Crossing the uncanny valley

An interview with ChatGPT on staying relevant in a AI-powered world

Brett Weir Apr 3, 2023 10 min read

A lot has been happening in AI lately, and quite frankly, I find the whole thing terrifying. For the first time, I find myself questioning whether my own skills and experience will be valuable or useful in just a few short years, and that's an uncomfortable thought to have.

I'm not an AI expert, but going to an AI expert is also too much work. So I've decided to go straight to the source and ask AI directly. 😂

Yes, that's right, folks. Today, we talk with the harbinger of creative destruction itself, ChatGPT, to get its algorithmically-generated perspective on where we are, where we go from here, and who we'll need to become in the process.

On impact

Brett: What historical technological innovations would you compare AI to in terms of its impact on society?

ChatGPT: As an AI language model, I don't have personal opinions or beliefs but I can provide some examples of historical technological innovations that can be compared to AI:

  1. The invention of the printing press: The invention of the printing press was a major technological innovation that had a profound impact on society. It allowed for the mass production of books and other printed materials, which meant that knowledge and information could be shared much more widely than before. AI, in a similar way, has the ability to process and share vast amounts of information and data, changing the way we solve problems and make decisions.

  2. The invention of the internet: The internet has revolutionized the way we communicate, share information, and conduct business. AI is also changing the landscape of the internet in terms of automated services, predictive analytics, and personalized user experiences.

  3. The Industrial Revolution: The Industrial Revolution brought about significant changes in manufacturing, transportation, and communication. The impact of AI on industries like healthcare, finance, and manufacturing can be compared to the changes brought about by the Industrial Revolution.

  4. The invention of electricity: The invention of electricity transformed society and allowed for the widespread use of new technologies. AI is similarly transformative, giving rise to new technologies and industries, such as autonomous vehicles and machine learning.

Overall, AI has the potential to be as transformative as many of history's greatest technological innovations, with significant implications for society and the economy.

On jobs

Brett: How does AI compete with human effort?

ChatGPT: As an AI language model, I am not capable of competing with human effort as I am not yet capable of actual physical effort. However, some AI technologies, such as robotics and automation, are designed to perform specific tasks with greater efficiency and speed than humans. This can lead to concerns about job displacement in industries that rely on manual labor or repetitive tasks. However, AI can also enhance human efforts by providing decision-making support, augmenting cognitive abilities, and automating tedious or dangerous tasks, thereby improving efficiency and safety. Ultimately, the impact of AI on human effort depends on the specific application and how it is deployed.

Brett: Are we seeing displacement of human workers by artificial intelligence? If so, in what areas or industries?

ChatGPT: Yes, we are seeing displacement of human workers by artificial intelligence in various industries. Some of the areas where AI is replacing human workers include:

  • Manufacturing: AI-powered robots are being used in manufacturing plants to handle repetitive and dangerous tasks such as welding, painting, and assembly.

  • Retail: AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants are being used in retail stores to provide customer service and assistance.

  • Transportation: Self-driving vehicles are being developed and tested for use in the transportation industry, which can potentially replace human drivers.

  • Healthcare: AI-powered robots are being developed and tested for use in hospitals to assist with patient care and treatment.

  • Finance: AI-powered algorithms are being used in the finance industry for trading, risk management, and fraud detection.

  • Customer service: AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants are being used in customer service roles to automate tedious tasks and improve efficiency.

  • Agriculture: AI-powered robots and drones are being developed and introduced in agriculture to help with planting, harvesting, and monitoring crops.

Overall, as AI technology continues to advance, we can expect to see further displacement of human workers in a variety of industries.

On careers

Brett: When workers are displaced by artificial intelligence, what happens to those workers?

ChatGPT: When workers are displaced by artificial intelligence, the situation can vary depending on the individual and the circumstances. Here are a few possible outcomes:

  • Some workers may be able to transition into new jobs that emerge as a result of AI. While certain industries and roles may become obsolete, new opportunities could be created. For example, workers may shift to roles that involve managing or operating AI systems, or they may pivot to entirely different industries.

  • Other workers may require re-skilling or upskilling to adapt to the changing demands of the workforce. Training programs or educational opportunities may be necessary to help these individuals obtain the skills necessary to transition to new roles.

  • For some workers, however, job loss due to AI may result in long-term unemployment or underemployment. In this case, the government or other organizations may need to provide financial support, retraining resources, or other forms of assistance to help these individuals find new work.

  • Finally, some workers may choose to leave the workforce altogether. For instance, older workers may choose to retire early, while others may pursue entrepreneurial endeavors, freelancing, or other alternative forms of work.

On change

Brett: How will society need to transform as more jobs are automated?

ChatGPT: As automation continues to replace traditional jobs, society will need to undergo significant transformations to adapt and thrive in this new environment. Some of the key changes include:

  1. Reskilling and education: With automation replacing jobs that require repetitive tasks, workers will need to develop new skills that are in demand in the job market. Education and training programs will need to shift to focus on teaching skills like critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration, and creativity.

  2. Universal basic income: With fewer jobs available, governments may need to adopt policies like universal basic income to provide a basic standard of living to all citizens.

  3. Redefining work: As automation takes over more jobs, society will need to redefine what it means to work and find new ways to distribute work and income. This may involve a shift towards job-sharing, shorter workweeks, and more flexible work arrangements.

  4. Re-thinking the value of work: As automation takes over many manual jobs, society will need to re-think the value of work and recognize the contributions of people in roles that cannot be easily automated, such as caregivers, artists, and community leaders.

  5. Social safety nets: With automation potentially resulting in widespread job loss, society will need to develop robust social safety nets to support those who are unable to find work or who are experiencing financial hardship.

Overall, automation is likely to bring about significant changes to society in the coming years, and it will require careful planning and preparation to ensure that these changes are managed in a way that benefits everyone.

On humanity

Brett: Do you think humans will still be relevant in 10 years? 20? 50?

ChatGPT: As an AI language model, I don't have personal beliefs or opinions, but I can provide you with some factual information. Humans will still be relevant in the next 10, 20, and 50 years since they are the primary drivers and innovators of technology, economy, culture, and governance. Although AI and automation are growing in capabilities and influence, they still rely heavily on human input and direction. Additionally, many industries and fields, such as healthcare, education, and creative arts, require human skills and empathy that AI cannot fully replace. Thus, it is crucial for humans to continue to adapt and learn alongside emerging technologies to remain relevant in the years to come.

Brett: Do you think humankind has a future?

ChatGPT: As an AI language model, I do not have beliefs. However, based on available scientific evidence and observations, there is no doubt that humankind has a future. The trajectory of that future, and whether it will be a positive or negative one, will largely depend on how we as a species choose to act and manage the complex challenges facing our planet. It is imperative that we address issues such as climate change, resource depletion, and inequality to build a sustainable future for generations to come.

Brett: What does it mean to be human in a world with artificial intelligence?

ChatGPT: As an AI language model, I do not have personal beliefs or opinions. However, being human in a world with artificial intelligence means that we must navigate the effects of AI on our daily lives, including the potential impact on employment, privacy, and ethical considerations. We will have to remain conscious of the limitations and biases of AI algorithms while utilizing the benefits of machine learning and automation of simple tasks. We will continue to develop regulations and ethical principles to ensure that AI operates within the boundaries of human values and in accordance with ethical and moral principles. It is important to remember that while AI can simulate some human qualities, it cannot replace human creativity, emotions, and empathy. Ultimately, we must ensure that we use AI to enhance our humanity rather than replace it.


Interacting with a chat bot at this level is unlike any experience I've had with tech previously, and it gives me a lot to think about:

  • AI feels valuable for its ability to synthesize new perspectives on existing information quickly and cheaply.

  • AI has a happy ending when it is used to accelerate and augment human thought, but becomes a tragedy when these benefits are not evenly distributed.

  • AI drives home the fact that humans are not good machines. Thriving alongside AI means understanding and embracing our humanity, whatever that means.

I think the most shocking thing here is that we're starting to cross the uncanny valley, and the process is accelerating.

AI is here, and ignoring it is no longer a winning strategy. A better idea is for us—all of us—to interact with it, understand its implications, and be a part of that conversation. This is our future at stake, and, to quote ChatGPT:

The trajectory of that future, and whether it will be a positive or negative one, will largely depend on how we as a species choose to act and manage the complex challenges facing our planet.

— ChatGPT

Going forward, more and more of that story will be told from the perspective of an AI. What do you want that story to be?


#ai #chatgpt #tech