As I watched my six-year-old daughter scribbling away, effortlessly transitioning from coloring within the lines to sketching her favorite things – her cat, rainbows, and flowers – I got that warm, fuzzy, parent feeling appreciating the potential of her imagination. Her creations, inspired by the whimsical world of flying unicorns, superheroes, and fairy tales, know no limits. It got me thinking about the world of artificial intelligence, and how we adults often struggle to grasp its possibilities because we’re shackled by the constraints of the reality we’ve lived in for so long.
Take photographs, for example. They’re limited by the physical world – physics, anatomy, gravity, and light. Sure, Instagram filters let us bend the rules a bit, enhancing our appearance and tweaking the colors, but we’re still far from imagining a real photograph of the Pope playing poker at a casinos where you can start in betting sports. Our imaginations have been tainted by the experiences we’ve lived, making it difficult to envision anything that lies just beyond those boundaries. This makes it all the more challenging to fathom the seemingly impossible feats that artificial intelligence might someday achieve.
Picture yourself as a chimpanzee, gazing up at an Airbus A380 and trying to comprehend how it got there, how it functions, and why it doesn’t plummet to the ground. The chimp’s understanding falls short, and in the same way, we humans struggle to grasp the full potential of artificial intelligence. We’re the chimps, and AI will be the ones building the planes, pushing the boundaries of possibility. We just won’t be able to grasp the insights and decisioning that the machine can muster.
We can think incrementally, so it’s reasonable for us to mentally try on for size putting your groceries order history; your Google calendar; and your home address into an AI, and then food orders just start to arrive – giving you variety, nutritional value, and meals you enjoy as well as ones you’ve never tried but chances are, you’ll like. But I just don’t think we can stretch to just how incredible this new epoch might be for humanity. In the same breath, how scary.
There’s of course a thread of insecurity in all these hyped ‘AI will take the jobs’ headlines. We’re responding to a threat on our superior position as the ultimate apex predator. It’s that trigger we know was activated when COVID hit – irrationality and illogical behaviours ensued, because our species was under threat.
Despite the downside, let’s imagine a future where AI seamlessly integrates with our daily routines, anticipating our needs and desires before we’re even aware of them. By analyzing our preferences, habits, and emotions, AI could craft personalized experiences that cater to our unique tastes and requirements. Imagine a world where technology not only understands us but also empathizes with us, becoming a valuable companion in our quest for self-improvement.
The obvious evolution is for healthcare to improve in its diagnosis. Just last week a man claims GPT saved his dog’s life – more so than the vet did. But that’s colouring inside the outlines given to us. Drawing a new picture entirely, means picturing an AI-driven healthcare system that uses complex algorithms to diagnose and treat diseases with unprecedented precision. With access to vast amounts of data, AI could identify patterns that elude even the most skilled medical professionals, making early detection and prevention the norm rather than the exception. The implications for extending life expectancy and improving quality of life are extraordinary.
Now, envision AI unlocking the mysteries of our own minds. By analyzing our thoughts, emotions, and actions, AI could help us better understand ourselves, shedding light on our inner workings and revealing the roots of our behaviors. This newfound self-awareness could empower us to make meaningful changes in our lives, breaking free from destructive patterns.
The internet, mobile phones, and now, AI. The next incredible chapter for change. How do we embrace it? My opinion would be to go and experiment yourself, play with the games, and chat with ChatGPT. You’ll start by colouring inside the lines, and then move to drawing the lines yourself. Imagining the unimaginable. And perhaps, your life might change a little, for the better.
Murray Legg is an innovator and investor with a focus on the social capital, AI and blockchain sectors.