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Use AI (Or It Will Use You)
You decide whether this God-like tech will be your jetpack or puppet master
There's no question in my mind that AI will be essential to solving humanity's biggest problems.
The thing is, it will only solve those problems if we give it goals to solve those problems.
The same pattern applies to an individual.
If you have personal goals, you will be able to harness the power of AI to achieve those goals more quickly.
But if you don't have personal goals, the most likely scenario is this:
The impact of AI on your life will be disproportionately influenced by people who are very intentional about using AI in ways that are NOT in your best interest.
In other words, if you don't use AI, AI will use you.
TikTok as a case study of AI rarely aligned with your goals
This is already happening if you think about what's happening with social media, especially platforms like TikTok where the main point of the app's existence is to get you to consume content.
(The equally important main point of TikTok is to promote the interests of the CCP, but that's a topic for another day).
TikTok doesn't care about your life goals.
Yes, you can follow people and tell the algorithm whether you like a piece of content or not.
But it doesn't currently have a way to take input goals like:
"I want to improve my mental health, social relationships, and make $1 million in the next year."
And more importantly, even if it had the AI power to help you, it’s business model is not about well-being, it’s about farming your attention.
Its business is not about giving you WHAT YOU NEED to achieve your goals.
It’s about feeding you a never ending stream of videos it has high conviction will keep your eyes glued to the screen.
Short form videos are often the last thing you need to watch if you want to make progress towards your goals. Especially if those goals involve building a business or a movement.
How to use AI to advance your goals
So how can you use AI to advance your goals? There are far too many use cases to list, but here are four goals AI is currently helping me advance:
BECOME KNOWLEDGEABLE ABOUT MARKETING: I tell the Google News app to feed me articles related to “new innovations in marketing”, so I get articles related to that query sent straight to my app feed.
KEEP ME ENERGIZED THROUGHOUT THE WORKDAY: I tell Spotify to feed me more songs like the songs that get me most in the flow state. For any song, you can ask Spotify to create a whole playlist of similar songs. And if you put a few songs in a Spotify playlist, it will automatically populate the playlist with songs that are similar to the original songs you put in.
HELP ME WRITE ABOUT AMERICA 2.0: I tell chatGPT to help me brainstorm all sorts of things related to articles I write. My articles are almost always based on questions in my head, and it’s fun and useful to ask chatGPT what its answers to my questions are, and bounce ideas off it.
QUICKLY GROK LONG ARTICLES: I get sent or discover so many enticing pieces of content on any given day. Since I have so little time to actually read them all, it's nice to be able to save an article in Notion and ask Notion AI to summarize it for me.
A type of person who would greatly benefit from using AI more: community managers
It’s well known that individuals who work with large amounts of data, such as data analysts, researchers, and marketers, would greatly benefit from using AI to analyze and make sense of complex data sets.
Additionally, those who need to automate repetitive tasks, such as customer service representatives and administrative assistants, could also benefit from using AI to save time and improve efficiency.
But can people with jobs that are seen as extremely human oriented benefit from using AI?
For example, I hope to be able to tap AI to help me manage communities I am stewarding. It's extremely time-consuming to do the administrative work of managing communities, like…
ANSWERING QUESTIONS: AI-powered chatbots can be used to answer frequently asked questions, provide support to community members, and handle basic administrative tasks such as scheduling appointments and sending reminders.
KEEPING A PULSE ON VIBE: AI can be used to analyze the sentiment of social media posts, comments, and feedback from community members. This information can help community managers identify areas of concern and address them proactively.
INTRODUCING LIKE-MINDED MEMBERS: AI could play a valuable role in introducing people within a community to each other, helping to build stronger connections and foster a sense of belonging. My friends at Intros.AI does just that.
FIGHTING SCAMMERS: AI can be used to detect and prevent fraud, spam, and other forms of malicious behavior within a community. This can help ensure a safe and secure environment for all community members.
MAKING EVERYONE FEEL LIKE THE MAIN CHARACTER: AI can be used to provide personalized recommendations and content to community members based on their interests and behavior. This can help improve engagement and build stronger connections between community members.
If AI is given a lot of training on how to support different community management functions that require less human touch, it will do wonders for the many time-strapped community managers around the world.
Conclusion: Use AI, or It Will Use You
If you leave with anything, it should be a conviction to train AI so that AI doesn’t train you to advance someone else’s goals. Use it to help you achieve your goals, or it will work against you.
AI empowers the agentic, and subjugates the unconscious.
Moving through life on autopilot leaves you vulnerable to AI-powered systems like TikTok, which are designed to hijack and feed off your attention rather than help you achieve your goals.
AI can help you gain the exact knowledge you need, produce content more efficiently, and enhance your ability to become the person you want to be.
But it could be your worst nightmare if you don't tell it how to be your friend.
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