How artificial is intelligence?

Google will now help you write email.

Bard will make your searches so good that you may not even need to search anymore.

Open AI promises that Artificial General Intelligence is not as far away as we think.

Midjourney makes such good images that it is nearly impossible to tell them apart from the actual ones.

In fact, some artists are now suing companies such as Midjourney, since they got trained on real artists, and so, who really owns the art is the question.

Specifics aside, the fact is that 2023 is all about AI. Which reminds me of a blog I wrote a few months back, on the subject. Here it is!

The debate on AI refuses to die down.

Was discussing the latest developments in the sector with a client today when he remarked that schools were concerned that students were increasingly turning to ChatGPT to ‘write’ their essays.

I took a contrarian view on the subject. Why do students have to write essays? I said. “Well, to demonstrate their command over the language and understanding of the concepts”, he shot back.

Grammarly takes care of the command on the subject – I replied. And understanding of concepts – well most essays are ‘pick one from 3-4 standard topics’ kind of wasteful exercises. Most students mug them up and/or get inspired from known sources. Not many want to take chances with originality anyway.

Tell me something – I continued. Why don’t we grow tomatoes anymore? We consume them, but we don’t grow them – someone else does. Most of us don’t even know how to grow them anymore. Why write essays to demonstrate competencies in something that gets translated in real-time nowadays? It’s not as critical as it was before.

In a few years, the way we create and consume content will drastically change. So will methods of learning, understanding and testing competencies. It’s good to know how to grow tomatoes, but if you don’t, you will not starve. Some life skills become less essential as others replace them. AI will compel us to replace many like skills, just as Canva negated the need for design or development skills, Windows 95 negated the need of knowing programing to interact with computers, and many such other examples.

Today’s education is 80% a wasteful exercise. A great score in your degree doesn’t match the skills required when you join your first job. You end up spending the first few years of your career learning the ropes, rather than implementing what you learnt in college. That’s the fact, at least in most cases. We have to learn to let go of old methods!

Some paradigms are hard to leave behind, but if Steve Jobs had not thought of getting rid of the stylus, we would still be poking around on small screens. And once its done, it seems like it was always this way, isn’t it? I mean who remembers those pixelated micro screens with ‘65,000 colors’ ?