Artificial Intelligence: Better Than Us

We were wrong about the future. Everyone had it wrong, in fact. The fears instilled in us from 80s and 90s films like The Terminator and The Matrix were off the mark. AI isn’t going to kill us and it won’t turn us into slaves (or batteries). But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be afraid … We very much should be. Because what we are essentially creating with programs like ChatGPT is a new life form that can outthink us, outproduce us, and even out-romance us. Real-world AI is proving not to be the mechanical monsters we feared but something worse. AI is going to be us. Only better.

Our lives are significantly diminished when machines can be programmed to do everything better and faster than we can: paint faster pictures, write more engaging stories, create better music. Why study medicine when AI doctors can be everywhere instantly, diagnosing patients without making a single mistake? Why pay screenwriters when AI screenwriters can better understand what excites moviegoers and what makes them pay for tickets? When a computer brain can be more creative and clever than we can ever hope to be, when it inevitably becomes superior in all the ways that matter most to our society and culture, what will be left for us to contribute, and how will that affect our sense of self-worth?

This is an existential crisis greater than anything the world has ever seen.

Think I’m overreacting? I asked ChatGPT to write a story about a basilisk in the Arabian desert in iambic pentameter, and within seconds, it gave me this:

In scorching sands of vast Arabian land,
Where sun beats down upon the barren sand,
A basilisk did roam with deadly glare,
And all who crossed its path would soon beware.
Its scales were thick and shimmered in the light,
And when it moved, the sand would quake in fright.
Its eyes, like flames, could strike a man stone dead,
And all who saw them would feel fear and dread.
But one brave traveler, with a heart of steel,
Was not afraid to face the beast and feel
The rush of danger coursing through his veins,
As he approached the monster with no chains.
With sword in hand, he charged into the fray,
And faced the basilisk without delay.
Its deadly gaze he met with steady glare,
And did not flinch, nor show a hint of scare.
The basilisk attacked with jaws agape,
And struck with speed, but could not make escape,
For in a moment, with a swift sword stroke,
The brave traveler’s aim the beast did choke.
And so the basilisk did meet its end,
And in the desert sands did lie, its friend.
For though it was a fearsome foe indeed,
Its demise would serve a greater need.
For travelers now could cross the desert plain,
Without the fear of death or any pain,
And all would know the story of the man,
Who slew the basilisk with sword in hand.

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