AI is Not Your Friend: Why We Need to Rethink Our Relationship with Artificial Intelligence

Insights from Morten Rand-Hendriksen’s ‘Demythifying AI’ Talk at GDG Burnaby “Build With AI” Event

Yo, future-proofed creators! Today I’m dropping some insights from Morten Rand-Hendriksen’s talk at GDG Burnaby. This dude, a senior staff instructor at LinkedIn Learning, just blew the roof off with his no-BS take on AI. Buckle up, ’cause we’re about to get real about the AI hype machine and what it means for us as creators and innovators.

Cutting Through the AI BS

First things first, let’s talk about the elephant in the room: the way we talk about AI is often misleading. Morten hit us with this gem: “The language we use about AI creates pictures in our heads.” And boy, are those pictures sometimes way off base.

We’ve been sold this idea of AI as some kind of digital BFF or a new species. But here’s the truth bomb: AI is primarily tools and materials, not your next drinking buddy or the evolution of humanity. It’s time we reassessed the anthropomorphic language and saw AI for what it really is – powerful tech that we can shape and use, while also acknowledging its potential for significant impact.

Real Talk on AI Capabilities

Now, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of what AI can actually do. Morten laid it out straight:

  1. AI systems are probabilistic and non-deterministic. In plain English? They can be unpredictable, which poses challenges for devs trying to build reliable systems.
  2. These systems have limited memory within each interaction. They’re like that friend who needs constant reminders.
  3. They don’t have knowledge in the human sense; they’re pattern recognition machines on steroids.
  4. It’s all about language modeling and data processing, not human-like intelligence.

The key takeaway? Context is crucial. Without it, AI can struggle. To make AI work for us, we need to feed it the right data and ask the right questions. But let’s not forget – when we do this right, the results can be pretty damn impressive.

AI: The UX Layer of the Future

Here’s where it gets interesting. Morten dropped this bomb: generative AI is just the tip of the iceberg. It’s the sexy, public-facing part of a much bigger AI world. But get this – it’s essentially a UX layer for more complex AI systems.

Think about it like this: generative AI is the cool interface that lets us mere mortals interact with the hardcore AI stuff underneath. It’s like the sleek app on your phone that’s powered by some serious backend magic. And this interface? It’s opening up new possibilities for creativity and innovation that we’re only beginning to explore.

The Enterprise AI Struggle Is Real (But Worth It)

Now, let’s talk about the corporate world trying to jump on the AI bandwagon. It’s like watching your dad try to use TikTok – awkward at first, but give it time, and you might be surprised. Companies are integrating AI into everything, expecting big changes. And while Morten’s right that “If you just bolt generative AI on top of something, it does not work,” we’re seeing some companies nail it and reap major benefits.

The real challenge is restructuring entire systems and data to work with AI. It’s not a quick fix; it’s a total overhaul. But for those who get it right? They’re seeing increased efficiency, innovation, and even new job creation. It’s a tough journey, but the destination could be worth it.

Ethical AI: Not Just a Buzzword

Alright, let’s get serious for a sec. AI harms are real, and we can’t ignore them. We’re talking environmental impact, societal issues, and decision-making that affects real people. But let’s also recognize the flip side – AI’s potential to solve major global challenges.

Morten challenged us to justify every kilowatt-hour we use with AI. That’s some heavy stuff, but it’s crucial. We’ve got to think about the impact of our tech, not just the cool factor. At the same time, let’s consider how AI might help us solve energy crises or climate change. It’s a balancing act, folks.

Building a Future We Actually Want

Here’s where we, as creators and innovators, come in. Morten hit us with this truth bomb: “The future is not an inevitable thing that happens to us. It is something we build ourselves.” Boom! That’s the kind of empowerment we need.

So, how do we use AI to build a kickass future?

  1. Explore new ways of doing old things. Challenge the status quo, baby!
  2. Tackle those “impossible” problems. AI gives us new tools to iterate and innovate.
  3. Use AI to empower people, not replace them. Think augmented intelligence, not artificial intelligence.
  4. Apply AI where it makes sense, not just because it’s trendy.
  5. Focus on solving real problems for real people. Don’t get caught up in the money-making hype, but don’t ignore the economic potential either.

The KK Take: A Deeper Dive into AI’s Impact

Now, let’s take a moment to zoom out and look at the bigger picture. While Morten’s talk gave us a much-needed reality check on AI hype, it’s worth diving deeper into the nuances of AI’s impact on society and individuals.

Creativity and Productivity Explosion

First off, let’s acknowledge that AI isn’t all doom and gloom. We’re witnessing a creativity and productivity explosion that’s hard to ignore. New jobs are being created, groundbreaking scientific discoveries are being made, and innovations are happening at breakneck speed. AI is helping us design new molecules, compounds, and materials that could revolutionize medicine, energy, and more.

Trust and Potential Harm

However, Morten’s concerns about trust and potential harm are valid. The question isn’t whether AI can be trusted in general, but rather for what specific tasks and under what conditions. The “infinite blast radius” he mentions might be an extreme metaphor, but it points to a real issue: the far-reaching and sometimes unpredictable consequences of AI decisions.

Energy Use and Efficiency

When it comes to energy use, it’s true that AI systems are power-hungry beasts. But let’s not forget that they’re also being used to optimize energy grids, improve renewable energy sources, and tackle climate change. The key is to weigh the energy cost against the potential benefits and constantly strive for more efficient AI systems.

Corporate Hype and Genuine Innovation

Is corporate hype the only driver behind AI development? Not entirely. While big tech certainly plays a significant role, there’s also genuine scientific curiosity, a desire to solve complex problems, and yes, economic incentives at play. It’s a complex ecosystem of motivations and actors.

Capitalism and AI Development

Morten’s anti-capitalist and anti-authoritarian views resonate with many of us who are wary of unchecked corporate power. But it’s worth noting that not everyone sees our current system as a “capitalist hellscape.” Many see opportunities for positive change within existing structures, while others advocate for more radical overhauls.

Embracing the Complexity

The path forward isn’t black and white. It’s a winding road full of gray areas, unexpected turns, and tough decisions. As we navigate this AI-infused future, we need to hold onto our critical thinking skills, our ethical compass, and our ability to see both the forest and the trees.


So, future-proofers, let’s embrace the complexity. Let’s be excited about AI’s potential while remaining clear-eyed about its risks. Let’s push for responsible innovation that benefits not just shareholders, but society as a whole. The future is ours to shape, and AI is just one of many tools we have at our disposal. Use it wisely, creatively, and always with an eye towards the greater good.

Now go forth and future-proof, you beautiful, complex creators! The world is waiting for your nuanced, AI-augmented brilliance. Peace out! ???

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