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What led you to start using AI when other people have not yet used it at all?

I first heard about AI when my very smart older cousin studied it in college in the 1980s. He ended up working for an accounting firm for decades: no robots.

What led you to start using AI when other people have not yet used it at all?

    1. "Quick reply" feature in emails/texts. I resisted at first but now frequently tap the default "good job!" or "thanks!"

    This has reduced the quality of my communication but increased the quantity.

    2. Speech recognition

    My typing skills have always been mediocre. Now I use speech recognition to send emails from my phone. I frequently wait to use my phone to send a quick email instead of typing it. The voice interface will become more important as our devices get smaller. My spelling skills are taking a nose dive!

    In the last few weeks, I have configured my work and personal computers to respond quickly and easily to speech-to-text. This is made a huge difference in the way that I work.

    For example, I am using voice-to-speech for a lot of this list. I am also using Grammarly to help edit and clarify my thoughts. Years ago I tried Dragon NaturallySpeaking. At the end of the day, it was more effort to speak and clean up than to type it in the first place. Now the tools are excellent and get better every day.

    3. In 2023 there is a real convergence of these tools, in addition to ChatGPT

    AI has been developing for many decades, depending on when you start counting. In 2023 there is a convergence of capability, combined with massive media hype.

    Because data centers are combined with cell phones, everyone can access millions of computers at once in the palm of their hand. You can see almost any movie ever made or any song ever recorded in seconds. Speech recognition is "in the cloud" and happens on massively powerful systems. Also, the cell phones themselves are extremely capable and powerful computers. Some capabilities were complete science fiction 20 years ago, like high-resolution multi-person audio and video meetings while you are traveling in a car.

    4. Tools for creating and editing Content

    With no previous experience publishing books, I challenged myself. I was able to publish five books on Kindle in May. I used speech-to-text and chat GPT extensively. Even in books where it might not seem obvious. Now that I am writing a "real book" it is taking longer, but still a fraction of the time I thought it would. In a month Grammarly has improved my writing significantly.

    5. Using ChatGPT to write code

    This is my day job, but also a passion. I have used ChatGPT many times to make quick solutions. It is truly incredible. For example, last year, I would've had to find references on the Internet, and ten years ago I would've had to take a book off my shelf to try to adapt a solution to what I was doing. Now I can give ChatGPT my variable names and goals, and it will write surprisingly good code 20% of the time (better than what I would have come up with), good code 40% of the time, kind of wrong 20% of the time and way off/broken/buggy code 20% of the time.

    6. Using GitHub Copilot when coding

    This is like pair programming with someone who never gets tired, has to go to the bathroom, or takes a phone call. Sometimes their ideas are good, sometimes not so good (or wrong), and sometimes the solutions are brilliant, and I would never think of them.

    Another plus is if you were writing code comments or even creative stories copilot will help you by giving suggestions. It is basically like ChatGPT built into your code editor.

    7. I am of the belief that AI is not a fad and will be extremely important in the near future and I would rather leverage it than be left behind

    8. The pace of change in technology is going to take off like a rocket in the next decade and not slow down

    I have written elsewhere about how we are on the second half of the checkerboard with computing power. Every 18 months, we are doubling the amount of previously existing computing power. There is also horizontal convergence of technologies. Networks and storage are faster, and networks are more profound and comprehensive as more people and things connect to the internet. Data centers have been created where computing power can be reconfigured in seconds to solve different problems. You can have thousands of CPUs training a language model and then seconds later they are editing videos, serving websites or streaming media.

    There will be disruptions that I am trying to understand. For example, Uber and Airbnb disrupted their space in the past decade by digitizing and commoditizing material things. There will be a similar upsetting of creative work in the coming decade. There will still be creators, but the ones that thrive will be different and use tools to help them do their jobs faster.

    9. Text-to-image creation is very interesting and fun

    It is a lot of fun to give a computer, a prompt like "a hipster mouse, riding a single-speed bike in a city" and have it create a usable image. Innovators are already using this to create endless generative video game worlds.

    10. AI is the second major innovation wave in my lifetime: I want to be one of the ones that catch it

    The first one was the Internet. I had an idea in the late 90s for a how-to website with videos and affiliate links back to products. When I worked in the video industry, people were starting to put Quicktime movies online and I learned how to do that. It was a really good idea (and I was not the only person that had it), and it is basically what YouTube became but ideas are not worth anything without execution. I didn't have a prayer of being able to pull that off at the time! I just had notebooks of ideas and I was the butt of jokes. I am interested in taking what I learned and possibly succeeding more with this revolution.

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