Afraid of AI

“I said, I do not fear those pants with nobody inside them. I said, and said, and said those words. I said them but I lied them.”

Dr. Seuss, “What was I Scared Of?”

Over the past several months, I’ve felt increasingly unsettled by the incredible programming feats being performed by modern AI tools like Github Copilot and ChatGPT. They can write React components, make data visualizations, and even build full iOS apps.

At first I paid little attention (it’s just hype, right?), but eventualy I couldn’t ignore it. To be honest, the more I learned the more I felt afraid.

I didn’t like this. What’s happening to me? I used to be so excited about new technologies. Am I worried that I’ll fall behind? That I’ll lose my job? That it’ll suck all the fun out of programming?

I’m not the only one feeling afraid. I recently read an eye-opening post that mentioned how only 15% of Americans were more excited than concerned about increasing AI usage. In comparison, “65% of Chinese people were optimistic about AI creating jobs rather than destroying them.”

What happened to us Americans? We used to be so optimistic. Isn’t this supposed to be the land of opportunity? And now we’re cowering in fear?

AI is the pair of pale green pants with nobody inside them. It’s new and it seems unnatural and threatening.

But being afraid is no way to live. So I decided that it’s time for me to confront the pants.

I’m planning to spend a bunch of time over the next several weeks digging into to AI tools for augmented development. I want to learn what’s out there and how it works. Just in the last week I got access to some of the more popular tools (ChatGPT, Github Copilot, etc) and I’m going to see what I can do with them.

It’s early but I’m already starting to feel that “new technology excitement” coming back.