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It's not the AI that's hallucinating

Whether you think AI will replace us, or it's just a passing fad: you're right.

March 24th 2023

by Andy Didorosi

in Teamwork

The AI conversation is getting frothy with billionaires and bloggers weighing on on each side – and they’re probably both right.

On the “super pump” side, we’ve got Bill Gates writing a nice long blog post about how wonderful it’s gonna be when we don’t have to take AP biology tests any longer. (Worth mentioning Microsoft has staked its future on AI. NBD.)

On the other side we’ve got the aptly-named Pessimists Archive going through the last 100 years of “The robots are taking your job” doomsaying and their advice basically boils down to “chill.”

Go and read each piece because they’re each good, but there’s the hovering question over these: which is true? And does it matter? The differences are relatively subtle.

Even though it looks like they’re opposing points of view on the surface, the thesis of each is roughly this: while widespread unemployment due to AI isn’t likely, the nature of work will change as more rote memorization/summarization/administration/etc is banished to LLMs instead of human workers.

Gates’ statement boiled down from 5,000 words essentially says AI/LLMs are just a powerful new tool that will have some huge impact like the coming of the microprocessor, but we don’t quite know what it is yet. Pessimist Archive says that employers have used the threat of automation for years to keep wages down and that while automation changes how some jobs are done, there are other more fruitful jobs created in the wake.

So like any big new hypewave, the nuance around the discussions is where the real truth lies. This AI thing isn’t going to flip over the employment apple cart tomorrow, but it will get weirder as we experience the secondary effects of a new implement big enough that most knowledge workers can’t ignore it.

Is this going to change work? Yes, it already has.

Is this going to put us out of a job? No, not directly for most people.

Will we have to learn more skills and acronyms? Definitely.

Does this news cycle leave me permanently tired? Sources say yes.

There is a third option, of course. It might just drive us all insane.

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