Default Advantages AI Will Have Over Humans
Even human level AI could be transformative
With ChatGPT gaining capabilities every day and new hundred million dollar funding rounds for AI companies popping up faster than you can say “bubble,” everyone is holding their breath until AI is stamped “superhuman” — after which we’ll all quit our jobs and live just as WALL-E predicted.
However, AI need not achieve superhuman intelligence or speed to render us near obsolete — I believe that a human-equivalent AI would still have significant advantages over flesh-and-blood humans just by virtue of being in silico.
A recruiting agency can easily charge 25% of the base salary of a software engineer. Hiring pipelines move extremely slowly, often taking months to fill a role — highly skilled talent is hard to come by and in very finite supply.
In comparison, we are able to near-instantaneously clone AI. Want access to the world’s best engineer on XYZ? Sure, just pay up and they’ll be ready in a few minutes.
Knowledge becomes much more liquid as well. Normally there is a tradeoff between focusing on one’s career and sharing the knowledge with others (e.g. giving talks, teaching at university). With AI, a “worker” can have 10 different jobs and at any arbitrary point decide to synthesize the data from all 10 agents and export it for others to consume.
Low Latency Interaction
Humans are not built for interfacing with machines. When a person looks at a document to decide what to type next, their visual cortex has to process input from ~100 million rods and cones, process it, and then send a signal down to the fingers, which dutifully type away at a few hundred characters per minute. A computer however is directly hooked into the loop. Instead of processing input from 100 million sensors, it reads the text file in an instant.
This is further magnified when interacting with different applications. Where a human might see some data in the browser, copy and paste it into Excel, make some edits, and then send an email with the file — taking 10 seconds in total. But AI could complete the work unencumbered by merely emitting the right tokens to call the right API.
Humans have a mess of hormones floating around in their bodies. Cortisol spiking in the morning, melatonin at night. Blood sugar spiking after eating food, causing sleepiness.
As a result, we experience life through unpredictable bouts of productivity. AI is unencumbered by such biological quirks, producing at the same rate of productivity no matter the time of day. In fact, AI doesn’t need to sleep at all, giving it 30% more output than humans in a 24-hour window.
There are also a number of other human experiences AI side steps, yielding even higher consistency. AI:
Doesn’t need to exercise to keep its mind sharp
Doesn’t get sick
Doesn’t take vacation
Doesn’t get in relationships and have horrible breakups
Doesn’t get burned out from working too hard
On the bright side, this speed and consistency will be incorporated into the products and businesses we use, eliminating the worst parts of human interaction — hopefully in a few years from now, hour long hold times will be a relic of the past. On the business side, sales cycles often take months, partly due to distinctly human things like “business days,” your point of contact taking vacation, and people being too lazy to respond right away. How much economic value would be unlocked if $100M contracts closed in hours instead of months?
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