Artificial Intelligence

Is AI making us replaceable?

How AI could redefine human value

Ronit Taleti
5 min readApr 13, 2024

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In today’s world, no introduction needs to be given to what AI is and how it affects our daily lives. Most of us already interact directly with LLM-powered chatbots and AI copilots, most predominantly ChatGPT. There is also no doubt that those and other AI tools are extremely powerful and useful, but now people are starting to ask a different question. Are these systems and tools too powerful?

Now I don’t mean “too powerful” in the sense that they are completely disrupting jobs, but rather that they are too useful. The worry comes from the idea that because we make such heavy use of AI, we aren’t able to build our skills and knowledge at the same level as we did before. As an example, you could look at today’s students. With tools like ChatGPT, it’s become easier than ever to complete schoolwork, so easy in fact that if you do it right you could probably complete most of the work while only putting in maybe 10% of the normal amount of effort. Does this mean that kids who have access to these tools will not develop the skills to read, write and create the same way that everyone else does? Or that if they are put in a situation where they don’t have access to these tools, they are destined to fail? These are the questions I hope to shed some light on as we discuss the potential of AI to make us “replaceable”.

The Flynn Effect

Pictured above: James Flynn

The Flynn Effect, named after researcher James Flynn who observed it in 1984 is the name given to a fascinating phenomenon that has garnered a large attention in psychology. Flynn meticulously analyzed data from IQ tests administered over nearly five decades uncovering a consistent and substantial increase in average IQ scores over time. Across that half a century of data, the upward trend revealed an average gain of 13.8 IQ points suggesting the idea that as a species we were becoming more and more intelligent and advanced.

However, this trend is not a constant in our society. The “Reverse Flynn Effect” presents a troubling backpedal of the long-observed trend of increasing average IQ scores over time, which has been observed since the late 20th century. Some people attribute this drop in IQ to the exponential development of technology, however, that is likely not the whole story because technology at the time the reverse effect is known to have been occurring would not be able to create such a huge disparity, at least not on its own. Scientists have linked this reversal to environmental factors such as pollution, and even things like lead poisoning from leaded gas have contributed to this day's drops in IQ.

The many side effects attributed to lead poisoning

Regardless, even from the 2000s onwards, technology would have done far more good than harm for students and learners because it gave them incredible access to information. Even modern-day AI is repeating that same process over again, giving us the ability to consolidate information more effectively than ever before, but the issue with AI is that it is so good at condensing information that you can prompt it in a way that it doesn't just give you the information but also formats it in a way that you can copy-paste it into whatever project your working on on the time. So, is the current generation of students doomed because they are no longer learning these skills? Will they end up reversing the trend of new generations taking up increasingly skilled jobs? It’s possible, but there is a side to AI that we haven't yet talked about.

The Advent of the Calculator

When the calculator was developed to the point that it could be introduced to classrooms for the first time, it could have been one of the most controversial items to enter schools until the modern day, but why? Well, the worry then was largely the same as what we see today. People feared that kids would not develop proper arithmetic skills and that it would lead to students becoming over-reliant on technology and ultimately would fail in any situation where they didn't have access to it.

Does this sound familiar? It almost sounds like the same situation presented in the introduction, except with AI instead of calculators. But this offers us a look into the potential future of today’s world. Looking at the modern day, although students use calculators every day, there really isn't a sizable drop in the average math skills of students, if there is one at all.

Even though the AI chatbots of today are vastly more powerful than handheld calculators, there is no reason why the same events couldn’t play out today. Although it may be harder, schools can and most likely will adapt, even to leverage these new powerful tools to help teach kids better and help them get accustomed to a rapidly evolving landscape.

Conclusion

It’s crucial to acknowledge and address the valid concerns surrounding over-reliance on AI for tasks that require critical thinking and creativity. To mitigate this risk, educators and parents must emphasize a balanced approach that encourages the use of AI tools while also engaging in activities that stimulate creativity, such as art, music, and hands-on experimentation.

Ultimately, the impact of AI on future generations’ creativity will hinge on how it is integrated into education and society at large, as well as how individuals choose to engage with and utilize these technologies. Embracing AI’s capabilities can propel the human race towards greater advancements. Throughout history, major technological revolutions usually resulted in periods of great innovation as humans were able to direct more brainpower and tools toward developing new and improved technologies. By promoting a holistic approach to learning and innovation, we can ensure that AI serves as a catalyst for creativity rather than a hindrance to it.

If you enjoyed reading this article or have any suggestions or questions, let me know by commenting or clapping! You can find me on LinkedIn, or my website for my latest work and updates, or reach out directly on my email!

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Ronit Taleti

I’m an avid 17-year old blogger interested in new and emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, and Virtual/Augmented Reality.