by Paul Rayburn September 9, 2023. *Updated September 27, 2023 with further thoughts on AI and additional links to some more content on the principal understanding.

As we move towards advanced data analysis, integrating the principles of data science, Machine Learning (ML), and Artificial Intelligence (AI), we need to acknowledge that in almost all cases we are relying on the principles, standards, and actions of many contributors. With the introduction of AI, we are now able to move at a much more rapid pace, involving a far broader population of creators and developers.

This short 1m44s clip I have shared is from the 1993 film Jurassic Park with Dr. Ian Malcolm, played by Jeff Goldblum speaking to the power of genetic engineering, which has always stuck with me and I think become more relevant than ever in the current environment. Shoulders of Geniuses and Because I say I am.

This makes it more important than ever, to ensure we understand the potential pitfalls in addition to the possibilities and opportunities. We need to enhance our communities and personal connections, engaging with those who can share their knowledge to help stabilize the emerging domain of AI.

This may include leveraging AI itself to temper its developments, while simultaneously increasing our own understanding and abilities.

As with any industry or profession, there will be individuals who seek to exploit these technologies without regard for logic or discretion. We must be prepared to adapt our strategies to maintain stability and an even keel.

Regarding the topic of adversity, here is another clip that resonates with the societal pitfalls we face.

A clip of under 1 minute spoken interlude from the 1995 song by Don Henley “The Garden of Allah” *The volume on this clip is much higher so you may wish to have have your volume control ready.

Update September 11, 2023

On the topic of adversity and AI, here is a link to an eye-opening discussion hosted by the Center for Humane Technology at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco. Introduced by Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, and presented by Tristan Harris and Aza Raskin, this event features credible experts with substantial knowledge in this field. It is a discussion that merits close attention. With technology advancing rapidly, it’s crucial that we initiate serious discussions on this topic in every aspect of our daily lives—whether at home, in the workplace, or within government. These should go beyond merely exploring the novelty of AI.

While AI brings numerous benefits, underestimating the associated concerns could lead to dire outcomes. I’m not suggesting we react in fear or attempt to halt technological progress as that is essentially impossible. Instead, we must confront these challenges directly, striving to be as informed as possible, because you don’t know what you don’t know.

YouTube video from a private gathering in San Francisco on March 9th, 2023 with leading technologists and decision-makers including Steve Wozniak co-founder of Apple.

If you prefer a podcast here is a link to an episode produced by the Harris and Raskin released shortly after.

Update September 27, 2023.

Now that we’re recognizing the importance of understanding more about AI, here’s a valuable video that covers the basics. Although it runs for about 90 minutes, just the first few minutes are worth watching for an introduction. I appreciate how Söderström addresses the “Conspiracy of the Laity”, which is the idea that specialized groups or professions use specific language and rules as an intentional barrier. While such intentional barriers may occur in some extreme cases, I don’t fully subscribe to that as a conspiracy in most instances. Often it is a means to ensure effective communication on complex topics. In my view, it’s far more the latter, despite the potential perception of exclusivity. The only caveat is that professionals communicating outside of their specialty should use clear, simple language, avoiding or clarifying abbreviations and jargon to ensure understanding. It’s a challenge but necessary for communicating with a broader audience.

Söderström does an excellent job of breaking down complex AI concepts into more common language, making the subject accessible to those outside the specialty. From my perspective, as someone who is not an expert but merely interested, Söderström seems to navigate this challenge effectively in the clip.

I encourage you to watch the video, even if just for the first few minutes, to gain a foundational understanding of AI from a source that strives to make the information accessible and engaging.

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