AI will prove what we’ve known forever: The things of progress won’t save us, better people and users will.

by Bob Schwartz

ChatGPT by DALL-E 2

You can’t have missed the exponential explosion of AI. A column today is headlined “This changes everything”. It opens with a quote from the CEO of Google: “A.I. is probably the most important thing humanity has ever worked on. I think of it as something more profound than electricity or fire.”

To begin, the title of “the most important thing humanity has ever worked on” probably belongs to the atomic bomb and its progeny. No matter how good or bad those other developments have been, the real possibility of wiping out huge portions of humanity and the planet in short order dwarfs them all.

But that is instructive. Whether it’s AI or any of the other things that the modern world keeps offering us, these are things used by people, by those in power or in our individual lives, for better or worse. Drugs, for one, have made lives healthier for so many, have saved so many lives. Drugs have also ruined and ended so many lives. You can say positive things about social media, or at least their potential, but we’ve seen their demonstrated ability to do harm.

So while we consider AI, consider that it is people using the things of progress. Using them gladly, beneficially, ignorantly. Misusing them, abusing them. We have been advised for thousands of years, in the most ancient wisdom sources, to look at ourselves, attend to ourselves, and realize our best selves, so that whatever comes along, we will make the best, not the worst, of it. Better living through better people. That’s the progress that can save us.

© 2023 by Bob Schwartz (human written)