Have I Become Obsolete? (and other fun)

Have you ever got a link in your email or WhatsApp and got the shock of your life? I did the other day.

A friend of mine linked me to an AI-powered natural language application to Talk To Transformer.

What's that you ask?

It's a machine that completes text for you based on a few lines of input.

Just like The Simpsons archvillain Mr. Burns ordering a thousand monkeys to write the best novel in history, this AI called GPT-2 works on kind of the same principle. It scours the internet as its source, completing sentences, paragraphs, and perhaps one day, entire books as it learns what you need it to say.

It predicts the next word one might have said, much like a predictive text application in your smartphone.

Despite the occasional "Sorry honey, running late for yogurt tonight", machine generated language is not new. Last year, Facebook's own AI developed its own internal language without user intervention.

Australia's very own ReporterMate, an AI-driven journalism program, spat out this article about political donations prior to the Federal Election for The Guardian. The Associated Press also uses AI to help assist reporters with articles.

So it's off to the trash heap for me! Well, not quite.

There may be a time when a machine will write better than I could ever hope to.

I don't think that time is now.

Humans using machines as tools or extensions of ourselves will become more complex and more useful. Perhaps language generators such as these will automate some tasks such as modifying legal boilerplate or updating business information.

I'm not running scared yet; but I am fascinated to see what lies ahead.

As for what Talk To Transformer came up with as an alternative to this post, see below.


Why being someone’s “my” is the ultimate business referral

Imagine this scenario. You’re at the gym with your good friend, and you wince as you get up from a particularly gnarly stretch. Grabbing your back, your friend tells you, “You should see my chiropractor. She’s great.”

Of course, your friend hasn’t captured this hapless medical professional and stored her in the attic, just in case. But the language around who we trust with our business is that of ownership.

Owning our opinions, choices, and mistakes is an integral part of maturity. It is one reason “I” statements demonstrate that willingness to “own our shit.” 

Owning whom we place our sacred trust in is vital to our business experience.

Read more at Flying Solo.

Why every soloist should journal

Dear Diary, I feel a bit nervous telling everyone about writing in you. What if they laugh at me? What if they think I’m being precious? Worst of all, what if they ignore me?!

Well, at least I got it out there. I tried my best. That’s all that matters.

Journalling is a time-honoured tradition. So many people that shaped the world jotted down their thoughts for the day, every day (or close enough to it.): Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, Alexis de Toqueville, George S. Patton, Charles Darwin, Thomas Edison, George Lucas, Alfred Deakin, Teddy Roosevelt. That’s some great company, there. Research even tells us that outstanding leadership requires insight, and writing a journal can help achieve that.

That’s not to say journalling will spur you to instant success, of course. But it does give you pause to reflect, analyse, and process where you are and where you’d like to go.

Read the entire post on Flying Solo.