Scholar Laura Robinson, who got her PhD from Duke, posted the following on X on the last day of 2023:
I’m sure other people are getting something out of this but all my direct contact with AI has been so depressing. For example, I used to be part of a bunch of crochet groups and boards on social media and I’ve quit them all because now they are 90 percent people posting AI art that’s obviously not a photo of a real crochet project and everyone praising them for it because they can’t tell the difference. It’s so annoying. It feels like so much creativity has gone out of the world.–Dr. Laura Robinson on X
The message made me take notice, pause, and consider the work we’re striving to do here at Mind Matters: to declare that the unique human being is worth conserving in an increasingly artificial and automated world.
Doubtless, AI has broad benefits, but the futuristic ideology attending its rapid development implies that humans are little more than complicated machines and that our machines can and should become more human-like. Kelly Kapic put it well in his illuminating book You’re Only Human, where he writes,
We have often tried to make machines that are like humans, but now we often expect humans to be like machines. The one just needs a power source and occasional servicing, while the other requires not simply nutrients, but also sleep, laughter, and love. The differences are profound and undeniable, but under the ever-present gaze of the ticking clock and the blurring of expectations between humans and machines, this harried life has become far more common now than it was in previous centuries.
When we believe that non-sentient machines can match the worth and value of human beings, we will inevitably be tempted to regard ourselves as little more than advanced meat computers. Data in, data out.
The digital landscape is only going to become more shot through with AI-generated images and text. The AI futurists would have us believe that AI will someday surpass the creativity and intelligence of humans, and that we should welcome such a leap forward in our technological evolution. The transhumanist vision of life seeks to supplant our human limits with endless knowledge and longevity through the collective online database of humanity.
Don’t fall for the hype or the doom in 2024.
We maintain the strong conviction that human beings are exceptional, unique, and will never be replaced by computers, no matter how advanced the technology gets. As Robert J. Marks notes, several human attributes are simply “non-computable,” such as love, creativity, and intentionality.
So, while AI can make an impressive tool in certain spheres of life, resolve this year to champion the human. Read good novels, appreciate human-made art, and engage in face-to-face conversations with other people. Meanwhile, follow us here at Mind Matters where we’ll continue evaluating both the benefits and drawbacks of AI while always celebrating the special place of human beings in our technological, fast-paced world.