AI and the Tower of Babel

AI and the Tower of Babel

Written by David L. Bahnsen |
Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Modern technology has always faced a certain Godlike aspiration from some of its more arrogant zealots, as even leading industrialists in the pre-digital era fancied themselves miniature deities on occasion. The AI moment is an odd twist on this Babel-like idolatrous tendency.

The subject of artificial intelligence has become a national obsession in the last year or so. Various questions about what AI will mean for society, the jobs market, and our way of life have become a media craze and an opportunity for great handwringing. Stratospheric stock prices of the companies that serve as the “backbone” of AI have added to the craze. Whether one owns stock in Nvidia or is afraid of what AI will do to one’s job or is a student who wants to know how AI can help write a paper, almost everyone has some skin in the game when it comes to the latest national hype.

In a lot of ways, the AI moment is not entirely new. The digital revolution itself has been years in the making, and many of us have lost count of the examples of “disruption” it has created. From personal computing to the internet to the cloud to now AI, digital technology has made obsolete many jobs and many entire sectors (RIP, typewriters) and has simultaneously created millions upon millions of new jobs. But what is new with AI is the so-called “generative AI” and the machine learning behind it that allows content creation with less human input and more machine capability.

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