Steve Jobs, “A Bicycle for the Mind” – on the invention of the personal computer:
I remember reading an article when I was about 12 years old – i think it might have been Scientific American – where they measured the efficiency of locomotion for all these species on planet Earth, how much energy did they expend to get from point A to point B. And the Condor one came in at the top of the list, surpassed everything else. Humans came in about a third of the way down the list, not such a great showing for the “crown of creation”.
But somebody there had the imagination to test the efficiency of a human riding a bicycle. A human riding a bicycle blew away the condor, all the way off the top of the list. And that made a really big impression on me. That we humans are tool builders. We can fashion tools that amplify these inherent abilities that we have, to spectacular magnitudes.
So, for me, a computer has always been a bicycle for the mind – something that that takes us far beyond our inherent abilities and i think we’re just at the early stages of this tool – very early stages – and we’ve come only a very short distance and it’s still in its formation but already we’ve seen enormous changes. I think that’s nothing compared to what’s coming in the next hundred years.
Similarly, I think we’re at the early stages of the development and usage of Large Language Models and other generative “AI”. My feeling is that it’s a tool.
Yes, it may well replace a whole raft of lower-level things, that used to take ages, and felt like hard things that only humans could do. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t elevate what we do and build on top of a foundation that these news tools provide. It’s another gear, or an electric drivetrain on our “bicycle for the mind”.
So far, we’ve not found any limits to human creativity. New, more powerful tools mean new heights of human capability. And I’m kinda excited to see what we can do with this new toolset.