You Need To Get Over Your Fear of AI…

…is a sentence I have to say to myself over and over again these days.

My bet is that you might need to hear it, too.

image of iRobot lineup of androids

Am I wrong? Is it too early to make the call that “AI” is inevitable? Do we need to fight back against the machines to save the souls of humanity? 🤔 I’d genuinely like to hear your thoughts.

I realize the title of this blog post is a bit provocative, you’ll just have to forgive me for that. 😂

I’ve spent many days over the last few years alternating between excitement and fear about AI & automation. Excitement at the new opportunities, abilities and efficiencies AI tools will give us, and then, honestly, some despair as I daydream about the horrifying possibilities for abuse and societal destruction that AI could bring (mostly through abuse by malicious human users, even if AGI is not achieved). It’s been a roller coaster. If you pay attention to tech news and are a LinkedIn and Tech Twitter junkie like I am, you’ve probably shared some of this experience.

On occasion, as I’m spiraling down the rabbit hole of dystopian AI apocalypse scenarios, I keep arriving at the same thought:

AI and ever-increasing automation is inevitable, and I need to embrace it and master it.

Will some jobs be lost? Yes. Might it be yours or mine? Maybe. Will everyone need to adapt to this regardless of their job? DEFINITELY.

You can’t put the genie back in the bottle, and you and I and everyone else need to get on board with using “AI assistants” (just new fancy software tools) to do our jobs better or we risk getting left behind in our ever-changing economy. Especially in the software product development world. This is the new normal, this is the future, and eventually AI tools will become as ubiquitous as any other software product or feature. I wish we could “put a pause” on AI development, but I don’t see that ever happening. There is too much money in it for the companies that get to market first/early, and the potential applications of the tech are endless.

Change is hard though.

I just recently went through a leadership training program, and the biggest things that stood out to me were the strategies I learned for embracing change and helping your team embrace change. The reflection on how I have handled change in the past was also really valuable, and I’m now trying to be more mindful about my attitude as a leader when it comes to influencing others to accept or reject change. I have resisted change at work in the past (sometimes for good reason), but I want to do better. Better for myself, and better for my team mates.

Experimenting with, learning about, and leveraging AI tools is a great place to start embracing change!

Since I’m on the subject, here are a few AI tools and resources I’ve found to be useful, informative, and fun. You should check them out if you haven’t already. Don’t stay in the dark on this stuff just because you may fear AI will take your job or lead to the downfall of our civilization (oh boy, here I go again…):

  • GitHub CoPilot – I use this as code analyzer and a supercharged auto-complete tool for writing code
  • OpenAI ChatGPT – I use this to brainstorm ideas, ask tough questions, re-write text, and much more when I’m stuck on something, whether that be coding or copywriting
  • Google Bard – Similar to Chat-GPT, but not as powerful yet
  • OpenAI Dall-E – I use this to jump start my graphic design creative juices. It can turn a text prompt into an incredible variety of images in different styles like icons, photos, or paintings
  • Midjourney – Similar to Dall-E
  • NotionAI – I use this to summarize notes, build outlines, and help with documentation and ideation inside of Notion which is my #1 favorite productivity tool
  • Speechify – Text-To-Speech, in different accents and speeds

Here are a few good AI books, podcasts, movies, articles, and threads if you are interested in thinking about the future and understanding the potential impacts of AI on human life. I enjoyed them, and you might, too.

Lastly I’ll say: stay safe out there, friends! Remember that AI is not the enemy, it’s just another new tool in your toolbelt. Be careful, but be optimistic. Look for ways you can leverage it in your personal and professional life. I highly suggest trying out all of these tools. Read and learn about them at the very least.

Some parting advice:

  • Don’t enter your personal information as a prompt (address, phone, ssn, etc.)
  • Don’t enter your company’s proprietary information as a prompt (finances, formulas, algorithms, passwords/keys, etc.)
  • Read the fine print, know what you are agreeing to

Have a great day, and good luck embracing change! 👋🏻

P.S. No LLM/AI tools were used in the writing of this post. Just a good old fashioned human brain 🤪 and 2 thumbs on my phone 👍🏻👍🏻.