We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run.

Roy Amara, Institute For The Future, Past President

As regards Artificial Intelligence, I have spent a great deal of the last many months struggling to extract reliable signals of actual long-term concerns from the vast noise of short-term “hype” on one hand and doomer-ism (marked in particular by conversations that begin with a query regarding my personal p-doom) on the other. [BTW, as of October 1, 2023, my personal p-doom is 5%]

What frustrates me most is my tendency toward an over-focus on the short term and an under-focus on the long term. Social media is my most recent glaring example. When Facebook first appeared, I worked hard to promote the “democracy of ideas” narrative…even while Tristan Harris was outlining to my wife and me the core arguments later presented in his documentary The Social Dilemma.

I am working to resist that tendency this time around, but I am also noticing that inside the hall of mirrors of my mind, I chase my tail. One path out is to work harder on what goes into my mind.

To that end, this month I begin three classes at Stanford Continuing Studies. Two of the classes are focused on AI and the other is focused on society at large and the 2024 Election in particular. All three are open to the public and all three are offered via Zoom:

TECH 152 — A Crash Course in AI

BUS 199 — Speaker Series: AI the Great Disruption

POL 64 A — Shaping America’s Future: Exploring the Key Issues on Our Path to the 2024 Elections

I’ll post more here about the classes over time.

My hope is to add structure to my thinking as I wander around in the noise. You all get to watch what comes out.