Thinking about AI

Back at work and loving it. When I am off work and usually hanging at my wife’s parents house, I am constantly reminded how untechy the emerging markets are. Not talking like Bangkok which I am guessing some folks think is an emerging market – but it’s not. It is super hip and techy in a typical SEA way. You have to get further off the beaten path where life is still basic and tech is not infiltrated the world yet.

This is an area where getting a DSL line is possible but not worth it. Fiber is not possible so the best option was to pick up a wifi router that works with a SIM card. I used TRUE when I am in the sticks since it reliabily has 4G and pretty good packages. I loaded up the SIM with 16GB and it got me through a few weeks with everyone in the house using it.

But apart from basic connectivity and folks making calls, using facebook and whatsapp/line – tech is barely used. Twitter is nowhere to be seen and many of the power toys or apps are not even touched in this part of the world. I tend to think what everyone thinks is simple is actually still too hard for rural folk to wrap their head around.

Making things simple is super hard.

Brings me back to this post :: – people sometimes forget how to make something super simple but incredibly useful. Like the AirPods. I know the haters will hate but you have to try them out to see how simple they are to connect, use and charge to get a sense for how amazing they are. Even my wife figured them out fast and wants a pair where normally she gets so frustrated by bluetooth stuff she stops even trying. Now she is trying to take my AirPods from me. 😉

This brings me back to thinking about AI and the beginner’s mind. Lately been using Google Photos after giving up on Flickr – why? Super simple to use, I know my stuff is backed up and it uses AI to do nice tricks like fixing photos, albums and keeping all my stuff in sync. It is making life easy for me when it comes to photos. Flickr used to but we all know what happened there.

There is some amazing stuff happening with AI and I can only imagine more to come. It will be interesting to see where it all goes but I am wondering who will tackle the killer stuff what will make life easier but is not the sexy stuff to work on? For example. My daughter needs to start a new school and the school sent me a 6 page PDF that needs filling out. Most of the form is mundane stuff – ID’s, phone numbers, addresses and so on. Lets say 50% or more is all boiler plate stuff. Wouldn’t it be cool if the email client or the OS or a cool app picked up the PDF, magically filled most of it out and then pinged me to print it and fill the rest up on my own? I would pay for that. Most of the info needed is on my phone anyway.

I know lots of folks are afraid of AI. I get why. I can see it in the rice fields of Thailand where now a machine takes over the work of harvesting that used to be done by people. Sure you can say these people have time for other things now but what? They worked for money and they don’t have skills to offer for that same amount of time that will pay. They are just sidelined and time saving tools won’t help them. I know the world has always gone through this but AI makes me think it might happen at a much bigger scale than we can imagine.

For sure I want code to help me and same me some time. I can think of many ways that will happen and wonder who will build these things but I also worry about the greater impact on humanity.


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