I’ve been contemplating it a lot lately—What next for me? What next in the world at large? And, I know I’m not alone in wondering what will present itself and how I’ll navigate whatever appears.
I doubt that anyone has been immune to discombobulation as we’ve been confronted by one unexpected and unthinkable event after another. A confounding US presidential election result, the rapid arrival of a global pandemic, a war in Europe that has gone on for well over a year—just a few of the events of enormous magnitude that turned our world upside down.
And now, just as we thought we’d found our feet again, we’re dealing with yet another—the general accessibility of an artificial intelligence with capabilities that have stunned even people in the industry. These events, along with numerous others, have greatly disrupted our comfortable mindset about how life works.
Most of us would prefer to avoid disruption, but it can be a good thing. When life turns upside down, we get a chance to see things differently… if we choose to.
I remember the story that first shifted my thinking about good and bad fortune. Here’s a charming version narrated by Alan Watts. Watts, who died in 1973, was an early interpreter and popularizer of Eastern philosophy for a Western audience. This is his telling of the story about a Chinese farmer, his horse, and his son…
Going back to the disruptive events we are experiencing, perhaps we can learn something from this story. What looks like a bad thing might turn out to be a good thing in the long run.
For example, the AI that has recently got our attention, known as ChatGPT, is evoking a lot of fear—about loss of jobs for humans, its power to impersonate humans, the rate at which it is evolving…
Those are legitimate concerns. But, on the other hand, perhaps the disconcerting appearance of ChatGPT is actually serving a useful purpose.
What if the potential for ChatGPT to run amok prompts us to look deeper within to see what we value and what makes us human?
What if awareness of what is important and what makes us human prompts us to take responsibility for our own actions and to conduct our lives in accordance with that awareness of what we value as humans?
And what if, instead of worrying that AI is going to take us over, we teach it our values, just as parents do with their developing children?
Is AI a bad thing?
Is AI a good thing?
How can we make it a good thing? That is the key question.
If you found this of value, please share it with someone.