AI Is Critically Important but Not for You

Tue 14 May 2024 Category: IT

Before Chat-GPT caused a sensation, big tech companies like Facebook and Apple were betting their future growth on virtual reality. But I'm convinced that virtual reality will never be a mainstream thing. If you ever used VR you know why:

  1. A heavy thing on your head that messes up your hair
  2. Nausea

The focus on virtual reality felt like desperation to me. The desperation of big tech companies trying to find new growth, ideally a monopoly they control1, to satisfy the demands of shareholders.

And then OpenAI dropped ChatGPT and all the big tech companies started to pivot so fast because in contrary to VR, AI doesn't involve making people nauseated and look silly.

It's probably obvious that I feel it's not about AI itself. It is really about huge tech companies that have found a new way to sustain growth a bit longer, now that all other markets have been saturated. Flush with cash, they went nuts and bought up all the AI accelerator hardware2, which in turn uses unspeakable amounts of energy to train new large language models.

Despite all the hype, current AI technology is at it's core a very sophisticated statistical model. It's all about probabilities, it can't actually reason. As I see it, work done by AI can't thus be trusted. Depending on the specific application, that may be less of an issue, but that is a fundamental limitation of current technology. And this gives me pause as it limits the application where it is most wanted: to control labour. To reduce the cost of headcount and to suppress wages.

As AI tools become capable enough, it would be irresponsible towards shareholders not to pursue this direction.

All this just to illustrate that the real value of AI is not for the average person in the street. The true value is for those bigger companies who can keep on growing, and the rest is just collateral damage.

But I wonder: when the AI hype is over, what new hype will take it's place? I can't see it. I can't think of it. But I recognise that the internet created efficiencies that are convenient, yet social media weaponised this convenience to exploit our fundamental human weaknesses. As shareholder value rose, social media slowly chips away at the fabric of our society:

trust.


  1. I've sold my Oculus Rift CV1 long ago, I lost hundreds of dollars of content but I refuse to create a Facebook/Meta account. 

  2. climate change accelerators 

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