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Will I have to give way to AI?
Maybe, maybe not
AI options are increasingly providing services for applied foresight processes - for example for scanning, which makes some sense. But I learned in my foresight course and from my own worldview that imagining futures requires more than knowledge about the past and present - which is what most, if not all, AI systems use.
I once used ChatGPT to ask it about futures and assumptions, and it came up with up with cogent results, but not really anything new. This is not surprising of course. Now I am seeing more and more groups/organisations/Substack writers using AI to develop their systems and posts. I got an email recently that told me I could use AI to determine my skin products.
In 2008 when I did presentations on change and futures of work, I talked about these things. Apologies for the image quality.
At this time, this slide was to provoke conversations - definitely not predictions - but when I look at it now it seems quite prescient (not my prescience mind you, as I adapted it from someone’s else’s work). Why I went looking for this was the top left technological change - Brains are enhanced and controlled. I don’t think we are quite at that outcome, but AI is with us and has been for a long time. I asked questions about AI at an education conference for at least two years in a row in the first years of the last decade, and those questions were never offered to the panel for answering - not an issue apparently. I went to the same conference in 2017 and AI was all that was talked about. Years of thinking and actions lost to shape AI developments for education in ways that ensured they would not take over our brains and ultimately control us - which they don’t do yet!
I cling to the hope (mantra - never lose hope) that we do/will acknowledge that we should not allow AI to think for us in every area of our lives. I’m not saying it’s quite useful for some tasks, and that number will increase, but thinking - interpreting, imagining, discussing, challenging our assumptions about futures and reframing our actions in the present? I would not like to live in that world (and probably won’t).
Yes, I could use AI to draft these posts I write here for me. I can train it to write like me. Maybe you wouldn’t be able to tell. But then it’s not my work, my thinking you are getting. And maybe in one future this is how the world will be - and I would have to give way to AI. But for now, I’m not going down that path. Maybe I have an assumption or two I need to challenge? Perhaps. I'll leave you with this quote from someone I admire for his work in futures over many decades. Till next time.
The most fundamental work in the 21st Century for all persons, organizations and whole societies is to become conscious architects and intentional co-creators of new ways of living that truly fit the unique conditions that are emerging in the 21st Century. Ruben Nelson, Foresight Canada
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