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By Murray Gottheil | September 25, 2023
I have a theory about life which I espouse in my less optimistic moments. My theory is that for many people, things become less and less familiar as they age. What is socially acceptable changes, people dress and act differently, friends and family move away and pass away, technology changes, and so on. Eventually everything is so unfamiliar that they do not feel that they belong in the world, and they are then ready to die of natural causes.
I sometimes espouse this theory when I find myself in an uncomfortable situation surrounded by people who seem to think that everything is normal when clearly it is not. At those times I shake my head, turn to my wife, and say, “Maybe it is time.” She knows what I mean.
Since I moved to the country, I feel like that way less often because I am surrounded by nature, as well as by a community of people who are about my age, and who have similar values and take care of each other.
However, the ‘real world’ keeps creeping into my consciousness. You know, the world where we elect idiots, where racism, homophobia, and antisemitism are once again main-stream, people push each other off subway platforms, and even the forests burning and the oceans boiling are not sufficient to convince many that climate change is real. That world.
Recently I have found that AI is causing me to worry about my longevity more frequently. I am not referring to AI that is powering the automation of repetitive tasks such as the production of legal documents. I call that the ‘Good AI’ (as I must if I expect to ever again be hired by a technology company to be an Internet influencer.)
No, it is AI that is being deployed to pretend that it is human that troubles me.
Have you read about Huggie Bot? If you haven’t, here is a quote from the developer’s website:
HuggieBot can positively affect users on a physiological level and can be comparable to hugging a person. Participants consistently have more favourable opinions about hugging robots after prolonged interaction with HuggieBot ….
If technology can care for lonely people who need a hug, it should come as no surprise that it can replace written communication as well. Which brings me to the use of AI to write posts on social media.
Like other social media platforms, LinkedIn is ostensibly supposed to facilitate human connection and interaction. Much is written on LinkedIn about being our ‘authentic selves.’
Since I retired, I try to be my authentic self on LinkedIn. I also read what others write and share a connection with the working world of which I am no longer a part. I get to know people and continue to feel relevant to the legal profession. I communicate with people all over the world.
Or maybe I am just interacting with AI.
You can take from all of this that I do not approve of people using AI to write their posts. However, I know that this is a losing battle. All that I can do is shake my head and say, “Maybe it’s time.”
Murray is a happily retired lawyer who lives in the country, drives a pick-up truck, writes, teaches and mentors. You can reach him at [email protected] or see what he is up to at lawanddisorderinc.com