…partner with AI, welcome its limitless stores of information, deep resources, and surprising turns of idea…

Recently, we have suddenly been inundated with the ‘introduction’ of new avenues of access to various types of AI, Artificial Intelligence, software.

I say ‘introduction’ because ironically, we have actually been using it for years, without it being called “AI” outright.

Do you use spellcheck? Alexa or Siri? Siri’s voice recognition and is powered by artificial intelligence AI.

Do you use TikTok, with its AI-driven algorithmic personalization? Do you use FB? Facebook (now Meta) is heavily into AI. Do you use YouTube? Instagram? Zoom? All use AI.

Zoom virtual meeting enhancements — virtual background images and background noise detection — rely on AI.

We are told AI will expand our capabilities, and save us time.

Whether for making art, writing faster, finding out information, modifying and improving every last already-created thing from artworks to pdfs to books to treatises to plans and blueprints and systems — you name it.

There are quickly-growing factions — all against it, all for it, and every shade in between.

I believe that, in the not too far future, we will look upon the period between 1985, when the personal computer burst upon the scene, until the end of 2022, when AI popped its head up like an unrelenting Jack in the Box, as a time of innocence.

Despite how far we thought we’d gotten with computers, first, and then the internet — it has really been more like an intro to the vast resources and amazing reach and intelligence of AI.

Compared to what is really only the beginning of our relationship with AI, what we have been doing so far with technology will be regarded as bumbling at best.

The possibilities inherent in human relationship with AI are enormous. It seems to me that things could go to hell in a hand-basket — and very rapidly, at that — or spring to unknown, unimaginable, fantastic heights with its assistance.

Because AI is built upon every last thing humans have thought, written, created and published, in every genre. Imagine studying every last thing, how intensely informed you’d be. AI is that, and more. We are assured that there aren’t any yet, but I’m betting there are even self-aware AI right now.

If we go off the deep end, resisting and fighting and objecting to this phenomenon, we set forth a proclivity for negativity, fear, anger, self-centeredness, rage, destruction, and any other unfun directions you can think of. We will fight it, and we will lose. It’d be like a newborn fighting a college student. It just won’t ride.

But if we partner with AI, welcoming its limitless stores of information, deep resources, and surprising turns of idea, it will be like having a billion-times-bigger brain. Compared to us puny humans, it Knows Everything. How can we even contemplate fighting it?

Some worry that AI will ‘take over.’ That’s like saying that college student will ‘take over’ the newborn. Why would it? There is no point to it. It would probably get bored in less than a nano-second.

It’s really up to us how we are affected by it. We can think of it as a friend with a doorway into a new realm of possibility, or an enemy with a locked-tight hundred-foot-thick gate to a vault holding unimaginable treasure that we aren’t allowed to access and that we project will annihilate us.

As such, some see it as beyond dangerous — which it is, really, possibly being an unbeatable, implacable foe — but I view AI as a vast ocean of surprises and possibilities — highly useful, even fun. Heck, fire is dangerous, water is dangerous, driving is dangerous. Are we all dead yet?

Isn’t it interesting that some folks’ first inclination is to run for the guns? What are we fighting for? Human domination? Pardon me while I guffaw. We are but a speck in the cosmos. Dominate? If you look around, that which we have dominated, we have pretty much destroyed. What are we fighting for? The ability to keep up the destruction?

I believe we need to open our minds to the new avenues of expression, creativity and compassion inherent in partnering with such a massive force.

I believe we are being offered a hand into creativity heretofore unimaginable. People who couldn’t dream of making art are now producing stunning works. People to whom writing was something only others did are now prompting scripts they never thought possible.

I’m used to creativity. It permeates every part of my life. I can’t begin to fathom what it must be like for someone to go from a go-to-work, 8-hours-drudgery, come-home-suck-beer-go-to-bed, do-it-again-the-next-day life, to being able to create art and writings and other amazing things. It must be like discovering a gold mine where you thought was only sticky mud.

People are already fighting AI — the beginning of lawsuits claiming copyright infringements. Good luck with that. I’m betting that will end up in an unsolvable legal morass.

Of course there have to be some limitations — who knows what they are right now, though?

But what if we opened our hearts and minds and arms to the new energy, the new treasure house? What if we said, wow, AI, what else can we do together — and prepare ourselves for the experience of a lifetime?!?

It will be so much fun to see where we take this gargantuan new ride.


text and image © Angela Treat Lyon 2023
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