July 5, 2023
I’m not getting myself all worked up over how generative AI is going to revolutionize the world of education. I’m not spending too much time trying to find my bearings and make sense of this new world we entered since OpenAI’s successful promotion strategy of ChatGPT. AI didn’t emerge out of nowhere on November 30, 2022. We could all see this coming when IBM’s Watson outperformed two former Jeopardy championsOr Big Blue defeating Kasparov, demonstrating the superior information retrieval capabilities of a fast processor and large memory bank compared to the human brain. We often hear this false comparison, and it’s no wonder we feel uneasy about AI. We tend to view the brain as one big computer, overlooking its organic, emergent network. We fear becoming obsolete.
In response, we build walls to protect ourselves, afraid that AI will take our jobs, send us hurling into uncertainty, and enslave us all in its relentless quest to purchase cheaper paperclips. We call out to celebrate (reclaim?) the attributes that supposedly make us human, uniquely human. You can pick out of a hat which attributes you want to defend, it doesn’t matter. We build walls, the human-centered design of fortifications that will keep us safe from the AI onslaught. These walls aren’t cocoons for our metamorphosis or the nourishing placenta of our re-birth. No. These walls are built to preserve, capture, and perhaps even fossilize what makes us uniquely human. Let’s celebrate that because AI is a threat to everything that doesn’t make humans stand out.
Behind these walls, we are erecting monuments to our human exceptionalism. We gather around these monuments to worship our own image, gods looking over the world, able to extract anywhere inside the trophic pyramid. “God is dead, long live the gods,” is more accurate than Nietzsche’s original quip. We believe we have the right, nay the duty, to ignore the laws of Nature so that we may write our own. We are humans, essentially unique and superior among all.
Reclaiming what makes us uniquely human is the same treacherous game we’ve been playing all along. It is a game of separation and domination, extraction, and extinction. The walls we build aren’t protecting us from AI’s Trojan Horse; instead, they exclude the natural world. As we dance around the monuments to our human exceptionalism, we disconnect ourselves from other forms of life, celebrating…
|↑1||Or Big Blue defeating Kasparov|