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Aligning with AI

Apr 10, 2023

Mo Eid

 

I first dipped my toe into OpenAI late last year, along with everyone else. Intellectually, I understood it was a massive leap, but I couldn’t get a feel of all it implied.

The weight of it all bore down a few days ago, when I was asked to write a 1500-word summary for an online course. It dawned on me that GPT-4 could churn this assignment out in seconds. I could just move on with the class….. one that was recreational, unaccredited, and unrelated to my career.

I hesitated.  I’ve been working hard to create a more intentional relationship with the internet.  I wanted to give myself a small moment of pause, before integrating this new technology into my daily life.

This unthinkably powerful platform popped up so casually, so seamlessly, with zero disclaimer. And now here I was, faced with a one of a zillion micro moments that gradually determine the course of our digital future. I’m not into making these choices carelessly anymore….

But where to even begin when confronting these mind-bending technological advances?

That question is at the base of this entire project. We’ve honed five principles, learned through food, on how to feed our highest selves on the internet of today and tomorrow.

Isolating this specific interaction with GPT-4, I reflected on the 5 principles. I asked myself: Within this interaction am I……

  1. Honoring inner signals: When I tune in, how does this interaction sit in my body?
  2. Fueling action or growth: Is this serving or stunting my development in any way?
  3. Seeking quality:Was this platform made with integrity? Why is it free?
  4. Maintaining variety and balance: Am I incorporating other methods and perspectives? 
  5. Building trust:Can I use this platform transparently?

We rarely stop to ask these sorts of questions when it comes to new tech. It’s all so unrelenting and inconceivable, most of us are just trying to stay afloat. But tuning in can help center us amidst these staggering digital forces.

Everyone will have different answers to the questions above. Some may be obvious; some may require more research.  But regardless of your decision, it should be made thoughtfully. We’ve learned too much to just blindly adopt these new platforms and capabilities into our lives anymore.

I didn’t end up using the program for the course. Internally, it made me feel uneasy.  I’d just be cheating my own learning and eroding my own patience. And I couldn’t be transparent about using it.

Reading up explained why OpenAI is currently free, and made it clear that these programs are being developed and publicly released at a reckless pace.  Environmentally speaking, generating this much computing power is an enormous drain on energy and water.  I realize tech usage overall isn’t good for the Earth, so at the very least I want to avoid forming new dependencies on products that deplete our planetary health so aggressively.

 

The principles have served as a simple way for me to find my footing in face of overwhelming technological change.  They’re a reminder that these impressive systems don’t eclipse deeper forms of knowing. There is hard-earned wisdom, older than time, coursing through each of us. Let it guide us towards a more ethical and sustainable digital future. 

 

 

 

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