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Are you horrified or excited about AI?
Will you keep up with this technology? Would it even matter if you had clinical depression? In 2022, 90% of Americans reported experiencing a mental health crisis.
I appreciate how ChatGPT perfectly takes over some tasks, which otherwise you would have to pay a personal assistant or copywriter to do, and it helps save you time. On the other hand, we have to rely on decision-making and trust that the leadership behind the AI companies, such as OpenAI, are working in the best interests of the people rather than those investors who push them to turn it into a money-making machine. I’m a bit skeptical based on how the social media revolution was handled. It has, indeed, created a huge creator market, meaning we now see influencers everywhere, but…
At what price? "An overwhelming majority of people in the United States think the country is experiencing a mental health crisis, according to a new survey from CNN." There are outrageous numbers for mental health crises among teens right now, and honestly, when you experience depression, you don't care about any progress. Although I believe even without being depressed, many New Yorkers would prefer to have fewer rats in NYC than go to Mars at this point, if Elon Musk were to ask for advice on how to spend his billions.
When living in New York or another ambitious megapolis, you are constantly pushing yourself to work more to sustain a life similar to what people around you have, or to be in the right bracket for an upper-middle-class household in the ratings. But does it make you any happier? I remember being happy in New York when I just moved to the city and couldn’t afford anything, but I also did not get to hang out with wealthy people. It was also the time when I only used Instagram for random weird pictures of strangers and places I visited, never posting myself. Now it's all the me-grid, as those get more likes and bring more attention. It's a self-focused crisis that social media has brought upon us. Self-focused is not bad, but crisis doesn’t make one happier.
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With AI, it takes on another dimension. Scientists working on AI products for Microsoft and other companies have confirmed that they experienced pressure from top-level executives to roll out technologies faster than they expected and were planning for. Neither AI nor our brains are willing to adapt to such a fast-paced change where we don't yet have ethical frameworks and don't know exactly who is teaching AI to process and deliver information.
We've already seen how social media algorithms affect our perception and decision-making, and soon we will see AI manipulating them without us even being aware.
Just last week, another chatbot startup, Character.AI, announced a round at a billion-dollar valuation, with Andreessen Horowitz leading the round, a VC firm that the industry trusts almost blindly (even after they led the deal with the collapsed cryptocurrency exchange FTX). At the same time, we are on the edge of a recession and constant layoffs. Money are pouring into AI as that’s become investors’ priority.
Don't get me wrong - I do not oppose technical progress per se (yet). It might be that emotional or conversational chatbots, such as Replika, help people to develop better social skills and make them feel less lonely, as they put it. It might also be that such bots would be able to keep people hostage as much in the app as they need them to sell ads, gather data, and strike up partnerships.
What I'm saying is that we must be aware of the not-so-glossy side of AI, and maybe slow down a bit to keep track of what's going on within those developments