Perspective on AI from an 80-something? You betcha!
Weekly email archives and occasional extra words that don't have a home anywhere else on my site.
I got schooled by an octogenarian yesterday.
One of my favorite projects is a monthly chat with a senior in one of my client’s 10 high-end retirement communities. After our chat, I write up a story about that senior for their resident magazine.
I stopped offering longer-form content as a client deliverable some time ago, but for some reason I simply cannot quit this.
Even when I’m not in the mood to speak to another human (i.e., most days), a 45-minute conversation with one of these residents almost always makes my day — if not my week.
They not only lived extraordinary lives before they retired; they’re still out there being fabulous 🤯
Case in point: Yesterday, my sweet interview subject spent just shy of an hour nerding out over AI and telling me about the educational, hands-on presentations she leads on AI for hundreds of her fellow residents.
Seriously. There are wait lists for every one.
My jaded 40-year-old ass 😒🤖 sat there nodding while this wonderful older woman regaled me with the exploits of her experimentation with AI tools like ChatGPT (which she started playing with on Dec. 1 of last year, a literal day after it was unveiled to the public).
🎂 She uses it for inspiration to write birthday cards.
👩🏻💻 She asks it for feedback on her presentation outlines.
👵🏻 She suggested it might be used to answer a prying grandchild’s question about old people have so many wrinkles.
She even used it to generate a synopsis of Finnegan’s Wake. (btw, I just asked ChatGPT to give me a synopsis of Infinite Jest, and it reinforced my total lack of desire to read it.)
She recalled the moral panic over the introduction of the calculator in the ’70s. Teachers were convinced it was The End of Math™ and resisted their use in the classroom.
Now? They’re just another tool.
She believes AI will follow suit, becoming “just another tool” (yeah, a tool with the potential to dominate the human race, my inner monologue sneered). I know she’s right, of course. We cannot put this Furby back in its box. We cannot turn this Gigapet off.
Her advice to fellow seniors:
“You’re going to hear plenty of things that are negative about AI, but that shouldn’t keep you from being inquisitive and discovering things that might be helpful in your own life.
“Let it be a positive for you!”
Grumble. Wisdom. Whatever.
I have at least two resources rotting in my graveyard about how to use AI for marketing, specifically for UX insights and pre-launch research.
I’m resisting because AI scares the crap out of me (societally, morally, existentially, etc.), and it makes me feel stupid. Except when it makes me feel superior, because I make better words than a robot. For now 🥴
But I also recognize that I’m going to become a dinosaur in short order if I don’t get with the program soon. 🦕
So I’m going to listen to my elders and commit to finding a modicum of comfort and make a tenuous peace with AI in 2024.
And I’m going to write an AI policy for my business, so God and everybody know exactly where I draw the line with using it.
New year, reluctantly new me.
F-S: Reserved for rest