Thanks to the latest wonders of the world – «GPT-4» or «Artificial Intelligence Service XYZ» – that were selflessly gifted to us by Silicon Valley, most media and social networks have once again become unusable and will likely remain so for the next few weeks and months. That’s partly because the vendors of these wonders will flood us with news about the latest use cases for the technology. But it’s also due to a horde of drunken fans outside the Valley who uncontrollably spread any of these news as soon as they happen.
Don’t get me wrong, I do think that such tools have great potential to be included in humanity’s ever-growing toolbox. In fact, a lot of parts of this text were created with the help of one of those tools. But as with any tool, we have to learn how to use it properly. And being drunk is honestly a bad condition when it comes to learning how to use a new tool.
Taking a glimpse into the past can be helpful in order to find a way into the future. In 2017, I wrote a summary about a metaphor Marshall McLuhan discovered in a story by Edgar Allen Poe. It can be considered as a guideline for dealing with complex and emotionally charged situations like these.
The travel recommendations derived back then, should also help us to navigate our current, technological vortex. On this particular occasion, I’d like to add two more thought experiments that might be considered useful:
Somebody is trying to talk you into some positive but highly disruptive effects of AI, especially to your sector. Try to remember what he or she told you about the effects «crypto» will have on the financial sector. Have they materialized? This sometimes helps to calibrate your scale.
From time to time replace the term «Artificial Intelligence» in those contexts with «statistical pattern recognition based upon the exploitation of large datasets». This, too, might help to calm some of the churning emotions and help to seek out suitable use cases for these new tools with a cool head.
Screenshot from Conversation with ChatGPT