So the Smithsonian has another idea for 2022: What if instead of relying on our own resolutions we asked an AI what it thinks we should do? Starting this weekend, the â€œFuturesâ€ exhibit bothÂ online and at its Arts and Industries Building offers a â€œResolutions Generator,â€ an AI that makes suggestions on what commitments we should undertake for 2022. (Enforcement is…loose.)
It sounds like a slightly weird idea, and Iâ€™d be lying if I said it didnâ€™t turn up some weird results.
â€œChange my name to one of my favorite shapes,â€ it suggests, or â€œEvery Friday for a year I will wear a different hat.â€ And, â€œEvery time I hear bells for a month, I will paint a potato.â€
â€œWe wanted the AI to come up with the kind of interesting resolutions weâ€™re not thinking of,â€ Shane said. â€œWe wanted whimsy,â€ added Rachel Goslins, the director of the Arts and Industries Building, â€œwith a little bit of real.â€
Plus they have a point. The truth is by accessing the collective corpus of human resolutions, AI might conceive of ideas that our pale human pea brains cannot.
Anyway, itâ€™s not like weâ€™ve been doing such a good job handling the worldâ€™s problems as it is. Climate change. Social division. Inflation. Omicron. The continued dominance of Tom Brady. So we wonâ€™t decide to marry someone because an AI recommends it. But maybe weâ€™ll let it choose our next trip? Thanks to a host of AI-driven apps, AI has probably already influenced what car we bought for that trip and the route weâ€™d take to get there.
And there are growing piles of evidence that deploying AI that can think faster and even differently will pay dividends in the real world. A Stanford study last monthÂ concludedÂ that AI sped up discoveries onÂ coronavirusÂ antiviral drugs by as much as a month, potentially saving lives. Canadian researchers in SeptemberÂ found thatÂ AI made consistently better choices than doctors in treating behavioral problems. Even a button-down institution like Deloitte has a staffer who hasÂ persuasively arguedÂ that we should use AI, not humans, to update government regulations.
It makes sense why so many of us feel uncomfortable, though. Thereâ€™s a difference between a tool and a goal. Deciding to visit Grandma in Milwaukee is a substantive choice. Getting there is just a utilitarian need. AI is okay for the how, not so much for the what.
But from an algorithmic standpoint there may be â€¦ not such a huge difference? Better results, after all, are better results. And with venues like online dating apps and its algorithms that decide who pops up in them already fuelingÂ our marriage choices, substantive life decisions are kind of already shaped by AI.
Plus thereâ€™s the psychological benefit. Think about the fears of making the wrong decision now disappearing. Our blood pressure would plummet. Then we wouldnâ€™t need an AI to tell us what blood-pressure medication to take.
See FULL STORY at Washington Post.