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Total automation of the human race? I’m not buying it.

Anna Gromadzka leads a series of conversations to share the stories and advice of inspiring female leaders around the world.

The Future of AI: Collaboration or Replacement?

What lies ahead for AI in the near future – stagnation or flourishing? Can we truly depend on AI to the extent that almost every aspect of our lives will be automated by artificial intelligence? In this post, Val Unverricht provides insights into the next steps in AI development.

by Val Unverricht

Disclaimer: this text has been written entirely without AI-assistance. I suppose that makes it “artisan”.

The last couple of years have seen an avalanche of progress in artificial intelligence. Tools like ChatGPT and integrated “ghostwriter” options on platforms like LinkedIn were considered futuristic just at the start of this decade. As is human nature, with this speedy advent of something relatively new and with the all-encompassing potential of it comes a significant amount of trepidation and warning about its impact.

We’ll nurture and build “sentient beings”, which (or who?) will eventually develop beyond the need of the human being, thus rendering us mortals unnecessary – and dispensable. Continuous AI learning will replace “human” innovation and ingenuity, meaning that we turn from drivers of progress to mere consumers (or pets) of it. Then, there is the angle that increased AI use will eventually consume as much energy as a country the size of the Netherlands.

The point about its energy consumption I accept. The ones about replacing the human mind I do not.

AI engines, such as those developed by companies like OpenAI, improve and develop through “learning” new data and information. Much like the human mind, it grows through input. Yes, increased use of AI in turn phases out human-generated information and content; however, if this continues exponentially, the point will arrive where there is no human input anymore because us of AI has taken over completely – we will have stopped “thinking for ourselves”.

This is when we’ll arrive at what I would term an inflection of innovation. The only “new” information available to a given AI engine has already been generated by another AI engine. Subsequent outcomes in AI will be nothing more than regurgitations of input already provided. If you think of innovation and progress as a road, the metaphorical car on said road has thus run out of fuel.

We humans will then be presented with a choice: continue to let artificial intelligence think for us and thus stagnate – or actively start innovating again. It is when creative minds, disruptive thinking and instinctive curiosity will be needed more than ever before.

 

AI in and of itself is not some new breed that will eventually out-compete, replace and dispense of the human being. Artificial learning, by definition, depends on humans to provide it with continuous input. If you are worried about your long-term job security in the face of AI, change your mindset from that of a competitor to that of a teacher of AI – and develop your skillsets accordingly.

The crucial thing is this: AI will never replace the human mind because it cannot do without it.

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