In a recent continuing education course on AI, the speaker said, “No one will lose their jobs to AI, but some may lose their jobs because they don’t use AI.” On that first half, bullshit.
The second half, however, may contain some truth. I’ve reluctantly begun using the university’s enterprise version of Microsoft Copilot—mostly to answer questions about Excel so far. It’s useful. Basically a much more efficient search engine.
I don’t actually think I’d lose my job if I didn’t use AI—but over the course of the next few years my work could suffer comparatively without it. But here is where I need to be cautious: while I may find a tool to make my work more efficient, I must remember that the goal of my work is not efficiency. Ivan Illich:
Tools foster conviviality to the extent to which they can be easily used, by anybody, as often or as seldom as desired, for the accomplishment of a purpose chosen by the user.
Tools are not neutral. They are products of intelligence and have an intelligence of their own. Used mindlessly, they will shape the worker according to the tool’s nature.
What does this mean for my use of AI at work?
- I will remain in control of my work’s purposes.
- I will not use artificial intelligence as a substitute for my own.
- I will not allow the values of the designers of AI—which perforce exist within AI itself—to override my own values.