The Artificial Intelligence footprint is enormous around the world. There are endless companies that have been using advanced AI for many years already. It's easy to feel overwhelmed and left behind when you discover the advancements that have already been made. It feels like you can never catch up and that it would be pointless to try.
The more you dig into this world, the more intimidating it becomes. It is a highly complex, extremely advanced, and very widespread landscape that has been around for over 80 years. It brings up so many ethics questions and concerns about who is owning all this information being collected by these tools, and what they plan to do with it.
It also brings existential questions into play - what does it mean to be human and are we meant to be hunched over computer screens all day long bowing to the whims of someone else's vision of the world? There are so many things on this earth, good and bad, that have always been there; we just didn't know about them. And when you start shining your spotlight of attention onto a subject, you discover the enormous depth of its nature and wonder how you could be so blind or ignorant - this is amplified a thousand-fold in the AI space. It's not a good feeling...
There is also a glaring disconnect between the AI being presented on YouTube, versus AI when Googling the subject that it defies explanation. After spending 7 months watching YouTube videos on a daily basis to play catch up on the technology - it didn't mean a thing. The things I learnt are purely superficial and have no bearing on what the corporates have been doing behind the scenes.
The YouTube content is all about how to make loads of money in just weeks using AI. It is a mind-numbing bombardment of AI tool after AI tool. Endless videos on '10 free tools' to do this, and '20 new tools' to do that, and 'breaking news / you won't believe what happened' nonsense on the other. The overarching message is that if you haven't made a million dollars in a few weeks using AI, you are dumb. It is all smoke and mirrors and none of that content is what is really going on in the world.
In the real world, companies and governments are using robotics, machine learning, deep learning and a whole bunch of other big words I don't understand to build next level systems in the fields of military, medical, financial, automotive, retail, biotech, agriculture and technology. There are global and local conferences; tradeshows, regulatory bodies, trillion-dollar hardware companies, studies being run over decades to track trends, global AI market reports, tech giants and governments meeting behind closed doors; the list goes on. Artificial Intelligence spend is predicted to be over $300 billion in the next 2 years. You will find none of this information YouTube.
Which then begs the question - if you are a beginner to AI, as an individual or a business, where do you even start? If you know nothing about this industry, and you don't know what to search for; you could inadvertently be lead down a very unproductive garden path for months before realising the folly of your investigations. When you don't even know what is possible, you're at risk of getting taken for a ride by bad actors at enormous cost. Yet, the research to learn this is incredibly daunting.
It takes a significant amount of time and money to break into this world - and a new laptop that can handle all the tools. The big budget corporates and governments have had unlimited resources to do as they please. Us mere mortals are left very far behind.
I'm feeling very disillusioned with the AI space this week. Having to watch some bad actors run the show, whilst amazing grass roots movements by incredible human beings get ignored is disheartening. It's all about who has the most money and nothing to do with the ethics of the people calling the shots.
It's time to think about what's really important. AI and technology are not the only activities available on the planet. We live in an incredibly diverse place with countless interesting things to spend our time on.
What really matters to us? What makes our sap rise? What puts a smile on our faces? What makes us feel expansive? That's what we need to pursue, regardless of what the technology world says we must.
It's time to take a break to answer these questions and regenerate the energy centres.