AI vs. real life: How to survive in a two-speed society

AI vs. real life: How to survive in a two-speed society

  By Mark Jones, CEO + Chief Storyteller, ImpactInstitute 

Mucking around with artificial intelligence engines the other day, it hit me. You know what geek-ish people like me love? Magical black boxes.  

Don’t you think it’s mind-blowing we can have real-time conversations with AI? Fears of robotic takeover aside, most of us enjoy the thrill of discovering a magical black box that communicates in human-like ways. 

Scan through the history of tech, and we see the same thing over and over: personal computers, Wi-Fi, the Blackberry, iPhone, cloud computing, social media. Each one awe-inspiring and mysterious. 

Now let’s think about that in the context of real life (i.e. anything that doesn’t involve scrolling). 


Two-speed society  

Real life doesn’t always move at the same speed, or so it seems. Social progress takes time. Our relationships at work and home take time – much longer than some of us would prefer.  

The world of psychology tells us that can be stressful. Cognitive dissonance is that moment when we’re forced to reconcile two conflicting beliefs or ideas, and we don’t like it.  

For example, a friend asked me the other day how long it takes to start a business and make it successful. My answer: much longer than you think. She didn’t really appreciate my honesty! 

Last week’s Federal Budget is another example. Do we need a budget surplus or more investment in social welfare? Um, both?  

Then we’ve got another example at our Disability Expo events, which we hold in eight locations across Australia for 45,000 attendees each year. We work with people who make meaningful progress towards personal health, wellbeing, professional and life goals. And yet, it takes time. Lots of time. 


Two-speeds, one mindset 

So how can we reconcile this two-speed society?  

In short, you can’t, at least at the macro level. But you can change the way you think about social progress and the speed of technology. 

Eddie Cantor, an American comedian and actor, famously said: “It takes twenty years to become an overnight success.” 

That’s an idea which applies equally well to technology and people:  

  • Today’s AI black boxes are not overnight wonders. They stand on the shoulders of Machine Learning systems created 20 years ago such as IBM Watson.  

For all their differences, it turns out magical black boxes and real life have a lot in common.  

Namely, the patience, focus and years of dedication needed to bring great ideas, visions, businesses, and social programs to life.  

And ironically, that’s a comforting idea. Magic, even.  

Ready to explore storytelling for impact?   

ImpactInstitute is a professional services firm for purpose-led organisations. Our unique blend of impact consulting, brand storytelling and events services help our clients create meaningful change. Work with us and discover how your story leads to impact. Learn more.