Who am I serving when I rant about AI? Or are those rants undirected cathartic release?
I don’t know.
I don’t think that I am partisan in my AI rants. To me, there doesn’t seem to be anything inherently leftist (or “right-leaning”) in my concern about how humanity will be impacted by AI. So, I don’t think I am serving any inherently political purpose here.
So … am I worried about creators having their creations stolen as training data for the current models? Well, yes…sort of. “Sort of”…because my concern is even broader than merely the question of sharing value with content creators. As such, this is not just about the potential displacement of creatives.
Am I worried about AI ingesting all of our previously uploaded personal data and then making “predictions” about us (whether accurate or biased) that adversely impact decisions (employment, credit, housing, etc) made about us? Yes…but even the broad topic of data privacy does not describe the breadth of my concern.
Am I worried about AI taking our jobs — well…actually, not really. The hand-held calculator took the jobs of people referred to as “computers” in the days of NASA’s Apollo program. The physical object that has come to be referred to as the personal computer (and word processing programs often found thereon) took the jobs of many secretaries and typists. Automation in manufacturing took the jobs of many factory workers. Relatedly, and rhetorically, where did all the farmers go? AI will take many jobs…and while those affected will definitely feel the pain of displacement, humanity has worked through this displacement before. So, no, the potential for AI taking our jobs is not at the top of my list of concerns.
So, am I worried about humans losing capacities of self-determination and internally generated free will? Here I am watching this slow march of humanity away from capacities and self-determinism shared by many of our ancestors. Is it a problem that my children never (really) memorized their multiplication tables? When tested these days, my children get to use their calculators when taking their tests. Does that mean that humanity no longer needs to foster (or maintain) basic math as a skill? Has the TV dinner, the microwave, and DoorDash undermined our desire to develop (and maintain) a capacity to prepare meals from scratch? Maybe? But are those really “problems?” But in what ways will humanity cede decisions and work to AIs (or even this interim “generative AI”)? Will this offloading of human capacities to the AI agents lessen our abilities to take care of ourselves? Will we become the coddled children of the 2008 Pixar movie Wall-E? This array of concerns is getting closer to describing my unease…but again, my overall concern is broader than even the above.
I don’t think I yet know the full contours of my concerns regarding AI.
So…I could freeze…or I could plow forth and iterate along the way.
…I think I will take the latter path.
In this regard, a new acquaintance has me thinking of how humanity should/could protect families and children in the context of the emerging AI.
Families and children…I think I can start there.
And so I will. More from me soon.