There is a lot of buzz about ChatGPT these days. People are using it to write children’s books, ask some of life’s toughest questions, and even use it as a replacement for Google search (for which it’s very efficient). However, with all of its upsides, I can’t help but wonder what it will do to humanity and society as a whole.
We’re Already Soft
And ChatGPT is only going to make us softer. First-world society has given birth to a generation who’s entitled to luxuries our predecessors couldn’t even imagine having. They have also redefined struggle and mental health has become a concern for those having a perfectly privileged human experience. This is mostly due to the comforts provided by first-world societies and the lack of resistance needed to develop willpower, compassion, and a strong mind. Not to mention, schools are getting progressively easier in order to meet the rising decline in cognitive performance among young children. This is why a good life seems hard for the new generation. Imagine it like this: If you stay in bed for most of your life, something as normal as walking will be next to impossible, and this is what tools like ChatGPT can do to the mind. It can become the crutch that takes the legs from underneath us. It can do to writing, problem solving… and effort, what the calculator has done to mental math.
It’s Going to Stunt Its Own Growth
While many hype what versions 4, 5, and 6 will look like, I for one, think it will have a hard time progressing. The tool itself depends on human creativity and the overall database of human consciousness. The problem is, it’s the very thing it’s destroying so the data will become a loop of its own work. It will do the opposite of what it should do in the same way social media has.
Social media was supposed to be a way for us to connect with people and to break out of our box of thinking by discovering new worlds and new points of view. Instead, it has made everyone more lonely and depressed than ever, all the while its algorithms work harder and harder to show us more information that supports our biases (no matter how flawed).
Even commercially, we’re shown more of the interests we already have. This prevents us from reaching new worlds, discovering new people, and having new thoughts. A tool of limitless reach and expansion, that boxed you into a locale that you don’t even physically experience anymore.
A.I. is supposed to be the next leap in human evolution. It’s supposed to help solve problems and allow people to focus on self-actualization, but it can also do the opposite. Mostly because this isn’t actually A.I.
Tools like ChatGPT are not actual intelligence. They are a set of complex algorithms that are fueled by human intelligence. It can’t think, it can’t draw real conclusions, it can’t bring anything new into the world that doesn’t exist already. It does, however, do just enough to help the human of today do even more to avoid that barrier to true creativity and productivity. What author Steven Pressfield calls the “resistance”.
It’s easy to read this and think of it as negative. However, don’t mistake this as me blaming the tool. At the end of the day, it all comes back to the end user: us.
We’re all finding it hard to adapt and evolve into a more demanding life year after year. Tools like this will make it easier to “quit” an effort and find the easy way out of making any. It’s a way out of anxiety, it’s a way out of the pressure of goals and deadlines created by demanding jobs.
It’s a way out of having to think for yourself. All of which are often good for our growth.
Most of society is pushed forward by a handful of people, and the rest of humanity gets to reap the benefits by providing their contribution to the system in the form of time and labor. The problem is that so far, those handfuls of people have done good enough to take care of the first-world human’s basic needs.
We’ve all got our physiological needs taken care of. We teach kids how to achieve their basic level of needs, but there is no one driving the world forward to push for humans to know how to fulfill our psychological and spiritual needs. If anything, we’re doing our best to kill it off.
Entrepreneurs are continuously focused on technology because that is where the dollars get made. But as technology is pushed forward, human beings are being left behind. We’re close to achieving interplanetary travel, birthing kids in artificial wombs, making lab-made meat, and yet, human beings still suffer from the common cold. Worse yet, millions of people are stuck in a mental health prison of depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, etc.
Technology has helped fulfill our physiological needs, but it’s hurting us psychologically. It is slowly destroying what makes humans special, what brought us to be these amazingly creative beings in the first place.
In order for us to be able to take advantage of this technology and help it make humanity better, we have to first move up the ladder of needs and educate society on what it means to be a human. We have to tackle purpose, self-expression, love, and compassion. We have to teach people how to maintain community values despite the community being a billion times bigger.
The graphic above is a hierarchy of “needs”, not wants, not “nice to haves”, it is a hierarchy of needs and the average human being needs more than just the fulfillment of basic mammalian desires.
We, as a unit, have to teach the new generation that life is more than what we see here, and all of this is only here to aid us in self-actualization.
Until we make this a priority, tools powered by the internet like ChatGPT, will only work to make humans weaker and move us further away from our true path to evolution.
Like any good marketer, I have to end with a call to action:
Let’s focus on evolving with the technology we create, rather than allowing it to make us useless. There is no more important time to reshape education, otherwise, we run the risk of becoming the tool…not the user.