Hello everybody, welcome to episode 232 of Optimal Living Advice, the podcast where we take any questions you might have about the many struggles of life and get them answered for you here on the show. Today's question is a pertinent one that affects us all individually and socially: on the fear of AI taking over.
I’m your host, certified life coach Greg Audino reminding you before we begin that if you have a question you would like help with on the show, we welcome you to email it to us at advice AT oldpodcast.com
And we’ve got a very 2021-appropriate question today, friends. One of your fellow listeners is fed up with AI, plain and simple. You know, there’s a lot of anxiety these days surrounding how quickly technology is advancing, and I’m really glad that someone has chosen to speak up about it here on the show. This is a new phase we’re all navigating together, and it feels like an awful lot can change, and not in all good ways. But as always, there’s a lot to consider, including the stories we’ve told ourselves that aren’t necessarily rooted in truth. Let’s help this asker to dispel some of his concerns. But first, here’s his question…
QUESTION: “I’m getting overwhelmed by how much of my life is automated now. Might sound funny, but lately I can’t shake the worry about artificial intelligence taking over. Is it not happening too fast? Is it all necessary? How would we ever stop if it’s getting to be too much? I don’t think we’d be able to, and I see us losing control all over the place, every day. Books are gone. I don’t even need the computer now, I can just talk to Alexa about my questions. I want to ask how to become more calm about this, but I also don’t want to become more calm because I think that’s the problem everywhere.”
Your Thoughts and Feelings about AI
There’s a difference between being calm and not caring, asker. And there’s no use in having your viewpoints if you’re not calm with them and calm while exercising them, so I do think you should try to become more calm about this and not confuse calmness for the abandonment of your thoughts and feelings about AI.
So that’s what I think we should focus on today as we look at this great question which I very much appreciate you sending in.
I think you’re right in your suspicion that AI would not be dialed back if it were to become “too much”, partially because “too much” is never something that would be unanimously decided upon even within the circle of those who are working to create more AI, but also because society has never recognized an opportunity for progress and voluntarily ignored it due to a sense of caution. Jurassic Park is a fine example, right?
If the capability is there, someone is going to capitalize on it, and we just have to hope it’s the right person that does. Maybe some restrictions will be put into place or a large group of others like yourself will fight it tooth and nail in some kind of revolution, but a chance at large scale process has never been stopped in its tracks, and it’s not likely to happen now, at least by my estimation.
The Adaptation of People
But another thing that’s always happened and isn’t likely to stop now is the adaptation of people. Individual beings and society at large have always adapted to different forms of change, and AI is but another evolution of humanity. It’s another way for us to build and evolve given our knowledge and resources, which to me, isn’t a whole lot different than biological evolution as we know it, but that’s a discussion for another time.
The only difference with AI is that it’s falling in line with the uprise of media. Like any big change that’s a lot to think about, AI is going to get blown out of proportion. It’s a concept that’s naturally intriguing to everyone, therefore it’ll inevitably be made out to be more significant, fast moving, life threatening, civilization ending, than it actually is.
Intrigue will always balloon severity, that’s how media works, that’s how panic works. But that doesn’t make AI intrinsically more dangerous — it just makes us a danger to ourselves because the media circus surrounding it is likely to frighten many people.
AI Fear Mongering
So what I guess I’m saying is don’t let AI fear mongering dictate all of your feelings about it. Don’t let it turn AI into something it’s not and cause you to assume the worst. It may have drawbacks, but whether they cause the world to go up in flames remains to be seen.
What also remains to be seen are benefits that could improve the world just as powerfully. AI has always improved upon human flaws, it’s just that we’re more used to the human flaws, so they’re more excusable. Perhaps AI will inevitably help us bring more love and compassion to the world. Who knows? No one does. I don’t know and neither do you.
It’s for that reason that you should instead focus on what in particular about AI seems so scary to you, and address that rather than expending energy on the impossible task of how to stop AI on a global scale. What about AI makes you fearful? Are you worried that you’re losing your concentration? Are you worried that everyone is becoming lazier? Do you have an underlying issue with change or not being in power?
Fear of AI: Conclusion
Whatever the case may be, AI is a serving as a trigger to an underlying problem such as these. A lot of people are feeling shaky about AI, but the fact that you’re more shaky about it than most others doesn’t somehow make you smarter or more vigilant than them, it means that there’s something unique in you that’s gone unaddressed; something that is a lot more malleable than AI’s presence in the world.
For example, if you worry about losing your concentration, do some work to find out why this is such a strong fear for you, and implement lifestyle changes to support good concentration skills, many of which could have to do with limiting technology, such as putting your phone in a separate room while you work.
So your real mission is to figure out what part of your life the rise of AI is really enflaming, and proceed accordingly. And along the way, you’ll likely change your personal relationship with AI based on your findings, which would be great for you.
Thanks again to the asker for sending this question in! Very appreciative of him for doing so, and I really hope this episode helped not only him, but all of you out there. Whether it’s tech, world peace, ending hunger, or insert any other concern that you have for the whole world, it’s important to always remember that it’s in your best interest to first seek how to make a difference in this areas within your own life, whether it’s changing your type of consumption, or changing the way you act with others.
So that’s that, everyone. I’m glad you stopped in today and I sure hope you’ll keep continuing to do so. You know we’ll be back again on Friday as always, so don’t miss out. I’l look forward to seeing you all then, and in the meantime, take care of yourselves out there.