Who knew something could go from being a shiny new toy to revealing how quickly we're willing to lose our humanity in just two short months?
We've all gotten to know OpenAI's new artificial intelligence program, ChatGPT, from reading its answers to questions posted by people all over the Internet. The Q&A's demonstrate an impressive as well as entertaining range of dexterity the chatbot has with topics--everything from the serious, scientific and spiritual, to the humorous, mundane and even vulgar.
To indicate how critically we're teetering on a slippery slope in the uses for this new technology, is evidenced by the recent news of higher ups at Vanderbilt University who in a lapse of judgment, tasked the bot to compose an official letter to students about the recent Michigan shooting; rather than writing something authentic and from the heart.
Clearly we're already at an important crossroads with AI technology and humanity's ability to wield the level of power it holds with adequate integrity. To assist us, I tuned in on ChatGPT's Soul Signs for more insight:
Soul: Unicorn Rocking Horse
A rocking horse is a classic toy, but replacing the horse with a Unicorn makes it one-of-a-kind. Unicorns are part of the Mythical Realm and Mythicals, especially Unicorns, are inspirational, helping us to dream and use our imaginations. They are also very often individuals who have a gift for seduction, attracting attention and standing out from a crowd. A toy implies something that is likely harmless, but it could also be just temporarily so while still in its infancy. A toy also suggests something that can be easily accessed and used by anyone. In addition, Rocking Horse is also Symbolic, and has a strong influence over children and youth as symbols are used to guide society based on the esteem we give them. Rocking Horses, like teeter totters also have the ability to sway in either direction, indicating the ability to be manipulated and pulled one way or another with little resistance.
Persona: Baby Yoda
The character Grogu from Disney Plus' Star Wars serial, The Mandalorian (now about to enter its third season on Wednesday) was dubbed "Baby Yoda" at the onset of the series. According to sources familiar with the show, Grogu is the enigma at the center of the storyline who despite being a diminutive, green, infant alien, is an exceptionally powerful Jedi. Skilled in the art of the Force, enabling him to wield powers such as the death choke ala villain Darth Vader, but also the ability to heal and control fire, the Empire is desperate to capture him and either manipulate his powers or destroy him altogether.
Sound familiar? Just like the Force, there are light and dark aspects to technology too. The Mandalorian could also be read as a metaphorical tale for our times, with ChatGPT playing the role of Baby Yoda. Both share the spotlight as celebrity darlings with endless appeal to kids and younger generations. But what does the future hold for these innocents with immense power? Will the bounty hunter who flipped to protect Grogu in The Mandalorian, remain loyal to "the child" and continue to protect him, or will he hand him over to the dark lords of the Empire? In the same vein, will ChatGPT continue to be a harmless information tool? Who will serve as its Mandalorian and protector? Or will its seductive powers weaken humanity to the point we invite and allow dark controllers and our own shadows to manipulate and control us?
ChatGPT: The Collective Moment
A hundred years ago we were pressing laundry by the river. We hardly think about it, but I bet there were folks raising eyebrows at the thought of a washing machine entering the home for the first time. "How will we ever come to appreciate the value of hard work?", I bet a few wondered while throwing their antiquated washboards in the trash. The concept of human innovation to replace work with more free time has held longstanding allure for us--probably as long as humans have been on the planet and thus required to work for the food and shelter that keep us alive.
Unfortunately, the next chapter in the innovation timeline may be reflecting less about humanity's evolution and more about our decline. Previously, we've innovated to improve each other's lives, now we're watching ourselves being seduced out of our own humanity. Twenty years ago we went from, "I don't know the answer" to I'll "Google it". With the recent revelation about Vanderbilt's use of ChatGPT, where we are today feels like, "I don't know how to express myself" so I'll "ChatGPT it".
Shiny Object Syndrome is ultimately seduction. It's giving in to the self-destructive pull inside that says, "I don't know what to say. AI does it better than me. I'll just give up". If we give in to this, AI won't win by beating us, it will happen because humanity simply gave up. We handed it over.
The fact is, being human is hard. I can empathize with what it was like for those higher ups at Vanderbilt who sat at their computer and felt the daunting task before them, the pressure of finding the right words at a time of sorrow for a population that is young and seeking guidance. But these moments that are hard, are also part of what it is to be alive--to feel the bad with the good, to feel pain and sadness, to honor the honesty of feeling helpless in a moment when we know people are counting on us. In fact, it's precisely the vulnerability of this predicament that makes us human.
The solution? When we don't know what to say, turn to God and each other, not technology.
Showing up, writing and sharing what authentically comes up, even if imperfect, is how we answer the question of "what to say". It is fearlessly engaging from our hearts, the most human part that connects us all--and the only thing separating us from a future of machines.
Kirem Marnett is editorial director of New Earth Almanac and serves as a clear channel of loving energy, inspiring and helping others to embody their paths and become forces of Light in the world. As an intuitive reader of Soul Signs, Kirem helps uncover our truest nature by revealing the energetic facets of everything in relationship to us and our world. She is available for personal and group readings via email and Zoom. Contact her at [email protected] for more information and to schedule.