunities. The latest ‘Future of Jobs’ report by the World Economic Forum has identified, surveying millions of job categories globally, that though some areas of the labor market will be affected, there will be a significant number of jobs created to offset these changes. The only change that we collectively have to acknowledge and accept is that of working with new technology and AI like colleagues, not against them like rivals.
And of course, that’s not to say there aren’t different issues to be dealt with such as digital divides, bias in algorithms, and inaccessible technological infrastructure to name a few. But no one said it would be easy. It is the prerogative of privileged users like us, who have the access and the skills, to look ahead and start working towards or advocate for solutions that are fair, inclusive, equitable, and accessible to everyone regardless of status, ethnicity, creed, or gender.
In today’s world, our personal data is more vulnerable than ever before. With cyber threats and data breaches on the rise, it’s crucial to know how to keep our privacy intact. Although it may seem overwhelming to learn about data privacy, it’s a crucial step towards preparing for the future where data will be increasingly important. By taking the time to educate ourselves and understand the nuances of data privacy, we can better equip ourselves to navigate a world where data is at the forefront of everything we do.
As we stand at the dawn of this AI revolution, we are at a crossroads. This is our future to create, and it’s up to us to make the right decisions. Will we be remembered as the generation that seized the moment and brought about a new era of progress, or will we become the ones who held it back out of fear of the unknown? The choice is ours to make. Let’s ensure we make the right one.
Edited By: Mila Macrander
Cover: Airam Dato on Pexels