I’m thankful for the wonderful responses to my first installment on artificial intelligence. It warms my heart to know that you found the information valuable and that it sparked meaningful discussions!
A few folks wrote back with their concerns about AI and its potential impact on our lives. In this email, I’d like to explore those concerns and discuss how we can embrace AI’s benefits while being aware of the challenges.
AI: Friend or Foe of Humanity?
The idea that AI might take over and destroy humans has haunted our imaginations for decades. From science fiction novels to movies, we’ve seen this scenario play out time and time again. I think It’s a valid concern, and it’s shared by many AI developers. There are already a number of research papers on how to safely train AI, and I suspect that new legislation will be implemented within the net couple of years to guide AI’s growth, minimizing the risk of a doomsday scenario.
While we should remain vigilant about AI’s potential future harm, we should not lose sight of the many challenges we face today. The escalating effects of climate change, including rising temperatures, extreme weather events, and shifting ecosystems, have far-reaching consequences for food security, water availability, and the stability of our environment. The rapid spread of infectious diseases, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, highlights our vulnerability to novel pathogens, which we will likely be exposed to more and more frequently as humans expand into wild places. Finally, the ever-growing global population and unsustainable consumption patterns put immense pressure on our planet’s finite resources, leading to deforestation, loss of biodiversity, and pollution of our air, soil, and water. I’m worried about Skynet and a Terminator like AI driven apocalypse, but at this point I think a Soylent Green dystopia is more likely.
Can AI Make Us Better Writers?
Some worry that relying on AI for everyday tasks like writing might diminish our skills. Interestingly, the same concern arose when calculators became widespread. But just as multiple studies have shown calculators haven’t hindered our math skills, I think AI can actually help us improve our writing.
Think about it: As children, we learn by imitation. By observing AI-generated, high-quality writing, I think we can refine our writing skills. AI has also been a game-changer for some neurodivergent individuals I’ve talked to, helping them articulate complex thoughts and emotions. I hope to bring more content on AI as a communication tool for neurodivergent folks in future emails.
The Evolving Role of AI in Information Access
Remember the first time you “Googled” something? Did you know that when you Google something an AI decides what information you’ll be shown? What’s fascinating is that AI not only chooses which answers to show us but also learns from our searches.
As AI technology advances, we’ll be able to interact with it directly. Imagine asking AI a question and receiving a well-researched, accurate, personalized response. The days of “Googling” and unknowingly interacting with AI may soon be behind us as we embrace a more direct relationship with AI.
I hope this post helps address some of the concerns about AI, and provides a glimpse into the potential benefits and impact of AI. Next time I’ll share some helpful ways herbalists and herbal students can use AI. Until then I’d love to hear your thoughts!
P.S. AI helped me write this email. Here’s the prompt I used: I’m going to dictate an email to my newsletter. Your job is to correct any grammatical errors, and format my dictation. You can add or clarify in a limited way but I want this to predominantly be my words. Use markdown when generating your response.
P.P.S After it cleaned up and formatted my words I asked it how I could make my writing better. It said to start with a more personal and engaging opening to capture the reader’s attention and establish an emotional connection and to use more storytelling and vivid examples to illustrate points and create a more engaging reading experience. I did this, and I hope you enjoyed it!