AI: Boon or Bane?

Yeah, yeah, an over-dramatic title many will skip. But that’s fine. The people I really want to chat with are the one’s who won’t skip it, not based on the title, but because they are interested in what I have to say on the topic.

Also the TL;DR crowd can leave knowing that whether AI is a boon or bane is entirely dependent upon how you use it, and most especially for what tasks. If you use it as a boost and assistant for tasks you could do without it then it is certainly a boon. But if you use it as a crutch, on tasks you couldn’t do as well without it, then you rob yourself of the lessons you could learn by working it out - you’ll never learn to walk without that crutch.

You need to be very mindful, and tactical, about exactly what you use AI for, and whether you are using AI to avoid the pain and discomfort of learning, (Bane territory), instead of using AI to eliminate mere drudgery and repetitiveness where you have nothing further to learn, (Boon territory).

The problem is that we are human. Our organic minds don’t just rely on pure logic and reasoning, but instead often make instinctive, gut decisions and then rationaliize all the logic afterwards. Neuroscientists were pretty amazed to learn this, and its a relatively recent discovery, as it had to wait for modern MRI scanning technology to see what is really going on in a brain, without surgery that stops the activity completely.

Some 90% of decisions are made before any activity occurs in the reasoning/thinking parts of the brain. And our brains lie to us in that reasoning and rationalization, telling us we did it all based on this logic and that rationale, where in truth, we just added that into the narrative afterward.

So, your brain is certainly more than capable of telling you you know enough about writing creatively to outsource it and not have to work.

People often comment on my writing. Certainly on the length of my replies and comments, many of them assuming that my long comments must have taken hours to write, instead of pouring out in mere moments. Others comment on my precise language, and how I (despite lengthy posts) still write in a way that concisely and precisely crams a lot of detail into relatively few, precisely chosen words.

Well, like anyone else I wasn’t born literate. My skills (such as they are) and speed of writing are the result of daily practice, across decades. The more I write, the better I get at it. Just like building muscle and exercising, or indeed any skill or discipline, the more you do it, the easier it gets.

The same fact that practice is the greatest teacher applies to coding as much as writing, to problem solving, to critical thinking. These things are hard at first, for everyone, but the more you do them the easier they get. And not just easier, but better. Just like regular exercise may give you physical performance that nobody can beat without such training.

If you use AI to do things for you, instead of with you, you are cutting that experiential learning out of the equation.

If you use AI to do tasks such as reading long texts and summarizing them for you then you lose out on the essential learning and regular practice of how to speed-read and quickly pick out all salient points - with a far greater depth of understanding than any current AI has.

If you use AI to do ‘research’ for you the same applies, and even more noticeable is that it will miss the things that a trained and experienced human could have seen. That may seem okay to those who are not trained and experienced, and if research is a one-off task you’ll never need again and have no need to improve, then go for it. But if research is going to be an ongoing part of your works, and a part of the value you need to bring, then investing into practicing and honing that skill yourself is vital.

Anyway - those are where my random thoughts are going today. What’s your take? Have you wondered yet if humanity will dumb itself down by relying too heavily on outsourcing brainwork and avoiding mental exercise?

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Thank you. I much prefer to read observational content over AI generated content. I appreciate it when somebody actually writes something

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