This content was published first in The Sunday Letters Journal: https://sundayletters.larrygmaguire.com/p/data-vs-feelings by Larry G. Maguire on Fri, 07 Apr 2023 12:07:47 GMT
Information is power, and the more detailed the information, the more sway one may have over decisions. Anyone can gather data and distribute it. ChatGPT can give you all the data you want—within the boundaries of its database albeit massive as it is. But it’s getting larger and, arguably, more clever. What is clever? We’ve been trying to figure that out since before Francis Galton, and we’re still not clear.
Although we tend to think otherwise, clever is not the production of facts. We might have access to masses of dates and events, facts and figures, data and various other information, but without the ability to see what can’t be seen, this information merely tells us what has happened up to now. So if that’s the basis of our actions, we’re already behind the curve. It might tell us what may occur next under broadly similar conditions, but what’s really important is usually out of sight. It comes from left field and surprises us for better or worse. It’s what disrupts the status quo. It’s what we fear most.
For some, AI may be the solution to the discomfort of not knowing. But even if it was, are we ready to hand over our decision-making to machines? Arguably, we’ve already done that. Millions of people disengage their moral reasoning for the say-so of the system—of the machine. “it’s not my fault,” “The boss told me to do it,” “I was just doing my job”, “it’s the system that’s the problem”.
Clever is much more than data and the processing of data. Besides, as soon as it’s measured, it’s out of date—expired. So relying on it leaves us exposed to the evolution of the phenomenon. That’s why in statistical analysis, we allow for error in our computation (e ). Even if our technology was capable of capturing all the variables, how could we possibly interpret the results? We’d become reliant on the algorithm.
They represent the capacity of the organism to read the room and tell us when something is off—Proprioception. Conscious thought it is not. We sense. Feelings are clever, nuanced and creative. They are what distinguish us from objects and make us who we are. They are what save us from moral disengagement and remind us that machines, no matter how clever we make them, will always be absent of that undefinable element. #CommandYourOwnWork
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