Click HERE to watch video.
The Power of ChatGPT.
According to the book The Printing Revolution in Early Modern Europe, back in the 1440s, “…the first craftsmen to introduce printing in Italy (and in France and Spain) came from Germany. These pioneers were followed by their compatriots (until they) provoked complaints about ‘German interlopers driving honest Italian scribes out of work.’”
The book The Unsung Heroes, a History of Print says the response to the invention of the printing press was bad enough that it “…led many superstitious people… to equate printing with Satan because it seemed to be magical.”
But once the practical applications of the printing press were understood by the Roman Catholic Church, Gutenberg’s position was enhanced. In 1465, the archbishop of Mainz pensioned Gutenberg, awarding him grain, wine, and clothing, and exempting him from certain taxes.
But it wasn’t just the invention of the printing press that generated controversy and conflict.
Starting with Britain’s Vaccination Act of 1853, all the way to today’s rejection of COVID vaccines, some have considered vaccinations a “foreign assault on traditional order.”
And there’s more…
According to CNN, “The first passenger elevator opened in New York City in 1857” but it was “closed in 1860 because nobody wanted to ride it.”
Canada banned margarine from 1886 to 1948.
When my father was in architecture school, he was not allowed to bring a slide rule to class. He only learned to master one when he trained as a navigator in the Air Force. When I was in college, we were not allowed to bring calculators into math class (although by then a slide rule was permitted). And then, when my son took algebra some 30 years after me, bringing an HP graphing calculator to the same class was not only allowed, but was a mandatory requirement.
From the beginning of recorded history to the English Luddites in the early 1800s to today’s Neo-Luddites, fear of new technology is nothing new. According to Wikipedia, “Neo-Luddism stipulates the use of the precautionary principles for all new technologies, insisting that technologies be proven safe before adoption due to the unknown effects that new technologies might inspire.”
Watching people’s over-the-top reactions to AI and the power of ChatGPT, I can’t help but hear Yogi Berra quipping “It’s deja vu all over again.”
New York City Schools, along with their peers in Los Angeles, Seattle, and Baltimore, have banned the use of ChatGPT by their students. So have schools in Western Australia, New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmania, and lots of places in between.
And it’s not just limited to primary education. Colleges and Universities in France, India, and other places around the world have banned the AI research tool.
But not every school is reacting with backward-looking horror. Schools in Missouri and Vermont permit the technology but have altered their honor codes. Both the State University in Buffalo, NY, and Furman University in North Carolina are creating required curricula for incoming freshmen to show them how to use the new tools in productive and responsible ways.
When science fiction author Arthur C. Clark wrote that “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic,” he could certainly have been talking about the power of ChatGPT. Not only is the new technology staggering in its implications, but so is interest around it. When I had the AI bot write my blog post a couple of weeks ago and then used AI to produce the video without shooting a custom vlog, the post received more interest and comments than anything I’ve written in 15 years.
The Power of ChatGPT.
While discussing ChatGPT’s importance and implications requires a lot more space than this blog (or your attention span) would allow, the conclusion is simple: like all the inventions we talked about at the beginning of this discussion, AI is not going away. The smart response, therefore, is not to run from it or to duck your head in the sand like the proverbial ostrich, but to embrace the change and look to discover how you can use the power of ChatGPT to improve your business and your life.
Thanks for this forward looking post. I’m intrigued by ChatGPT but haven’t had the opportunity to play with it yet. Interesting to hear the effect it had on your blog post stats!
I’m with you on the historic account of people’s general fear of innovation. With the clarity and benefit of hindsight, it’s easy now to look back and cast it as plain old fear of change.
While I share your enthusiasm for this tech, I fear the impact it will have on people’s intellectual growth in the same way our physical health has been impacted by machines replacing so much of our physical efforts.
In the old days, a couch potato had to get their ass up to change the channel. The raging obesity we’re experiencing today is a direct result of people’s over dependance on machines (and their weakness to eat properly and exercise regularly.)
We’ve become a “fat” society not due to machines, but to our own human mindset. My fear is house here – when machines start replacing our thinking, will we end up “fat” and “stupid” over the next few decades.
Hi Bruce, I was surprised that there was not one ounce of skepticism in your post. Just except this blindly like we did the internet or social media sites and they don’t have any horrible repercussions do they? There are so many people and “bots” that are waiting to corrupt technology for their own gain. One thing I have learned as a geezer is that don’t be cynical but be skeptical. Don’t except everything including technology right off the bat let it settle then decide if it works for you or not. I hope you and your family are doing well and sure miss jamming with you Bruce!!!
I miss playing music with you too, Kevin. Thanks for your kind words.
The reason you didn’t find skepticism in my post was that I was not writing about what I thought about the implications of Generated Media. Instead, I was trying to focus on the pointlessness of trying to shut the barn door after the horse has run out.
The reality is that ChatGPT and its peers are here to stay. Parents, politicians, academicians, professionals, et al, need to stop legislating against its use and instead start figuring out how to make it fit into society in a responsible way. Otherwise its corrosive effects will rival the bad consequences of other “innovations” including social media, high-fructose corn syrup, and drum tracks.