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Five Years On - A Glimpse of an AI Future

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Chris Goodall

Head of Digital Education, Bourne Education Trust

Almost a year on from ChatGPT crashing into public conciousness, are things about to get interesting? Chris Goodall argues that the end of the beginning of AI could herald the beginning of the end of humanity as we know it.

1 October, 2028: Looking Back (The end of the beginning and the beginning of the end)

I spoke to staff just after ChatGPT was released and boldly told them. "AI will revolutionise education this year".

Almost a year on, and it proved to be becoming true. You could glimpse at the start of October 2023 that this was indeed a revolution. October was the ‘end of the beginning’ phase of AI’s integration into education and beyond.

We were starting to tiptoe into a totally new era.

I look fondly back on that year. There was an explosion of AI Apps and innovators were prodding and poking AI, uncovering all the use cases of clunky bolt on tools. It seemed like everyday people were posting a new prompt or App on LinkedIn. It was fun while it lasted.

October was the time it all started to change. The big tech companies started to join forces. Meta with Microsoft, Microsoft with OpenAI, Amazon with Anthropic, Deepmind and Google.

It was then that the integration started.

Little did we know how intricately woven AI would become in our everyday lives, to the point that every word, action or thought is done in tandem with AI now. AI’s invisible hand guiding, suggesting, predicting and augmenting.

Policies, that once reigned in discrete AI applications, became as irrelevant as regulating talking itself. The problem was that there became no clean division between human and machine, but rather an interdependent blending. Instead, we had to establish more generalised core tenets like respect, professionalism, honesty, safety and security to guide this new world.

People understandably were worried then. Would AI mean that we would stop thinking, doing and progressing? Would AI infantilise us?

Like addicts we had become hooked on the way life was. We had become desensitised to what life was really like. We didn’t realise how unhealthy our lives had become. Dominated by a myriad of mundane admin tasks, spinning too many plates, obsessed with making progress without actually moving forward. The very definition of a treadmill!

But looking back five years on, we could have only dreamt about the time and abundance that we have now gained.

Don’t get me wrong it was a period of adjustment, we were deluged by worthless content, products and fake media. But it was oversupply to the extent that we began to see right through the emptiness of those things, and it helped us realise where the true meaning in life lay.

Looking back now from October 2028, October 2023 marked the 'end of the beginning' phase of AI. But it was also the 'beginning of the end' of humanity as we knew it.

That was a good thing. Life had got crazy. We had lost our humanity, and only by connecting with machines could we finally find time and space to connect back with nature and each other.

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