AI Chat: Coming for a Brain Near You. Possibly Yours.

(AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

It is the end of the year, and as much as 2022 has stunk to high heaven, 2023 may not be much better. Of course, there is always the possibility that the Russia/Ukraine conflict will go nuclear, in which case we’re done. But if we somehow manage to continue as a species, will we be worth anything in another 50 years? Maybe not.

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PR Newswire had a press release from Jasper, the developer of a Chrome browser extension for an AI writing program:

Jasper makes generative artificial intelligence accessible to businesses and individual creators alike, enabling them to break through writer’s block, create original art, and repackage content for format, language, and tone. The reach and use cases of Jasper are wide and span from individual creatives to large teams at content forward companies. Jasper has been used to help enterprises scale their content strategies, write and illustrate children’s books, help non-native speakers communicate their ideas more effectively, and enable people to develop daily writing habits.

Jasper’s new browser extension, released for Chrome, enables users to take generative AI with them across the full range of websites and content platforms they use. With the extension, content creators who find themselves stuck can call up Jasper with a single click or keystroke and get contextual recommendations for original content whenever writer’s block strikes. The extension can be found at Jasper.ai and works across Google Docs, Gmail, Notion, HubSpot, Shopify, social media platforms, content management systems and many more content destinations.

In an article on Campus Reform, University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business professor Ethan Mollick was quoted as saying that “AI has basically ruined homework.” Furthermore, because AI essentially learns as it goes, it will make plagiarism a thing of the past. The content will be generated, not stolen.

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Mike Sharples, Emeritus Professor of Educational Technology at The Open University in the UK, wrote in an essay, “Students will employ AI to write assignments. Teachers will use AI to assess them. Nobody learns, nobody gains. If ever there were a time to rethink assessment, it’s now. Instead of educators trying to outwit AI Transformers, let’s harness them for learning.”

Sure, right now it is being touted as a helpful tool, just in case you find yourself in a rut. And AI will relieve students of the burden of researching and writing essays or term papers, and give them more time to do important things, like play online games, and dance and pose on Instagram and TikTok. Which ultimately is not freedom at all. And it has the potential to relieve them of the ability or even the right to think. What the advent of AI could mean to many is that they are now superfluous. Students may not learn anything about the subject at hand, but will they need to learn anything? People will no longer be required to be creative and innovative because there will be no need for them to be either. There may not be much need for people.

During the Space Race in 1962 President John F. Kennedy gave this speech:

“We choose to go to the moon in this decade and to do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”

Soon we will have the option to choose not to do various things not because they are easy or hard, but because we don’t have to do them. Instead, we will be invited to sit back, have a drink or a hit of our drug of choice, join our raiding guilds, dive into a virtual world, or immerse ourselves in the brand of porn that appeals to us. Nothing will be asked of us, and that in turn is what we may become. And so we run the risk of having technology replace man, rather than assist him in his achievements and adventures.

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Of course, AI developers have not factored in the concept of the obsolescence of people. They simply see another thing that has not been done and do not stop to ask what the ramifications may be from moving forward. Humanity is not a component of their thinking. They can write a line of code to do something, so why not?

Today, it is the copy and technical writers and fast food employees whose jobs face extinction. And that number is sure to grow. But eventually, AI will advance to the point that it can write its own code whenever it pleases. And then the developers can join the rest of us on the unemployment line.

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