Here’s a casual Sunday topic for you…
What’s your take on life with technology these days?
Is it advancing us?
Or has it already left us dead as a society?
Take your time, and get back to me.
Meanwhile, here’s my take…
I think the spot where having these life-changing tech advancements…
… combined with instant access to every drop of information spanning the entire history of the world…
… flopping around in our purses and pockets…
… really kinda screws us over, is:
Lack of immersion.
Still with me?
If so, I’ll take the geezer bullet here and ask if you remember life before internet access?
When the only way to go down the “rabbit hole” on a subject was by searching, book-by-book, through the cavernous shelves of a library?
(You’d spend hours, your table littered with stacked, marked, and bent open books guiding your path to whatever conclusion you were on your way to discovering.)
When we learned about bullying from actual bullies… and about courage from our need to muster it?
When seeing pictures of naked people was at first hilarious, then intriguing, then titillating, because it was still a rare thing to see – granting you space to calculate your reaction to it?
These were immersive experiences, and they shaped who we are.
I get that I’m generalizing pre-millennial life here…
… but safe to say the majority of people who lived an analog childhood are thankful they did – because of the immersion, and the visceral memories we took as prizes.
(Plus we get to say things like, “I don’t how I’m still alive!” when comparing playground scars.)
But, this isn’t a rant comparing generations.
It’s a reflection of our new reality.
No matter the date on your driver’s license, you’re living in the information technology age right now. And that means learning how we use or think about things, happens in seconds, rather than hours or days like it did then.
Also, learning is often not our own experience to have anymore.
The minute we get a little hung up searching for information or using technology, and begin to (god forbid) ponder our next move… someone nearby jumps in to direct us to the fastest “fix.”
“Here, I’ll do it for you, Grammy.”
Well, no wonder Grammy’s mind is turning to mush.
Let her fuck it up and figure it out.
Brains thrive on puzzles.
This leads to my concern with the tidal wave of AI-led
machine learning in copywriting.
Right now, we’re all getting a surface-level education on the basic concepts, and tidbits of terminology, about the thing…
… but how many people are actually playing with it?
You can hardly login to Facebook without being assaulted by another tedious post of someone’s entire ChatGPT prompt history and the final result they’re either “mind blown” or “super annoyed” over.
But, that’s not immersion. That’s chatter.
To experience the true power of the tool, you have to play with it.
If you’ve been hesitant because it seems complicated, please know that it isn’t.
The incredible thing about ChatGPT is that it’s a conversation between you and the machine.
What I’ve learned is that “prompting” doesn’t mean entering a block of perfectly worded “code”… (which, if it were, I’d be out.)
Prompting is simply asking questions, similar to how you do with search engines, and then having a real-time conversation that leads to more specific information.
You may recognize this pattern from… real life.
It’s a collaborative creative process… just without the limitations of crooked human biases and dead-ending opinions.
That’s friggin’ liberating!
I mean, sure, at some point, you’ll want to trade ideas with other humans you trust…
… but the freedom to stay in your own thoughts, aided by an interactive encyclopedia, while you’re in the discovery phase of creating…
… is truly priceless.
Of course, from there, you can ask your fun, new coworker, to give its answers in story form or take on the voice of different characters, which really is pretty mind-blowing.
(Imagine having a friend who’s unbeatable at Jeopardy and can also do really good impressions on famous people. Like that SNL sketch with Will Ferrell as Sean Connery if he actually gave answers instead of just saying, “Suck it, Trebec!”)
But, again, if you’ve yet to dive in with ChatGPT, don’t even worry about getting it to impersonate “voice” on that on the first go-’round.
Just play with it and see what it does.
Accept that AI has truly changed the game.
“Jeannie” has left the bottle and is dancing around the living room.
Second-hand knowledge won’t do on this one.
We’ve got to immerse.
Because while it can be fun to watch other people play with it, you can only figure out how it works by doing it yourself.