Narrative connections



Blogs are a piece of cake now. You don't even really have to write them. You can share a few thoughts on your mind and ask your AI platform of choice to create it and, presto, you have a Pulitzer. In all seriousness, your blogs scripted by AI may be well-written, make decent sense, and have a professional vibe. But, they aren't really yours!

Think back to a time when you were in school and you had to write a paper. If you copied somebody else’s work and changed a few words around to make it sound more like you, you could have fooled the teacher. At the least, you learned to game the system and, at the most, you robbed yourself of the confidence that comes from doing our own work.

If ChatGPT is a vehicle that accentuates your voice or allows you to spread goodness, then sign me up. But, that is not the way this seems to be going. On the contrary, it feels like we are getting sucked into the AI hype machine, gobbling it up like it’s our job, and overestimating change in the short term.

A couple of weeks ago, Elon Musk said that AI will take every job and that anyone who wants to work will do it as a hobby. In a recently podcast, Jeremie Harris, CEO, and Edouard Harris, CTO of Gladstone AI, an organization dedicated to promoting the responsible development of AI were literally debating whether we were developing a new species of human with AI.

Gimme a break, man. AI is fascinating and our team actually uses it in some creative ways. But, at some point, I am not surrendering my voice nor my personality. I would like to think that the essence of man runs a little deeper than outsourcing our lives to computers. And while I understand that we already spend countless hours mindlessly thumbing through Instagram or TikyTok, I have to believe that we will draw the line somewhere.

If Elon, Sam Altman, and an army of bots rise up and push us to the curb, then at least we can unite to fight them rather than each other. I figure if they are taking our livelihoods, then I am all for kicking some robot ass.

The reality of this moment and every other watershed change is that we humans tend to overestimate it in the short term. Whether it’s the race to capitalize on the change or the fear within ourselves that we’ll be left behind, opportunity does exist in the short term. History, however, shows that a trough of disillusionment will soon follow.

I remember when e-commerce was going to “disintermediate” everyone in the supply chain. The brick-and-mortar brethren pushed back, greed became the order of the day, and a cemetery full of dot-coms followed. Ultimately, the long tail of the lifecycle proved out and e-commerce was integrated into our lives at a much healthier and generally accepted pace.

AI has enveloped us at a dizzying pace and the disillusionment will come quicker too. Technology has a way of speeding up cycles so you can bet that AI will be a part of everything we do going forward. But, it still doesn’t mean it is “good” or “bad”.

In my humble opinion, goodness is rooted within us. Writing a blog or creating an image at the speed of light is not good or bad. Eliminating jobs is not positive or negative. Frankly, I believe that positivity comes from personal and collective growth along with finding a deeper connection between al of us.

If AI brings us closer together and builds our self-esteem, then sign me up. But, if this thing drives us to a place where we are dependent, weak, and sad, then I am ready to fight for us. The idea that we can simply use AI to solve our problems or do the work is one thing. But taking away our ability to think and communicate is simply not cool.

When John Henry raced the machine through the mountain and subsequently died, a new era of machines had begun. Those machines replaced the brawn of hundreds of men but stimulated the minds of many more. The fact is that the machines allowed people to not just tactically think better, they allowed them to dream bigger. The machines had to be operated with our minds and, in many ways, gave us the chance to realize more of our potential.

My concern with AI is that it takes away our ability to expand our minds. If it allows us to discover more, engage with others on a more intimate level, and realize a better version of ourselves then great. But, man, I can’t help think that the easy path to immediate gratification may just reduce the amount of our brains we utilize.

In the hilarious movie Wedding Crashers, John Beckwith uses the corny line “You know how they say we only use 10 percent of our brains? I think we only use 10 percent of our hearts.” His intention is to impress a young lady, but maybe the bigger question is why the hell are we only using 10% of either? Should we not be on a path to use more of the gifts we have been given. And anything that threatens that should be, at least, monitored.

One of my favorite all-time movies is “Phenomenon,” starring John Travolta. It tells the story of George Malley, an ordinary man who develops extraordinary mental abilities due to a rare brain condition. And in the film, these newfound gifts offer a glimpse into the human condition.

The movie has multiple lessons, but George’s insatiable thirst for knowledge, combined with his willingness to use his new gifts for good, stands out. In turn, he deepened his relationships, cemented a legacy, and used his life meaningfully. So, if AI can help us unlock more of our minds and builds on what truly connects us all, then on we go. And if AI is riddled with greed, sloth, and short-term gratification, then…charge!

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Mark Potter

Founder / Consultant

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