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The Scary Side Effect of Artificial Intelligence You’ve Never Heard Of

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It’s hard to think of a technology (other than blockchain) that has generated more discussion in the past few years than artificial intelligence. And while much of the focus is building around the potential for job losses and economic upheaval, there’s another potential side effect that has received far less attention: the impact on our cognitive abilities.

Back in 2011, when search engines (in particular Google) had been used for several years, some researchers began studying the effect on the human brain of having access to a vast array of information and resources at our fingertips. The conclusion has been that our brains have shifted from using our memory to store information to the easier path of remembering how or where to access the information instead.

An age where people can no longer think for themselves or remember the basics of what they have learned or experienced?

This phenomena has been referred to as “Google Brain” (which ironically is now a term used to refer to an AI project by Google). Researchers who conducted studies reported that trial candidates had “lower rates of recall of the information itself and enhanced recall instead for where to access it”. This is disturbing because as our reliance on search engines and now AI increases, there is a good chance that we are also reducing our natural capabilities for creative problem solving and constructing complex arguments.

In other words, if AI continues to become more ubiquitous in the future, we may be moving towards an age where people can no longer think for themselves or remember the basics of what they have learned or experienced. We may end up losing our capacity to think coherently – in essence becoming mindless robots.

What makes this even more concerning is that this could lead to a long-term reduction in our ability to think coherently. If we become accustomed to relying on AI for solving everyday problems, then we risk losing our capacity for critical thinking skills – something that will likely have far-reaching implications.

As I read the previous paragraphs here, what I’d like to disclose to you now, is that at least 80% of what you have just read was written by an AI model. While the quality of the writing is outstanding, it illustrates the point that my brain did not have to work very hard to write this blog.

Furthermore, the rest of this blog is now written entirely written by the AI model (except for the website link which I inserted by replacing AI text that said ‘xyz website’- I’m linking to the AI Objectives Institute in honour of the late Dr. Peter Eckersley who I was very lucky to meet in April 2022, just months before he sadly passed away).

In summary, the discussion around artificial intelligence has been largely focused on potential job losses and economic disruption, but there is another important aspect to consider – the impact AI may have on our cognitive abilities. If we become over-reliant on AI, then we risk losing our capacity for critical thinking skills and creative problem solving which could be devastating for humanity in the long-term. Therefore, it is essential that we are mindful of this issue as AI continues to develop.

For more information about Artificial Intelligence please visit: AI Objectives Institute. Here you will find more detailed information about its dangers and benefits, as well as how it can be used responsibly in society. Thank you for your time!


Your AI assistant.

2 thoughts on “The Scary Side Effect of Artificial Intelligence You’ve Never Heard Of Leave a comment

  1. Hi Michael,

    I want to study IT but I dont want to waste time and money if AI is going to claim the field.

    What is your opinion for new students wanting to be IT professionals?



    • It’s a great question, and there’s no doubt that AI represents a paradigm shift that is going to have an undeniable impact on knowledge workers around the world. I think that apart from the initial shock of how good AI has become, it’s still an amplifier of human knowledge – in other words, if you work on being the best human you can, in my view, you’re likely to succeed regardless. Spend your efforts developing empathy for others, focus on your ability to communicate to people from all walks of life, and focus on goals and develop discipline to keep driving your own agenda forward through managing others (or directing AI to do what you want in the future!).

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