We’ve had a ton of buzzwords since the onset of the Internet. Every time they’re met with equal forms of skepticism, and a whole lot of hoopla. Remember when Big Data and Cloud Computing were hot? Remember how “the Algorithm” was the thing before “Artificial Intelligence (AI)?”
With all the conversations around AI, it’s hard to actually figure out how we can utilize these incredible tools. Cloud Computing has quickly become the norm for many of us that used to rely on buying our software on CDs. Soon, Artificial Intelligence will become just as common.
Let’s dive into the realities of AI – what it is, what it isn’t, and, no, your job won’t be replaced by AI. In fact, it might be more secure now than before.
Artificial intelligence is a tool.
It isn’t new software, it isn’t new workflows, and it shouldn’t be changing how we have processes. Let’s make this concrete, though.
Think about washing clothes. Not all that long ago in human history, people had to wash clothes in a stream or a river. Then we got smarter about it. Think of the time saved, the walking time shortened, and the cleanliness heightened. We still are doing the chore, it’s just a whole lot faster now.
Now imagine AI as the best washing machine we’ve ever seen. The work still has to be done, told to get done, and added to our to-do lists. AI is able to capture those to-do lists, do them more quickly and efficiently, and free up more time for us to worry about being creative and strategic instead of doing manual work.
Artificial intelligence is incredibly powerful.
Now that we’ve set the stage that it’s a tool, why is it so powerful? Let’s look at some use cases to illustrate how powerful it can be:
- If you want a coffee mug in the background of your image with appropriate shadows – boom, one click. Adjust the lighting of your image in your post – again, one click.
- Developers can utilize tools like GitHub Copilot to have a buddy in the cockpit with them as they code – like having another person to bounce ideas off the entire time. No more typing boilerplate code again. (As a hobbyist developer myself, it’s absolutely saving me hours of Googling while also teaching me solid practices.)
- Down the road, it will have extensions for video editing, photo editing, and more.
It will not be taking your job.
It’s very easy for all of us to say this over and over as we wonder how quickly we should update our LinkedIn account, but let’s explore what that actually means.
Let me provide a personal example: I am not an artist, not by any stretch. I might understand how AI works in theory, but it’s still only a tool in practice. A poorly taken photo in my hands will still just look like a poorly taken photo, but with AI added. Real designers, real artists, and real creativity make anything special happen. It can just happen faster for them now, and that’s a positive for all of us.
When I first learned about ChatGPT, I was a kid on Christmas again. My friends hopped into a call, and immediately the ideas started: everything from chocolate chip cookie recipes but with garlic (and it added some nice touches) to full musicals about specific friend group moments.
Look at AI with the whimsy we all had for Google for the first time, opening our first app, video games, or whichever piece of technology made you giddy.
Personally, I’ve used it for story ideas for a few video game projects I have, project management lists for house chores, and some crafting ideas. You’d be shocked at how great it is to have a partner in crime when you’re working on personal projects. Let AI work as that.
Artificial Intelligence likely isn’t going anywhere, but it’s also not all that “new.” It’s a natural evolution of a whole lot of things. Computers and the Internet eventually led us to spellcheck and to tell Alexa to turn our Christmas lights on. Remember how exciting those things were? AI is that and so much more, and we’re only just scratching the surface.