It has been difficult to consume all the news posted this spring about artificial intelligence (AI). There have been multiple announcements (sometimes simultaneous) by multiple companies. Most of the news released has been about developments moving into beta, and practically all of it was about versions that will be available before the summer of 2023. And the flood of new information continues unabated.
I am writing this because my belief is that this spring of AI is worth reflecting on for a few moments. It has been a remarkable few months. Sooner or later it can be good news for every human on the planet and the humans to come, if we play our cards right.
What do the technology leaders say about this?
One of the most quotable comments about these developments came from Jensen Huang, CEO of NVIDIA: “We are at the iPhone moment of AI”. Bill Gates also had an optimistic observation about the presentation the OpenAI team gave him in the fall of 2022: “I knew I had just seen the most important advance in technology since the graphical user interface.” (I recommend reading “The Age of AI Has Begun” by Gates on GatesNotes.com.
It is easy to predict what Gates believes are the promises of AI for the world:
- reduction of some of the world’s worst inequities,
- personal assistants for people,
- huge boosts in productivity,
- huge advances in health,
- boosts in education
The challenges of AI for the learning business
For now, we have a smaller set of outcomes that we can strive for. It's a smaller set and not easily achievable as long as we don't lose the vision.
- Making health and climate change more equitable.
- Reducing the injustice done to the people who suffer the most.
- Realizing the payoff for education.
- Making sure that everyone — not just those who are well-off — benefits from AI.
There are many more benefits to come. At the same time, there are risks and problems with AI.
No AI yet understands contexts, and that may always be true. We still have a long way to go before we arrive at AGI (Artificial General Intelligence). I don't have a TLA (Three Letter Acronym) for it yet, but I hope we achieve some measure of Universal Human Wisdom before we get to AGI.
What can we practitioners do in the age of AI?
We can do what no AI can do:
- Show compassion for other humans.
- We can each make someone’s life at least a little better every day.
Always remember you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think and twice as beautiful as you'd ever imagined. Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself. – Rumi