45 Things I Learned... 14

Saturday, January 28, 2023

This picture was taken in 2019 at the Itaipu hydroelectric plant next to the "Man of Steel", Niçao. This structure was constructed by the builders to draw attention to the internal Olympics held by the consortium of companies in charge of the civil works.

Reading about Lebanon ranking 5th in the world "for searches for ChatGPT" made me think about humans vs. machines. Again. Friends and I have been discussing this topic for quite some time. It isn't new that technologies are advancing and that AI (Artificial Intelligence) today is not the same as it was a decade ago. I find this good and not so good. While I learned to enjoy gadgetry and any life-improvement electronics or machinery can offer, I remain very conscious that machines are not supposed to replace human beings. I assume that our creations are there to serve us. Not the other way around. This software named ChatGPT is now the darling of almost anybody. But its IQ is only about 100. Which makes most of us smarter and more skilled than that OpenAI system. It can indeed speak almost all known languages, write a short poem in English within a few moments -it was really bad when the requested verses were supposed to be in French and not so dreadful when it came to supplying a video script on a certain subject-, or provide you with a cooking recipe. It's like a gigantic data storage that anyone can have access to. But in my opinion, it cannot replace the human mind. Some people claim that with time, AI will evolve and become smarter and maybe even faster. Probably. I assert that it can never acquire a soul or spirit and have the empathy that differentiate us humans from robots. It is BS to pretend that cyborgs are sentient. Human beings are messy, all over the place, and unpredictable at times. That is part of the charm of our species. We are not symmetrical creatures. And obviously, machines do not have our physical/bodily constraints: they don't need to rest, are faster in connecting data, and can store much more info in their cores. We might find a way to teach a computer to become curious and inquire about something. We can never breathe life into it. And when asked about its limitations, ChatGPT replied that it is a text-based system generating responses to questions based on instructions it has been given. As an artificial intelligence, it does not have a physical body and has no ability to access the Internet. And it is not able to learn or acquire new knowledge on its own... This reminded me of a saying by Albert Einstein: "in any conflict between humanity and technology, humanity will win".

Some quotes about humanity:

The greatness of humanity is not in being human, but in being humane - Mahatma Gandhi

Human connections are deeply nurtured in the field of shared story - Jean Houston

There is within human nature an amazing potential for goodness - Martin Luther King Jr.

More than machinery, we need humanity - Charlie Chaplin

The purpose of human life is to serve and to show compassion and the will to help others - Albert Schweitzer

The human being needs a framework of values, a philosophy of life, a religion or religion-surrogate to live by and understand, in about the same sense that he needs sunlight, calcium, or love - Abraham Maslow

It is our humanity which makes us spiritual and our spirit which makes us human - Michael Teal

Maybe someday, humans will understand their true essence and turn their efforts into uniting under the umbrella of humanity instead of looking for what divides us. They would focus less on creating a bionic person than curing diseases that were mostly caused by our blatant disconnection from nature and the ways of our ancestors... What is your take on this controversial matter?

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