AI: The Surprising Sidekick

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Augmenting Human Intelligence

In seemingly no time at all, the topic of artificial intelligence has reached and dominated the forefront of many discussions and concerns. We worry about its speed of development against the comparative lethargy of safeguards and regulations. We fear its impact on us in an era of ever-looming layoffs and towering inflation. Yet neglected through the miasma of fear is the potential for optimism.

As the Wall Street Journal’s J.R. Whalen and Cordilia James discuss in this podcast, early adoption might be more constructive to our daily lives than anxious objection. Current AI models have been shown to alleviate the everyday drudgery of simple tasks, either by splashing an outline onto a blank page, handling repetitive chores, or even summarizing meetings for us. Through these simple functions, AI has provided the unsung benefit of freeing up our cognitive resources for tasks requiring our organic creativity and ingenuity.

Nonetheless, we must also consider the undeniable ethical quandaries to be found along the road ahead. Such quandaries rapidly erupted to the top of public recognition in the wake of last year’s conflict within OpenAI, neatly summarized in this podcast series by Wondery. The intricate drama played out between OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, its former board of directors, and Microsoft had many of us watching in suspense and bewilderment.

Nevertheless, the dust settled with its clear winners and losers, and AI has continued to become an increasingly integral part of daily life. For years, this has been most commonly evident in our prevalent use of virtual assistants like Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri. We delegate to these seemingly simple AI models the setting of our daily alarms or timers, the management of our calendars, or as a conduit by which to deliver and read messages vocally. As we no longer have to task ourselves with such things, so too have others come to use generative AI models to aid in financial planningmedical diagnoses and other more complicated tasks.

The delegating of tasks to AI not only alleviates cognitive fatigue but, as this CNBC coverage emphasizes, makes many of us more productive. These tools have shown the potential for incredible mental relief during a time of increasingly high levels of burnout.

As highlighted by this TED-Ed video, we are now in one of the most significant eras of human history. AI tools continue to demonstrate their value and soon may be able to help remedy our other challenges. Indeed, the time may come when we can look to these tools to help us maneuver relational difficulties or social intricacies.

One thing for certain is that this evolving landscape of intelligence—and our navigation thereof—will define the future of work and our society at large.

“Artificial intelligence is not a substitute for human intelligence; it is a tool to amplify human creativity and ingenuity.”
– Fei-Fei Li

Do you have an idea you want to share with an empowered community of self-aware professionals? If you’d like to contribute an idea or article to ‘In The Flow of Work’ on the Evolve blog, just send us a message or submit a post to our Head of Content, Adam Schneider

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