Since ChatGPT is already out with version 4 (and is being integrated with Microsoft suite of applications as Co-Pilot), I am witnessing a rash of articles and medium posts around these LLM’s. Truth be told, I recently co-authored an interesting train of ideas around similarities between modern medicine and AI. We distilled our thoughts over two weeks, writing various combinations till I could nail the common link. It took several iterations of the draft to shape up – no, we didn’t use generative AI to create those templates.
My reasoning is that generative AI will destroy “free-thinking” (and free-spirit), something Hindus have always known to “internalise” as part of their “inner consciousness”. I am perplexed by the thoughts of “thinking” – how we generate the ideas themselves. I have had several in-person discussions with my neurology colleagues around this; it’s part philosophy, part abstractive science and part deduction. Disruption in any of the generative ideas leads to a dysfunctional human. Imagine a situation with a large temporal infarct/stroke or even a glioblastoma in the dominant motor cortex, and that “spoils the party”. The hapless patient may be able to think, but not express or convey. Collectively, this doesn’t impact the “society” because we can arrange resources to help the individual stand up on the feet. Based on the underlying cause and treatment algorithm, we might assist the person towards recovery.
What happens when generative AI becomes pervasive? The collective consciousness of society gets atrophied. Humans progress based on experimentation, but what if the very idea of thinking is outsourced to a large language model itself (which does nothing more than a statistical prediction of words). The idea of “consciousness” is rooted in awareness of self. The basic difference between the “east” and the “west” comes to one thing. East believes in “I am the soul and body is the vehicle”, which translates into thinking for generational life cycles. The “west” believes conversely. These bring forth the ethical strifes in the west, while in the eastern construct, AI can be easily assimilated as a tool. The Eastern construct is to understand the consciousness domain by “a deep internal dive” or meditation, while the West struggles with the ideas around “focus/reductionist” approaches.
These ideas are critical to understand the impact of generative AI. In some cases, the disruption in job profiles is expected to have a significant impact. Co-option is the way forward, because the technology sector has uncorked the genie, and the corporate boardrooms are convinced about this future course of monetisation. “Investors” and “share-holders” are driving forces behind agenda-shaping, where people forget that society collectively is being pushed towards natural stupidity.
I will focus on these write-ups to assess and understand their impact. This is exciting and frightening simultaneously. The truth is, however, suspended and lies somewhere in between. I have seen the generative AI in practice, and I marvel at the underlying tech, but as a practitioner of modern medicine, I am intent on the reductionist pathway to understand this development.