I believe there is a potential happy marriage of articial intelligence and human intelligence.
The launch of the latest round of artificial intelligence software has been blowing a lot of minds and stirring a fervor in those worrying that the technology will accellerate the demise of the human race.
I receive a regular blog post from someone whose character and intelligence I greatly admire. His firm asked ChatGPT4 to write an article on the topic of "patience" in "their voice". The app returned the requested article free of spelling and grammatical errors in less than five seconds. It's an interesting alternative to googling the word and covered the basics of a subject I have myself written significant volumes on.
We are teetering on an edge where it will be increasingly difficult to discern the truth from falsity and verify the provenance of authorship. For me, I love knowing what this person thinks on a wide variety of topics. I am less interested in what someone else or something else thinks he thinks. And while it's true that busy people have difficulty scaling their contributions, I think the objects of their creation have a kind of heart and soul representing the energetic signature of a unique being. That matters to me. While the statements in the article were notionally true, they were statistical expressions of a kind of lowest common denominator. I have a hard won and very nuanced view of the concept of patience that reflects the context and application of my technology to the people I serve. My carefully hewn insights, not surprisingly, were not featured there.
This begs the question of what an appropriate use of articial intelligence (AI) might be as an extension of human intelligence (HI); and what aspects of human intelligence (HI) will likely resist automation. This forces us to consider what is uniquely human.
We painted pictures in caves. Human the artist. We made arrow heads and discovered fire. Human the tool maker. We collaborated to fend off enemies and make things greater than ourselves. Human the builder. And we created monuments to the spirit world. Human the philosopher.
Technological innovation has a long history of disrupting the social order and causing fear and panic.
The Luddites destroyed weaving machinery in the 19th century. The electronic spreadsheet made floors and floors of people with ledgers and pencils obsolete. And today we are questioning the value of social media, serveilance advertising and algorothims that influence the evolution of our desires and values in not always good ways. AI is the latest chapter and maybe the latest atomic bomb. Hopefully we have not become another death, digital destroyer of worlds. It's wise for us to consider the threats and opportunities and where we, our families and teams sit in all of it.
I like the idea of having an AI talking to the AIs of all my clients to automate the tedius process of scheduling and rescheduling coaching sessions. I'd love to send an electronic research assistant out into the internet and bring back interesting insights and new client prospects. I'm keen to see what an AI would observe about my clients if it had the chance. I get paid for my presence, perspective and principles. If there is a way to enhance these faculties, I'm all for it. But like many people in the world right now, I have not come fully to terms with how AI might radically improve my effectiveness as a coach, without replacing me or making me irrelevant. I love my work and it's an important part of sustaining my mental health. There is nothing quite so majestic as watching someone "get it", when the dots connect and trigger a flurry of constructive energy in service of other humans stuck in lives less optimal.
My own experiment with ChatGPT4 , began with a query I had spent two years unpacking for myself: "what is the difference between being able to kill someone and being capable of killing someone". It returned an answer in the same five seconds. My answer and its answer were pretty equivalent, and given the time I spent on the question, my opinion on its veracity is credible. The difference was that my answer came from hard earned experience and critical thought–otherwise known as wisdom–and formed the basis of a human capacity theory I implement every day to create value with my clients.
I am not a techno-optimist. But after playing with ChatGPT4 for a week, I am less worried about being replaced and more excited about how the tools can empower me to make a bigger impact.
There is something magical and special about the leap of faith involved in the creation of something. While human progress would likely be amplified by powerful pattern recognition tools, I do not see an AI replacing the subtle pattern interuption that requires a profound understanding of what is important to people–something that is constantly changing and in various stages of consciousness. Human values and technological advancements have a long and complicated coevolution. Sometimes it's really good, sometimes not so.
Perhaps an AI could write a new Shakespearean play or sonnet based on the canon of his work in existence. But what was cool about the Bard was the invention of new concepts, terms and language to deal with the way life was changing in his society at that time. This time is not that time; I suspect that there would be a hollow emptiness to that exercize. There is something authentic available in the organic experience of people in each other's presence. It unlocks the deep well of human potential and the human spirit.
As the future unfolds, and the internet is choked with AI-derived content, there will be a premium placed on anyone who can create authentically human experiences as a response to authentically human values and needs. We will covet what feels real and is real and we will cherish those people who can give that to us, whether aided by the software tools of the day or the sublime intuition and craft of their own mind and heart, ears and eyes, hands and voice.
Every person has the potential for a unique and interesting contribution to the human condition.