Karthik Pasupathy (aka KP)

How much AI is 'too much' AI?

Today, AI can do pretty much anything. It can write stories, create images, mimic your voice in a video or a podcast, generate summaries, etc. You name it and AI can do it. AI tools made life easy for so many content creators and businesses. Apart from being used in businesses, AI has also found its way into our day-to-day lives.

We’re increasingly becoming dependent on AI for all our tasks. AI completes our emails, recommends us movies and music based on our likes, provides suggestions while we write our masterpieces, and sometimes co-writes our masterpieces.

When you look beyond the awe of what it does, you can see that AI is slowly taking over our ability to make decisions. Now, some of you might argue that “I don’t want to waste my brain power by making all these small decisions in my day-to-day life. I’m destined for bigger things.”

Think about it for a second. Making these small decisions each day, throughout your life defines your taste, shapes your consciousness, and makes you who you are.

I guess it all started with spell-check software. Sometime in August this year, I came across a paragraph in David Perell’s weekly newsletter where he talks about software has made writing more sterile these days. He says, ‘The rise of homogenous writing began with Microsoft Word. First, spell check corrected our spelling and grammar. Then, as it became more advanced it started correcting our sentence structure, suggesting certain words. Now, with recommendations in Gmail and Google Docs, the age of prediction has arrived.’

Another thing is that using too much AI might take away change and serendipity from our lives. Let’s take an example of an app that summarizes books for easy understanding. It reads every line of a 50,000-word book and gives you all the important takeaways in less than 3,000 words. Sounds amazing, right? But what you’re missing out here is a chance to stumble upon that one sentence that could change your life. An AI algorithm may summarize a book based on readers’ highlights, quotes shared on social media, and its own summarization algorithm. But, what if you find abundant meaning and perspective from a single sentence or paragraph that depicts the personal life of the author (which was ignored by the AI considering that it was not important)?

Those surprise moments make our lives interesting. That’s also how our brain works. It thrives on serendipity. We stumble upon new stuff and our brain takes a completely new route to puts in the effort to develop our taste toward it. And outsourcing that and giving control of that serendipity to a machine learning model doesn’t sound right to me.

A lot of people today blame the education system saying it was a scheme created by the governments of the past to make people think alike and it is dangerous for independent thinking. How is that different from the AI tools that try to control every decision in our lives? Not to mention that these AI engines are governed by a few large tech corporations. I’m not saying these companies are forcing us to use AI. It is a choice, but a tempting one. So, being lazy beings, we choose the path that makes our lives easy.

I’m not against using AI. The applications of AI are mindblowing. I work for an AI company. I believe that AI absolutely necessary to solve problems in business, logistics, governance, healthcare, power, agriculture, and defense sectors. It is empowering millions of content creators across the world to run their businesses. My only concern is the limit to which one uses AI to perform their personal tasks.

For example, if you’re a blogger or an online writer, you can use AI to generate research-based ideas for your blog, generate images for your blog posts, convert your content into image and video formats, etc. But, you can’t write entire blog posts using AI. Because the reader who subscribed to your blog did so because they enjoyed your writing style. Handing it off to a machine won’t do justice to all those subscribers.

Enjoy the benefits of AI, but be on the watch for how much decision-making you give off to it. It is still uncharted territory.

#AI #technology