A lot of folks are afraid of AI (artificial intelligence), and the effect of technology on our everyday lives. My suggestion: turn yourself into a centaur; half-man, half-machine.
I am a machine
Honestly at this point, we are already centaurs. Most of us use our phones like another appendage. Our human intelligence is augmented with our everyday technologies.
For example, to take a photo isn’t “natural”. Us humans have the faculty of vision in order to coordinate our movement, and to procure food and resources. The purpose of our eyes isn’t to see “photo opportunities”. Nor is the purpose of human eyes or vision to perceive, appreciate, or create art. But we have the faculty of vision– thus we have “hacked” our vision to create visual art, and appreciate visual art!
Make technology your slave; not the other way around.
Jaron Lanier has a fantastic book called, ‘You are not a gadget’.
We are not gadgets, nor should we strive to become gadgets. We are human– and we should revel in our human-ness.
I do believe that technology and gadgets can help empower us. Yet, technology can be like drugs. A small dose of drugs is beneficial to our health. However unlimited amounts of drugs will kill us.
Remember the saying:
The poison is in the dosage.
But this is the problem — for the most part, our phones are like crack cocaine. It is hard to “moderate” crack-cocaine.
So what is the solution?
Embrace the Extremes
This is my philosophy:
Embrace the extremes of technology: sometimes go 0% technology, and sometimes go 100% in technology.
When I am using computers or technology, I plug myself in 100%. But when I go on walks to let my mind wander and to think — I don’t use any devices. No phone, no headphones, no camera.
Other ways to integrate this thinking:
During the day, allow yourself to be 100% addicted to your devices. But at night, go totally 0% technology zen-monk mode. AKA turn off your phone at night when you come home from work.
I believe in life you can ‘have your cake and eat it too.’
And this is the tricky thing:
How can we best leverage the maximum upside of technology, with the minum amount of downside?
Also when it comes to AI:
How can we best leverage artificial intelligence to help empower us, instead of becoming slaves to AI?
Some basic ideas:
- Artificial Intelligence is good for photography: ‘Computational photography’ (like Google’s HDR+ feature) helps simplify our photographic lives. We need less post-processing to our photos. Thus, we can focus on what is truly important to us– making beautiful photos which are meaningful to us.
- Artificial Intelligence and Google Calendar scheduling: Obviously it is good for us to meet other humans– whether our friends, family, or business opportunities. But there are lots of negative ‘transaction costs’ trying to schedule “real life” meetings. Thus, if AI helped us better schedule and coordinate real life coffee meetings, it would help us focus on what is truly important– exchanging new ideas in real life, sharing our soul with the other person, and being more social!
- Have AI automate the boring stuff: For us to be less distracted with the boring stuff, and for us to maximize our time, attention, and focus to create art!
The last takeaway question to ask yourself:
How can I best leverage technology to minimize my meaningless distractions, in order for me to better maximize my own personal archimedes lever (strengths) in life?