In my last post, I wrote that there is currently an emergence of AI tools that can create new content, called generative AI. These tools can generate emails, poems, images, and more based on your input (known as prompts).
This is a recent development because the tools emerged only in 2022. The underlying technologies have been developed for several years, but they seemed to reach a tipping point last year with the launch of tools like DALL-E, Midjourney, and ChatGPT.
We are only at the beginning of this new era. When someone at Reddit asked Bill Gates about his views on ChatGPT, his response was “It gives a glimpse of what is to come. I am impressed with this whole approach and the rate of innovation.” So, what we are seeing now is just a glimpse of the future!
The questions are: Will we be threatened by AI? Will AI take over our jobs? How should we approach this new development?
I believe these are important questions. The developers of GPT-4, the newest version of ChatGPT, wrote this in their technical report:
The impact of GPT-4 on the economy and workforce should be a crucial consideration for policymakers and other stakeholders. While existing research primarily focuses on how AI and generative models can augment human workers, GPT-4 or subsequent models may lead to the automation of certain jobs. This could result in workforce displacement. Over time, we expect GPT-4 to impact even jobs that have historically required years of experience and education, such as legal services.
If you think that the current technologies aren’t good enough, then you may be right, but the developers also wrote this:
We think it is important that workers, policymakers, and researchers not focus overly on just the current state of capabilities. We expect GPT-4 to accelerate development of new applications built on top of generative models, and that these applications will often solve more complex tasks than the model on its own.
So, while current technologies may not be good enough, they can accelerate further developments in this field. It is the results of this acceleration that could displace workers.
The good news is, we are still at the early stage of these new developments, so we still have time to prepare ourselves. The bad news is, we’d better start preparing ourselves now. The word acceleration means that things could happen sooner than expected. Before you know it, the seemingly faraway threats could become immediate.
So, what should we do? How should we prepare ourselves?
Well, I believe these are two keys to surviving the threats of generative AI:
- Build your passion for learning.
- Build your willingness to let go.
Let’s dive into them.
1. Build your passion for learning.
As I wrote a while back, a passion for learning is essential. Here is what I wrote:
Today, however, there is an abundance of resources. For instance, you can learn just about anything you want from YouTube. You can buy and download e-books instantly. And there is a very thorough encyclopedia that you can access for free.
That’s why I believe that a passion for learning is essential. If you have a passion for learning, you will be motivated to learn new things. Instead of thinking of it as a chore, you will think of it as an adventure. As a result, you will reap more benefits from the available resources.
In a talk a few years ago, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett were asked about an important trait they have. They both gave the same answer: curiosity. Curiosity is just another way to say a passion for learning. Isn’t it interesting that both of them gave the same answer?
This post has some tips on developing your curiosity.
2. Build your willingness to let go.
This new AI age requires you to adapt to new situations quickly. Having a passion for learning is necessary, but it’s not enough. Why? Because you also need to act upon what you’ve learned.
It’s easier said than done because you might need to leave your comfort zone. You might need to leave a career that you have built for years and start something new. In other words, you might need to reinvent yourself.
I believe that the ability to reinvent yourself will become increasingly important in the future. A good example from the past is Cornelius Vanderbilt who reinvented himself at the age of 69!
These two keys can help you survive and thrive in the age of generative AI. They complement each other: the first one helps you know what to do, and the second one helps you do it. With these, you will be in a good position to face the threats of generative AI.