Is Artificial Intelligence Taking Over?
During our annual meeting, we talked about artificial intelligence since it really opened itself to the public last year. I’m sure you’ve all seen it; AI generating image filters on Tiktok to AI generating written content like ChatGPT – Some people are thrilled because of all the things you can create and some are wary.
We’re here to give our take and address the elephant in the room..
Is AI taking over?
This is a fairly big and vague question. When I think of this, my mind will automatically go to the i, Robot movie with Will Smith where the robots end up taking over the world (or something like that, it’s been awhile..)
But then there’s the slightly less dramatic fear of “Is AI going to take our jobs?”
Let’s back up a little and bring in Skyler to see what brought on the mindset of technology and community when we first started Site Savvy.
Technology + Community
This is the mindset we’ve had since we started. The reason we feel so comfortable interlacing the two is because we know without a doubt that technology will never fully be able to replace the human connection.
Sky: We are heavily influenced by a really cool startup in Richland Washington called &yet, where my wife used to work. Their tagline was, “People first.” Even though they were working for Walmart and doing some really impressive technology stuff, they were always putting on these conferences that included artists, poets, writers, people in construction, engineers, developers, and coders. They saw that all of these professions are related and the same, which is not how a lot of people look at it. These are all creators at the root.
The arts influence technology, and technology influences the arts. If we embrace the combination, then you’re a lot closer to something holistic and fun and engaging for the community.
Taking it a step further, we have to remember that technology is here to improve the human experience. If we end up taking the human experience out of something, then it doesn’t have any value anymore. We are the observers of the world; we’re the ones that all of this is here for.Skyler Young, Co-Owner | Developer
What’s the point of having a bunch of robots run everything if humans are out of the picture? Who cares? Nobody would care at that point; they’d just hates the robots, right? That’s what everybody’s afraid of. Most humans are making things for humans.
Our tagline is ‘Technology + Community’, we’re always keeping the two of them at the forefront of our minds. The things we do with technology should improve or strengthen community ties and relationships. It’s the same idea of: “People first.” Not technology, people first.
Ben: It should be an enhancement, not a loss. Every time we’ve had technological advancements, yes; jobs are lost. But that generally leads to enhanced and better opportunities for different types of jobs for those same people.
Sky: The trick into the future isn’t worrying about losing jobs, it’s understanding what kinds of new roles humans are going to play and prepare yourself for that.
Will Artificial Intelligence Be Smarter Than Us?
Supercomputer vs Human
Ben: When I think of AI in a fearful state, I first wonder, ‘What if it gets smarter than us?’ Do we think that’s happening?
Sky: So, let’s talk about this idea of Centaurs, but instead of part-human part-horse, you’re part-human part-machine. The machine is there to augment the human abilities and make you a more effective human usually in certain specific technical ways. A good example would be from 1997 when an IBM supercomputer called Deep Blue beat Garry Kasparov, the world chess champion at the time and arguably the best chess player in history. For hundreds of years, believe it or not, people had been trying to make machines that would beat humans at chess and use that as a defining moment of, ‘Hey look, machines are just as good as we are.’
But chess is highly specific, first of all, like highly highly specific. It took them a lot of effort to beat a human at just that one thing. But secondly, it immediately spawned a subculture of chess players, called ‘freestyle’, where you’re not just human and you’re not just machine, but you’re a human with a computer. You use the human component for citing on a long-term strategy or a goal or coming up with a novel; a potential solution for a weird problem. Then you combine that with the massive computational power of a computer, that can iterate through potentially millions of chess moves and give you some feedback on how to implement that idea. How could that be successful? What are the odds of it succeeding; right?
Now imagine how powerful even a moderate chess player could be with that kind of data at their fingertips. ‘I have this idea, what are the odds that it will succeed and what’s the optimal way to implement this?’ Boom, you get that feedback. The computers are not super great at that type of thinking. A human still comes up with things that a computer never would. Sometimes a computer comes up with a thing a human never would. But it takes the human to look at it and say, ‘Oh, that’s an interesting idea. Let’s try that one. I can see how that would tie in to a different strategy.’
Ben: Like when 1 + 1 = 3 sometimes; you can come up with a more evolved solution without more inputs. But computers only work on inputs, like zeros and ones. They’re not coming up with something new, they’re generally pulling from something else.
Sky: They’re just computing odds. What’s really interesting is that humans are not super great at determining with 100% accuracy when they should do what the computer says. Nor is the computer super good at determining with accuracy when it should do what the human says. So what you have is a vastly enhanced output or capability for the human and still a lot of art. It’s an art-form knowing when to go with the computer and when to stick to your own guns. That itself is an interesting field of study.
But getting back to the point; this sounds a lot like community doesn’t it? We’re better together. A human is better with technology and technology is better with a human.
AI Examples You Have Worked With
Sky: The big one out there right now is Chat GPT and I know some people, without getting into specifics because they’re making some applications, but tangentially, they’re using it to do the bulk of drafting for contracts. It spits out a lot of the technical language, a lot of the volume of the words, especially in certain situations where you have to hit certain word counts. They’re requiring that you build out some fluff and a lot of details, so you can say, ‘Hey, Chat GPT, give me 2000 words on this topic.’ and it’s gonna give you some really good stuff that you can lightly edit and be good to go. That’s really powerful.
It’s also being used for code generation. I pay 10 bucks a month right now for GitHub copilot. In the old days when I would type out a line of code, maybe a really intelligent system would give me some autocomplete suggestions that would finish the line. But now it will spit out up to hundreds of lines of code. I can write a comment and say, ‘I need a code function that does XYZ.’ and it just blurts out the whole thing and it’s usually really good. That’s a massive time saver for developers and coders.
Ben: I’ve seen a new one for parking tickets and traffic tickets. It’s an AI lawyer; they have all the forms and all the stuff that lawyers normally do. They pre-fill it, then have an actual lawyer review it and sends it on and tries to help you fight those claims.
Sky: Ben, this is an exciting intersection of two technologies; imagine combining that with the blockchain smart contract technology and then having an AI that helps you find the right ones. That’s a potent combination. The world doesn’t need another fiat currency, but the underlying technology still has some exciting use-cases.
Ben Shows Example of Jasper.ai
(Watch our video to follow Ben along on the screenshare)
Ben: So Leah, I’m going to try to write a better blog article than yours using Jasper.ai. Okay, so I’m going to use ‘The one shot blog post.’
Jasper.AI has read the Internet; I think it has digested about 80% of the internet? And then it pulls content and ideas, re-words it so that it doesn’t meet any plagiarism and gives you outputs. I’ve been really liking this ‘one shot blog post’ output, because you don’t have to give it much and then you get a decent amount of content that you can rewrite.
Sky: Oh, it looks like Jasper uses open-AI under the hood. So it uses the same fundamental technology that Chat GPT does.
Ben: Yup. So this will give you not just one full blog, but three full blogs. I’m finding that the content is usually pretty good. For me, I like making content better, but I struggle with sitting down and typing words out a lot. So a lot of the content in there is from stuff I’ve read, so you can just digest it and use it for a blog or social posts.
Sky: Here’s the fun thing; these things thrive the more specific feedback you give it. For example; you can feed it the tone that you want, an outline of points that you want to hit and it’ll come back with really good stuff that you just have to edit.
Ben: Some of the templates are way more intricate, and provide a lot more detailed content. I think it’d be really good for a lot of E-commerce companies to use because it can give you a pretty detailed description of the product you’re selling. But when you’re trying to sell a service like ours, you can’t use any of their templates because it doesn’t really work for our content since we’re a branding service. I’ve tried to run a couple of those and it didn’t get it very well because branding is too abstract of a deliverable.
But if you’re selling a product, then you can build out some cool content. There are a lot of options and templates to use in Jasper.ai. I like this one, ‘Explain it to a child.’ Sometimes that’s definitely needed. The other one I use a lot is when I’ve written something, you can throw it in and it will give you an improved or rewritten version. So it doesn’t delete it, but it enhances it just like having someone fleshing out a paper for you.
Sky: I’d be really interested to see what the results would be of taking the transcription from Otter.ai, dropping it into Jasper.ai, and asking it to give me a few different formatted articles based on this content.
Ben: This is about $150/mo – it’s not cheap. I’m using a lot of AI power and people have to realize that there’s a cost related to it, it’s not just magic. There’s computational costs on servers using power and energy at the same time. So while we’re losing maybe a person writing this, we’re gaining jobs as well to manage this – it’s a give and take.
Is Using AI Taking the Easy Route?
Leah: So I’m gonna play the devil’s advocate, because I’ve gotten this a lot being in the world of technology. What would you guys say to someone that looks at us using AI, and they don’t really view it as hard work or even quality work? How do you explain the efficiency behind it so we can spend our time doing a better job with other things?
Sky: Listen. I’m running multiple businesses. I have a thousand things to do right now and if I can save two hours writing a blog article, I’m going to do it. I have so many other things to do that AI can’t do for me:
– I’m architecting software.
– I’m trying to figure out a sales and marketing campaign for national Connect 211.
– I’m constantly fielding support requests and having meetings with people who are making updates to our clients search engines.
– I’m sitting on the board for an international data specification and constantly giving them feedback and trying to engineer and architect and find bugs in these data specifications.
My God, it’s hard you know. It’s increasingly hard to be competitive in this world and you have to do a lot of things to keep up and AI just gives me a little extra reach to get some things done and put my focus on where the value really is. To me that’s the overarching theme of AI: if a computer can do it, it’s not worth your time. I’m sorry, but you as a human have better potential spending time on things that computers can’t do. Like Ben said, AI is still fundamentally just massive computation. Yes, there’s more complexity to it than that, but it still takes a human to be strategic. It takes a human to be creative and novel. It takes a human to care and to love.
It’s why we’re doing in any of it.
Ben: Even the best AI’s out there today have been trained by a human. Just because it’s really easy for me to write a blog now, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t require my human eyes to review it and to make sure I’m using it correctly, and it’s not saying anything crazy. That’s where the human relationship with technology and community comes together.
Leah: I think “working hard” over the years has looked so different. Especially now. Every year since the internet became a thing, our culture and technology gets more and more fast paced. Everyone is always on the move and you either join their speed, go faster, or get out of the way. So we’re put in this position of needing to figure out how to succeed in a fast paced environment.
Ben: Things are much more connected now. Before the internet, if there was an earthquake, you’d hear about it by telephone a few days later. You didn’t get the information instantaneously. But now? We know about an earthquake the second it happens from our phones. It’s crazy. We’re a much more connected society now which means we have to scale at a different pace and that allows technology to provide a lot of uses in that scale.
Sky: Here’s an interesting misconception. In a world of AI, the only job for humans is a desk job. I say this because I have a lot of friends who want to work with their hands. The Industrial Revolution turned humans into widgets that all help turn out the same little widgets. We’re all just widgets and we’re making more widgets and everybody gets the same kind of chair being turned out by this assembly line. It increased the amount of quality but reduced the amount of variety in chairs. If you go back in time, every chair was unique because every chair was handmade by somebody. There was a lot of craftsmanship that went into that. Then the Industrial Revolution kind of made craftsmanship harder to be viable as a career and everybody worked in a factory.
We’re essentially having all those factory jobs get replaced by computers now. Artificial intelligence can do a certain amount of designing and making of things, but it’s all based on what humans have already done. All the art being generated by AI has been trained on the artwork that some human already created. They haven’t created things on their own that is particularly appealing to humans. We’re the ones that matter, like I’m sorry, but we are. Imagine as you go into this future age, it’s not that you’re going to lose your factory job, it’s that you can gain the opportunity to be a craftsman again. As AI continues to make those assembly line chairs, anybody who wants a work-of-art is still going to need to find a craftsman who had the original conception for something.
Hopefully in a happy future, the world is not perfect and there’s a lot of ways this can go off the rails, but hopefully people get liberated. Technology does the boring stuff but society still gets sustained and people can focus on that really valuable human component of art, uniqueness, and creativity.
AI Apps That We Use
These are some of the applications that we work with for our own marketing purposes as well as clients.
jasper.ai – create written content for blogs, advertisements, product descriptions, social media posts, etc.
Otter.ai – transcribe video calls in real time or upload videos.
When we record our podcasts, like this one, we have this recording us as we talk, and it transcribes in real time. Then after we’ve finished the call, I can copy and paste all this into a blog post, edit it a little bit and now you have a blog! Now I don’t have to write up everything that we just talked about; it saves so much time.
chatbot.com – add a 24/7 customer service conversational chatbot to your website
analytics.google.com – add an analytics code to your site so you can track analytics of clients.
canva.com – I’m constantly surprised by everything Canva has been coming up with lately. But for this example, you can generate any image that you want: ‘just type what you’d like to see, and watch it come to life’. This is a huge deal because instead of trying to find that perfect image you want, you can just create it!
Real World Artificial Intelligence Applications
Here’s a list of real world examples that AI has already dramatically effected; learn more about each example.
- Social Media
- Space Exploration
Don’t be afraid to try out AI tools to benefit your business!
From generating images with a string of text to creating written content for your site, blog, ads, or social media posts; there’s a lot of potential out there.