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Are You Enhanced? A Story About AI and Life in the Near Futureby@andrewredican
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Are You Enhanced? A Story About AI and Life in the Near Future

by Andrew RedicanMarch 31st, 2023
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"Are you enhanced?" is a short story about life in the near future. The story is written about a man who finds himself in the data archives of the internet 30 years from now. It feels like a story [Isaac Asimov] would have written today, after the recent technological breakthroughs of recent years.

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A short story about life in the near future.




Tom was nervous.


The day had finally arrived, the day that could change his life forever. He had been preparing for this job interview for weeks, meticulously researching the company and the industry.

He practiced answering common interview questions and even rehearsed some anecdotes to showcase his personality. Despite his diligent preparation, a lingering sense of unease gnawed at him.


He couldn’t pinpoint the reason for his anxiety.


Tom was usually confident in his abilities, but this time, something was different. As he went through his morning routine, he tried to push the unease out of his mind. He took a deep breath, glanced at his reflection in the mirror, and repeated his personal mantra:


I am capable. I am confident. I am ready.


The company’s headquarters was an impressive, glass-covered building that seemed to shimmer in the sunlight. As Tom approached, he couldn’t help but marvel at the structure. It felt as though he was walking into the future.


He took another deep breath and pushed open the large glass doors.

Inside, the lobby was modern and sleek. The cool air-conditioning and low hum of distant conversations provided a sense of calm.


He checked in at the front desk, which was staffed by a friendly woman who wished him luck. A soft chime from his smartwatch told him he had received an electronic visitor badge, and he was directed to the elevators.


As Tom rode the elevator, he couldn’t help but notice that everyone seemed to be engaged in interesting conversations or engrossed in their work. He felt a pang of longing to be part of this world, to be immersed in something so innovative and exciting.


When the elevator doors opened on the 42nd floor, he was greeted by a receptionist who led him to a spacious conference room with floor-to-ceiling windows. The view was breathtaking, but Tom barely had time to take it in before the door opened again, and the interviewer, a middle-aged woman with a warm smile, entered the room.


“Hello, Tom. I’m Diana, the hiring manager. It’s a pleasure to meet you,” she said as they shook hands.


Throughout the interview, Tom did his best to showcase his skills, knowledge, and experience.

He could tell that Diana was impressed, but there was something about her demeanor that made him feel as though she was holding back.


As they neared the end of the conversation, she asked him a series of standard questions about his work ethic, problem-solving abilities, and how he would handle hypothetical situations.

Then, Diana paused, looked at him with a mix of curiosity and concern, and said, “Oh, just one last question, which is standard procedure…” She hesitated for a moment, as if unsure of how to phrase it, then finally asked,


“Are you enhanced?”


Tom’s heart sank. He had known this question was coming, but he had hoped that his performance during the interview would be enough to overshadow any doubts about his abilities. He took a deep breath and answered truthfully, “No, I’m not enhanced.”

Diana nodded, her expression unreadable.


“Thank you for your honesty, Tom. We’ll be in touch.”




If you have enjoyed this, you might enjoy “The Last Question” even better.


Imagine the cosmic irony if our friend Tom found this article written about himself in the data archives of the internet 30 years from now.


Though this story may seem fantastical at first, I truly believe we are on track to a future like this. It feels like a story Isaac Asimov would have written today, after the recent technological breakthroughs of the past few years.


This story was thought up by me as a rhetorical tool to get your attention. I knew how it would start, and end, and the “scope” of the story.


I then asked ChatGPT to execute my vision, and it proceeded to flesh out all the plot and story details with superb skill. I copied the final result as-is, largely unedited, with the exception of line breaks I’ve added a typical article on would have.


In an era where automation governs execution, the true value of artistic creations, which is enhanced by artificial intelligence, lies in the human imagination that serves as their foundation.

Imagination is the new currency.


The value of works conceived and brought to life solely by human hands, the painstaking weaving, knitting, woodworking, and writing, will incrementally become rare, but also take their place in the exclusive, akin to a fine vintage wine reserved for the discerning elite.




About a week ago, I was out for a few scoops with an old colleague with the same passion for software engineering up in Dublin.


A few pints in, the hot subject of the moment came up.


How could we not talk about it?


It’s truly remarkable to witness AI’s rise to mainstream status, and we’re thrilled to see it happening. I am glad to be alive to see witness this.


I cannot also believe how slow some people are to catch on.


I was just totally oblivious earlier this year until I used ChatGPT that is.


This paradigm-shifting breakthrough will be hard for some to adapt to or even accept at first. I think the feeling of apprehension for AI is only a natural and almost visceral and instinctual response, stemming from fear of the unknown.


It makes evolutionary sense to be afraid of the unknown. This would’ve kept early humans out of dangerous situations in order to survive in the wilderness.


Despite all that, like it or not, everything will be layered with AI in some way, sooner than you think.

There is some truth to that fear. Not to the extreme, but I will be the first to admit, there are things to be wary of.


The imminent volatility


2023 has been pretty rough for some.


Actually, the issues at hand go way back. We’ve had a series of unfortunate events. The massive layoffs of these big IT companies could be explained by any of these things alone, or as a combined result, including the raise of AI.


The layoffs could be explained by poor management as IT companies recklessly over-leveraged in response to the projected raise of digital commerce due to the COVID lockdown, or the be caused by the FTX debacle which affected common investors.


Or it could also be companies realized there was no budget to accommodate investing BIG in AI, which they should have, and as a result staffing budgets were reduced. This is largely speculation, but I’m just saying what some of us were already thinking.



Lagging behind means obsoletion

Concerning education, ChatGPT can easily write essays. As proven earlier, it eliminates a lot of the effort put into writing.


Naturally, there are rising tensions over whether AI should be regulated against or in favor of using it in the classroom. But I’d challenge the notion that AI is such a bad thing. I’m sure the same was said about the internet, libraries would cease to exist, and so on.


Certainly, a strong argument can be made that learning through experience the “hard way” by trial and error, failing and eventual success, is qualitatively different from only reading about it.


Google, for example, is a massive titan in the search market. One whose name is commonly used instead of “search”, will feel like a thing of the past and obsolete. Just like Wikipedia is an essential cornerpiece of the internet, it will no longer be in the limelight if it can’t keep up.



Accuracy

StackOverflow, a platform in the technical questions & answers space, took the stance of banning ChatGPT based on the fact information given is sometimes not 100% accurate.


I think that is a very stupid stance to take. Of course, there is value to seek accuracy. I don’t agree with waiting for perfect accuracy in this context.


Language models will never be unbiased and with no margin of error because the underlying information is irrevocably human.


Going for 100% accuracy is more of an ideology than an achievable goal. We can maybe aim for Six Sigma quality performance, and yet I’d argue for most domestic use cases, we should just roll with it.


A properly formulated question or prompt in ChatGPT for example will get you consistently almost 80 to 90 percent to where you want to be in terms of the technical information. StackOverflow has underestimated the value of this outcome.


Would you rather get 85% of a solution today or wait 3 months for the perfect answer? I suppose it depends on what you are after and how much time you can afford. I wouldn’t wait, would you?


Rather than resisting change, we should make room for it where it makes sense. Think for a moment of all the technical questions that nobody has bothered to answer. At the very least, generated answers could fill in this gap while also raising the bar in the quality of answers overall. Participants in a forum should be encouraged to one-up and do better than the AI-generated answer.


Solicitors and the advisor market are also at serious risk of becoming obsolete if they don’t leverage.



Social inequity


However, the biggest risk by far is social inequity.


Some fear losing their jobs, but also new jobs will appear as a direct result, and will also lower the bar for skill requirements for work. Eventually, a new hire will pick up a thing or two from using ChatGPT.


I told my friend;

“It works even better if you are already smart.”


What I meant by it is that users who know how to ask the right questions are at a significant advantage. Suddenly, a senior software engineer produces solutions like a unicorn 10x developer.


If you don’t have AI, you’ll be at an extreme disadvantage.


The way to solve this inequity, we should integrate with AI as fast as we can, making it accessible for everyone.


Imagine for a moment if everyone had access to all the knowledge ever recorded and the skills and know-how — all our problems would eventually be solved. AI would be the ultimate equalizing agent.



The Future

ChatGPT is only the beginning.


This technological revolution is comparable to the rise of the internet, but faster. After all, we’ve been working on its infrastructure since the 1980s. The “regular internet” is the launch pad for this new interconnected world.


I have a prediction: when Neuralink becomes mainstream, the question, “Are you enhanced?” will casually make its way into people’s conversations.


Brian agreed. “It’ll be the advent of a new human pseudo-species”.


The difference between enhanced human beings and “normal” would be hard for us to wrap our heads around.


This divergence alludes to the world imagined by the famous manga artist, Masamune Shirow, a man who is ahead of his time. In the series Ghost in the Shell, a post-cyberpunk iteration of a possible future is presented, where computer technology has advanced to the point that many members of the public possess cyberbrains, technology that allows them to interface their biological brains with various networks.


In 30 years' time, we’ll be staring at a mind-boggling reality, like an episode of Black Mirror. Integrated humans will be close to all-knowing, able to access the ivory tower of knowledge built by mankind.


This human-AI integration innovation will be on par with the commercialization of age-reversing medication. ComingSoon™.


The generation that will be the last looking “classically old” might’ve been born already. Everyone else enough will look evergreen and in their 20s.



Back to the Present


I’m nervously excited about recent technological developments that will usher in a new era for mankind, just like the next person.


If you are only learning about everything that is going on, you’ve been living under a rock. You might want to tune in and get yourself up to date.


In the meantime, I’m busy working on the “poor man’s version” of AI integration, something like Alexa or Siri for businesses. When I say poor I mean cutting edge for present times.


You can check out how this is coming along at enio.ai and sign up for our newsletter.


Enio is on a mission of embedding AI in every business. Because humans deserve the freedom to explore the limits of what is possible.


You can also follow me on Twitter and connect.


Last but not least, a quick shout out to Brian, whose conversation at a pub started this article. Go check out what he is working on at borealsoftwarelabs.


Until next time,

A.R.


The lead image for this article was generated by HackerNoon's AI Image Generator via the prompt "a humanoid cyborg".


Also published here.