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AI Can Do It All So You Don’t Have To

Sometimes satire says it best

Satire is often best at uncovering uncomfortable truths. Much of the talk around AI progress celebrates its ability to make certain tasks way easier, such as writing essays, programming computer code, or firing your employees. While that is certainly true, the concern remains that if we depend on AI like this for long enough we might just forget how to put two and two together and write a sentence over ten words long. That’s probably cynical, but the principle is there – depending on technology to perform mental tasks will lessen the ability to independently perform those same mental tasks. The popular satire site The Onion published a paragraph about a hypothetical man who is delighted about AI because it means he no longer has to try to contribute to society. It’s funny and worth quoting in full:

SAN MATEO, CA—After spending the past three decades of his life being totally unable and unwilling to engage in any meaningful way with the world around him, James Parker, a local guy who sucks at being a person, told reporters Thursday that he saw huge potential in AI. “While it’s still in its early phase, artificial intelligence will one day accomplish things that humans could have never even dreamed of doing,” said Parker, who, by all accounts, has never stretched himself to do something he found difficult; has never created anything truly original; and, deep down, has absolutely zero understanding of what makes things good, enjoyable, or rewarding. “Just yesterday, I asked an AI program to write an entire sci-fi novel for me, and [as someone who will die an empty shell of a man who wasted his life doing nothing for the world and, perhaps, should never have been born] I was super impressed. Soon, humans won’t need to do anything at all! Awesome.” At press time, Parker added that as someone whose contributions to society would almost certainly be measured cumulatively as a net loss, he also saw great potential in the future of the metaverse.

Guy Who Sucks At Being A Person Sees Huge Potential In AI (theonion.com)

We don’t downplay the benefits of AI, but acknowledge that with its growing sophistication, overly depending on it may diminish our capacity to think, reason, and create – the very things that allowed human minds to develop AI technologies in the first place.

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AI Can Do It All So You Don’t Have To