Discover more from Random Minds by Katherine Brodsky
How AI will change our world
There’s no doubt that by now you would have at the very least heard about ChatGPT—if not played around with it, extensively. It’s hours of free entertainment, for now.
If you happen to be a high school teacher, you may have even had the distinct ‘pleasure’ of reading an assignment written by it. Hopefully you’ve caught on. (Having taught some classes, I have to admit, that ChatGPT would probably get a much better grade than most students).
I’ve also heard that ChatGPT has helped many write successful cover letters (especially beloved by HR drones), conduct research, write web content, re-write song lyrics, write poetry and greeting cards, generate product descriptions, map out character outlines, assist with coding, make business plans, and so much more. I’ve even tried to test its skills as a virtual therapist when I was upset; It performed better than a google search, but certainly not as well as a human. Still, it was a resource I could access with a tap and didn’t cost a month’s rent.
I’ve also played around with various AI image generators—something that’s a bit controversial given that the AI is a derivative of other people’s works. But leaving that ethical issue aside for now (though something that’s certainly worth discussing later on), I do find the potential here fascinating when it comes to marrying human imagination with the execution of a machine. OpenAI’s DALL·E 2 is the tool that I’ve used the most in my experimentations and what struck me is that the best results came from something rather human…my ability to imagine and invent things. That’s something that, at least at this point, AI isn’t really able to do on its own.
I may not have the skills to draw or paint (well), but my contribution to the work is my ability to come up with inventive concepts, and I suspect that’s where we’re really heading. AI is here to stay, whether we like it or not. We have to learn to use it as a tool to assist us, not to fight against. It can be an extension of our skills and an empowerment for our imagination.
Today, it’s somewhat rudimentary in some aspects. Whereas the visual AI tool is perhaps quite impressive, the writing equivalent doesn’t quite match up with the style of a real writer. It’s rather basic and, well, robotic. It’s just about workable. It’s prone to mistakes, which means that it needs human supervision to ensure accuracy. That’s something that CNET has learned after errors were found in half of its AI-written stories, which it tried to sneak by readers. But that’s today. Where will it be a year or two from now? It’s hard to predict. At the very least, it can be a tool to assist reporters who would gather facts and then be able to put out breaking stories much quicker with the help of AI.
Will it replace journalists altogether? Will it replace copywriters? I don’t know. I’d like to think not. In some areas, it might. Where the text is mundane, I think it will. Technical writers might have cause to fear for their jobs. Description writers, too. But the kind of writing that requires emotional resonance, deep intellectual curiosity, originality, and curiosity…I don’t think AI can replicate that. At least not without achieving singularity—and whether it ever will be capable of doing that is yet unknown.
Everything AI ‘knows,’ it has learned from humans. It hasn’t invented anything. It needs our inventions in order to create. But humans, on the other hand, started with nothing and created art, music, philosophy, great writing…it took time, but we got there. AI has a head start, but is it really capable of creating something that’s truly original? I guess we’ll find out.
Regardless, that doesn’t mean that many of the things that it will be able to do though aren’t ‘good enough’ though. The visual AI apps are already widely used for creating inexpensive imagery for articles, logos, YouTube icons, and illustrations wherever they are needed.
Can’t write music but want to? MuseNet (also by OpenAI) is a deep neural network that can generate 4-minute musical compositions with 10 different instruments. They also developed Jukebox, which generates music as raw audio in a variety of genres and artist styles. Google is in the game too, with their MusicLM, a text-to-music AI.
And we’re just getting started.
This will change our world in so many ways. There are bound to be growing pains. Some people will find themselves disposable. New roles will also emerge.
It’s quite likely that those who will be most valued by society are the ones with specialized knowledge and skills, as well as those with creativity. As things will increasingly become automated, I suspect that we will also value the ‘human touch’ in certain fields more as well. The ‘artisanal touch,’ too, will garner great appreciation.
But as this happens, there is a high chance that a certain class of employees will indeed find themselves jobless in a changing society and we might need to rethink our economic models—perhaps even consider Andrew Yang’s Basic Income suggestion, for which I think we’re far too early now, but a time may come when this may become a necessity.
AI is changing our society. We must change with it and view it as an opportunity to extend our abilities—take the best of what we can offer as humans and use AI to augment it.
💬 What do you think: How will AI transform our society? What new opportunities does it open up? Which jobs does it kill? Can it ever replace what humans do entirely? Let me know in the comments.
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Who am I? I’m a writer with an overactive imagination and a random mind. Outside of Substack, you’ll find my work in publications such as Newsweek, WIRED, Variety, The Washington Post, The Guardian, Esquire, Playboy, Mashable, CNN Travel, The Independent, and many others.