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Why Most People Do Not See How Transformative AI Has Become
Most people are looking at ChatGPT all wrong and thereby missing it's coming impact.
“How did you go bankrupt?"
Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly.”
― Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises
Most of what we’re reading at present about ChatGPT is written by reporters and talking heads. And so what do they ask it? What they know - write an article about X, summarize the arguments regarding Y, write a speaker bio for Z.
And ChatGPT sucks at requests like this. It can write a coherent persuasive article. But to get it “right,” there’s no way at present. It’s way too open ended a problem. So everyone has a good laugh and discounts its impact.
But if you use ChatGPT in a constrained environment where there is a clear best answer to most questions, then it shines. Medical diagnosis, loan approval, insurance pricing, programming, etc.
I can speak specifically to programming. ChatGPT is like having an excellent programmer at your elbow to work with you. A partner who knows pretty much everything. And by definition, every suggestion it provides is a solution that has been used by many others. By definition it is a solution that is correct and is likely the best approach.
And it’s not just writing code. If you craft your questions right, it is a giant help on design decisions, architecture, etc. It also can tell you exactly how to configure your production environment to handle the expected level of traffic, fail over, etc.
I have worked with a lot of brilliant programmers. I will take ChatGPT over all of them because of its breadth of knowledge. And this means my most important job skill now is being able to best ask the right questions of ChatGPT.
On a direct measure, I figure in 3 - 6 months I’ll be 4x to 10x as productive. Multiply that across most (some will fight this) programmers and you will see an incredible productivity jump.
This is happening now. And it’s happening in most jobs where the problem space is constrained and there is a best, or a small set of very good correct answers. And we will see those fields all have this large productivity increase. And we will see all the jobs in those fields radically change.
And while we have had a constant shortage of programmers and doctors, if we get a 10x increase in productivity, we may find we have more than we need in these and affiliated professions. We’ll definitely see those who won’t or can’t work well with AI lose their jobs.
If you’re a reporter, a politician, a policy maker, a talking head - you need to go talk to people you know in these constrained professions who are using AI and ask them what’s happening. Because they see it’s impact in an environment where it is simply amazing.
And the large impact of this change is not going to take 10 (smart phones) or 20 (electric motors) years for it’s effect to be widespread. In the initial professions the world will change over the next 2 years.