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Exploring the Potential of AI

In this blog, we discuss curiosity, collaboration, and human guidance and some thoughts on using Artificial intelligence in our work and lives.

AVENIR consists of various expertise in sectors of industry, from NFP to education and beyond, and we are seeing AI disrupt and bring confusion and angst to many of our former contemporaries. With university students using AI to write term papers and billions of dollars being invested in California’s Silicon Valley, AI is the talk of the town.

But what if instead of angst and uproar, we saw AI as a tool? As Adi Ignatius penned in his Editor’s note in the latest Harvard Business Review, ‘If we’re lucky, generative AI will – like calculators and the internet before it – help us discover entirely new ways to unlock value.’

We are excited and embracing the new possibilities this technology can bring to leadership, life, and what it means to be human in this new age.

Here are three insights, we think you can engage with AI in a thoughtful way:

Choose Curisoity

Humanity has a collective ability to underestimate or overestimate the effects of technology on civilization and society. 

For instance, in 1909, Scientific American published a full issue on the automobile. The issue reported that the automobile had reached its peak evolution and would simply become a blip in the story of human progress. One article notes, ‘The automobile has practically reached the limit of its development, as suggested by the fact that during the past year no improvements of a radical nature have been introduced.’ Needless to say, automobiles quickly surpassed the use of horses and buggies. However, in the blockbuster film Back to the Future II, the erratic scientist Doc Brown creates a hover car and famously quips, ‘Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.’

We are experiencing a new phase in the technological revolution, and AI may follow a similar path to the automobile. As one columnist notes, 

“Anybody can say we will have flying cars or establish a lunar base, but it is much harder to invent flying cars or take us to the Moon. Anybody can hold forth about what AI will or will not do. Rarer are those with the intention and means to bring such possibilities to life. These people we ought to take more seriously.” 

Instead of falling to the fear mongering and op-eds that either present AI as a saviour or on the other end as a doomsday initiative. Perhaps a better lens is one of curiosity.

Tool not Substitute 

Earlier this year, some schools in Australia placed a ban on ChatGPT, one of the largest AI companies, as students had been using it to write or complete their assignments. However, some teachers have made comments that the ban is not sustainable and that AI should be seen as a tool to promote more engaging learning and exploring new possibilities for the next generation of students. 

While the ability to surface cross-disciplinary responses and answers may ‘reduce curiosity and independent skill development as sadly humans often take the path that is least resistant,’ yet, like its predecessor the word processor or the interview, AI does provide a few keys for efficiency and productivity.

For instance, according to ChatGPT, four ways to utilise its capacities are: ‘language and grammar support, creative brainstorming, and virtual assistance.’ Additionally, it prompted with the caution that ‘while I [ChatGPT] can perform various tasks, it’s important to use me as a tool alongside human expertise and judgement.'”

What this means is that we ought to explore the ways in which AI can enrich and aid our work not neglect or shirk back from new technology.

Now What? A Few Considerations

While AI offers numerous benefits and possibilities, it is crucial to be aware of the ethical implications. As AI becomes more integrated into our daily lives, we should prioritise human connection and innovation. In other words, AI cannot replace human capacities for imagination and collaboration, and perhaps this was never the aim.

Yet, like with many new technologies, the way forward is not to bury our heads in the sand, hoping things regress to ‘normal,’ nor is it to overly rely on AI’s capacities. Perhaps by choosing curiosity and harnessing AI’s computational power with human oversight, we can explore new possibilities to enhance productivity and bring about positive advancements in your work and life.