Have you ever had one of those conversations that reveal how stuck you are and show you what you need to move forward? The question was simple: “What are you going to do about AI?” My response was swift, “I don’t know. I’m just not curious about it.” This is where friends in life are helpful to call you on your stuff, “Aren’t you the curiosity guy? Now’s not the time to bury your head in the sand.” Truth comes in many forms. Sometimes we hear it at the moment, but more often, we find the truth in replaying the memory. At least, that’s how it works for me. The reality is that the answer to this question of AI is a lot more complicated and complex. In today’s episode of Getting Work To Work, I’m diving into the many answers to this simple question.
Seven ways to begin answering the question, “What are you going to do about AI?”:
- Don’t succumb to the hype, fear, and panic. That will only create negative feelings that remove the one thing you can control: your agency. Curiosity is not possible when you are amped up and afraid.
- If you can’t control your emotions regarding AI, temporarily turn off any triggering sources while you explore your responses and feelings. This is probably one of the hardest things to do on this list. I couldn’t control my emotions, so I had to start turning off the noise.
- There is a massive difference between adoption and exploration. You don’t have to adopt these tools in your workflow today, so slow down, explore, find what works and doesn’t work. Again, you don’t have to adopt anything yet. Make an account. Try it out. Treat it like a tool to do new and interesting work instead of a harbinger of destruction.
- An important consideration is that identity is at the core of how we respond. What we do is often central to who we are. If we feel our livelihoods are threatened, then we are going to respond accordingly. This isn’t just with AI, this is everything from massive cultural problems and gargantuan societal issues. When we can remember who we are is more than just what we do, we can slow down our fear. We are entering a period of time where the deconstruction and reconstruction of our personal and professional lives is happening faster than ever before. The mid-life crisis is more than that today. We are reinventing yearly, quarterly, sometimes monthly. So, ground your identity in the timeless foundations of life, so that you can weather any storm.
- Get out of your head and volunteer somewhere. Over the weekend, I went to the Oregon City Farmers Market to film some video for the second episode of Getting Work To Work: The Series! In the booth next to the booth I was filming in, I noticed that the banner said, “Proudly made in Washington.” I struck up a conversation, learned about the farmer, she connected me with another farmer. And before I knew it, I had met several people, heard their stories, had fun conversations, and wasn’t thinking about myself. I need to be around people. It helps with curiosity and to remind myself there’s more to life and business than just this one issue.
- Get outside, away from tech, and have a long conversation with a friend. What’s the longest conversation you’ve had recently with a friend? Three-plus hours on a beautiful Northwest day. We were able to talk a lot about what we were wrestling with, a lot of what I’ve shared in this episode. But environment can change everything, even if the topic is the same. I was able to think about AI without being triggered by it. At one point a giant barge went by on the river. I started laughing, and said to my friend, “How can you not smile when a barge has a giant smiley face on it?” It’s hard to be triggered when a barge goes by on the river with a giant smiley face. Change your environment, change your response.
- Develop a hope-centric view of the world. In The Book of Hope: A Survival Guide for Trying Times by Jane Goodall and Douglas Abrams with Gail Hudson, a definition of hope is pursued in the conversation between Goodall and Abrams: “‘Hope,’ Jane said, ‘is what enables us to keep going in the face of adversity. It is what we desire to happen, but we must be prepared to work hard to make it so.’ Jane grinned. ‘Like hoping this will be a good book. But it won’t be if we don’t bloody work at it.'” She continues refining this idea further: “‘Actually, it’s a survival trait,” she finally concluded. “That’s what it is. [Hope] is a human survival trait and without it we perish.”
How ChatGPT responded to: “What are seven ways to answer the question ‘what are you going to do about artificial intelligence?’ in the style of the Getting Work To Work podcast.”
Note: This is the initial prompt without asking any additional questions to shape the content. It is a direct copy-paste from OpenAI’s chat window.
- Connect with experts: One way to get started is to connect with experts who are already working in the field of AI. Attend conferences, seminars, and meetups to learn more about the latest developments and connect with thought leaders.
- Learn about the ethical implications: AI has the potential to transform our world in countless ways, but it’s important to consider the ethical implications of these changes. Take the time to learn about issues like bias, privacy, and accountability in AI, and think about how you can contribute to the conversation.
- Experiment and innovate: AI is a rapidly evolving field, and there are countless opportunities to experiment and innovate. If you’re a developer, consider building a new AI application or tool. If you’re a designer, think about how AI could be used to enhance user experiences. The possibilities are endless!
- Advocate for transparency: As AI becomes more prevalent in our lives, it’s important to advocate for transparency in the way it’s used. Encourage organizations to be upfront about how they’re using AI, and push for greater visibility into algorithms and decision-making processes.
- Collaborate with others: AI is a complex and interdisciplinary field, and it’s unlikely that any one person can solve all of its challenges alone. Look for opportunities to collaborate with others who have different skills and perspectives, and work together to drive progress.
- Learn from failure: AI is a field where failure is common, and it’s important to embrace the learning opportunities that come with setbacks. When things don’t go as planned, take the time to reflect on what went wrong and how you can improve.
- Keep an open mind: Finally, it’s important to keep an open mind about the potential of AI. While there are certainly risks and challenges associated with the technology, there are also countless opportunities for positive impact. By approaching AI with an open mind and a willingness to learn, you can help shape its future in a positive way.
- Luddite on Wikipedia
- “Entering a New World of Art” with Heather Crank (GWTW663)
- Technology adoption life cycle on Wikipedia
- The Book of Hope: A Survival Guide for Trying Times by Jane Goodall and Douglas Abrams with Gail Hudson
- GPT-4 at OpenAI
- Photo by Lukasz Szmigiel on Unsplash