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Navigating Fear and Uncertainty in the Age of AI

Updated: Aug 25, 2023

Squeezed into a plane headed to MIT’s AI conference, I'm musing on the countless conversations I've had about AI. The common thread? A sense of overwhelming uncertainty.


The pace of change in AI and the intensity of the discussions around it make this a critical time for us to examine our attitudes toward change, uncertainty, and fear.


Is your response to the rise of AI similar to how you’ve traditionally responded to change? Do you embrace it 🤗, hide from it 🙈, or run away from it 🏃🏻‍♂️?


Fear, especially in the context of change, is complex and taps into primal responses. It can challenge the very core of our identity.


I hear many levels of fear when it comes to AI:


😱 Technophobia: Fear of technology that may arise from a lack of understanding, negative past experiences with technology, or anxiety about the unknown.

😱 Fear of Unemployment: The news reports have stoked a fear that AI and automation will take jobs. This fear pervades all kinds of jobs including white-collar, "knowledge worker” roles. (And fear of our kids' futures).

😱 Privacy Concerns: The ability of AI systems to access and process vast amounts of data from many different sources leads to concerns about privacy and misuse of personal data.

😱 Fear of Dependence: Fear that reliance on AI will make people overly dependent on technology, potentially losing important skills or weakening critical thinking.

😱 Ethical Concerns: Concerns about AI particularly when it comes to areas like fairness, transparency, and accountability.

😱 Fear of Existential Risk: The dread prompted by the hypothesis of some top scientists that unchecked AI development could pose a threat to the existence of the human race.


Without delving into the Interview-of-Fear, it's safe to say that these fears, real as they are, affect us daily on both emotional and physical levels.

So, how can we navigate these fears and uncertainties? Here are three steps you can take today:


1️⃣ Jump in. Be proactive. Sign up for AI platforms like ChatGPT4., Dall-E, and Adobe’s Firefly. Action provides a sense of agency and control.


2️⃣ Create a Trust Panel. Identify experts in the field of AI you trust. These could be scientists, economists, philosophers, friends, or journalists. Pick folks with expertise, emotional intelligence, and the ability to articulate what is happening with AI.


3️⃣ Focus on the Upside. Just like a gratitude practice, focusing on the positive aspects of AI helps balance the fears. AI offers incredibly exciting opportunities in healthcare, education, climate action, relationships, and many other important areas.


#ai #economy I’d love to hear from you:

❓ How do you embrace change


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