In barely three months, artificial intelligence (A.I.) has made mindboggling progress. Just the other day, I created three weeks’ worth of lectures on cryptocurrency with the help of OpenAI’s ChatGPT, an A.I. “chatbot” that’s exploded in popularity – and intelligence – since November 2022.

The hardest part of the entire process was cutting and pasting on a phone using only my thumbs. You can use A.I. to create lectures, automate responses, and check grammar. You can do what this guy did, and see what it would have looked like if Tom Selleck had played the role of Indiana Jones back in the Eighties.

A.I. is learning to drive vehicles, fly airplanes, create artwork, and assist humans in all kinds of jobs. And soon it’s going to do almost everything around us.

That’s the future we’re going to be living with, where information access will never be a barrier to anything ever again. If it’s out there and can be contained in digital media, it will be available instantly in any form to anyone anywhere.

Thousands of Microsoft employees worked to create the Windows operating system, for instance, but I think, before long, individuals will be able to accomplish this. I think this will open the door to outrageous wealth and opportunity for people.

But there’s a catch – and that’s what I wanted to talk to you about…

All You Have to Do Is Ask

Perhaps the most intriguing possibility coming around the corner is the ability to create a fully coded, totally functional new computer program just by verbally describing it.

Something like teaching a car to watch the road around it for dangers, and safely navigate its way to a destination is going to become trivial in the not-too-distant future. When that happens, conventional human drivers are going to be a thing of the past. I mean, in most instances, people would be perfectly happy to push a button and sit back while they’re conveyed to their destination of choice.

And once that software is ready, the mechanical part will be easy. I mean, plenty of people have remote control cars – a beginner hobbyist can build one in a couple of hours for a few hundred bucks. A self-driving car would basically just be a fancier, more elaborate version of that but with an intelligent electronic brain.

And with all of that processing power available, not just for numbers, but even things like words or concepts, the most important skill a person will be able to have won’t be anything to do with answering questions. If the information exists, a machine will be able to get it faster and more efficiently.

No, the most important skill will be knowing how best to ask questions.

These systems will be able to give you any kind of information or abstract good you can ask for, but that’s not going to help if what you actually asked for isn’t the same as what you thought you asked for.

If you get in your self-driving car and give it the wrong address for your destination, you won’t end up where you wanted to go.

And if you want an A.I. to help you balance your checkbook, so you ask it for a “balancing program,” it might just give you a program for keeping your bicycle from falling over.

You didn’t say “Simon says” there. Knowing what questions to ask is going to be key to thriving in a world powered by artificial intelligences of all kinds.


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