OUR AI FUTURE
That’s me. Not the best picture. But that’s the thing about humans: we are imperfect. This post will be equally imperfect. Because a human wrote it. As the world meets its AI future with the public introduction of ChatGPT, we are seeing the frightening power of robots and algorithms, which are now capable of not only simple commands but of writing extended theses, creating beautiful art in seconds, and passing MBA-level exams. To be fair, they have been here for years, quietly operating in the background of all of our systems, in the vast internet-of-things (IoT), and in countless blue-collar spaces, year by year eliminating any number of jobs.
First went the man or lady who answers the phone at the front desk. In their place, an automated phone tree. Press 1 to be even more frustrated with this recording. Then went customer service. In its place, automated FAQ and help bots that make you want to take a hammer to your computer. In factories from Springfield to Franklin to Springfield, robotic arms and machinery rendered the local worker irrelevant. And email and the digital office revolution condensed the back office from a team of workers to a suite of apps on your phone. That was all well and good (shockingly), because, well, it was the workers who were replaced. And in America we have no love for workers. Our snobbery and classism made the automation revolution that has already happened essentially invisible.
But now, AI like ChatGPT will take away white-collar jobs. Oh, fuck! Now we are panicking. Gone will be the need for human writers, graphic designers, chemical engineers, physicists, even lawyers. Anyone who creates anything — whether it’s a contract or a mural — will be redundant in a future of robots. Recently, as reported by CNBC, “Stanford University…analyzed the overlap between more than 16,000 AI-related patents and more than 800 job descriptions and found that highly-educated, well-paid workers may be heavily affected by the spread of AI.”
Uh-oh. The robots are coming for the handsomely paid and highly educated. And so the conversation has opened up, like a pool on Memorial Day, and everyone is jumping in. While some predictions are dire, and others caution us all not to get too carried away, we’re finally talking about the effect AI will have on the…