What A.I. Enthusiasts Just Don’t Get

Now that Artificial Intelligence has become a significant part of our national conversation, all kinds of possibilities are being suggested on a regular basis for how A.I. might improve all our lives if we just give it a chance. From vast improvements in medicine, education, the arts, media, etc. the list of the startling new developments that artificial intelligence might bring to us has become in effect a justification of sorts for why we should drop many of our concerns about this radical new technology for which many are grappling with the possibility of the new world that it might bring to all our lives.

However, there is one relevant concern, the same one which has plagued education in our society for the better part of the past quarter century, which appears as if it might be paramount to a discussion of the danger which A.I. might be bringing to our modern world; this having to do with an emphasis of outer reality over the inner life. Similar in many ways to how education for those in their formative years has focused on the external results of learning (i.e. test scores and grades) rather than on what is taking place in children as they learn, A.I. is most likely going to cause people to focus on the miraculous things that this technology can do in the external world rather than on how it might affect people’s inner lives.

This is really the bottom-line question that we all need to be asking ourselves relative to the introduction of A.I. technology into all our lives. Despite the many incredible things that it can do to make the world a better place, will it end up dulling our inner lives simply because when we make use of A.I. whatever we are producing is not coming as fully from a place inside ourselves as when we don’t depend on it; when our inner spaces remain significantly emboldened by whatever we are creating and then using.

For example, when a piece of writing is produced by A.I. whether it be a serious newspaper article or merely copy for a particular advertisement, the focus and intensity of the writer has been removed from the equation in favor of expediency, and in some cases greater accuracy. In other words, the entire process becomes results-driven, rather than originating within the inner life of the writer. This may occasionally lead to more expeditious, even occasionally more accurate writing, but at the same time this process tends to dull the inner lives of writers simply because their writing has become less personal and less authentic. Then, over time writers with shallower inner lives will inevitably produce shallower pieces of writing.

Similarly, in the world of scientific investigation and creation, A. I. driven technologies may be able to produce faster, even more effective results to scientific research, yet at the same time, the emboldened inner lives of scientists and technology experts will become less connected to their important discoveries and inventions simply because much of the research and investigation is originating in a place outside of them. For instance, the incredible joy and passion which James Watson and Francis Crick experienced in constructing in their lab merely through the use of metal rods and clamps a model of the structure of DNA will become increasingly less a part of scientific investigation and discover.

What transpires in our inner lives is more about why we are all here on planet Earth than what we produce with the results of our creations. That is, how we engage the world and universe with what takes place inside us will always be significantly more important than the external results of those engagements. In short, we’re here primarily to expand our awareness of what it means to be alive in this world. And this is something which A.I. technologies, for all the marvelous things they might produce, and how they might make our lives more expedient and creative, will never really be able to give us.

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