Are you interacting with AI? How to know what is real and what is artificial intelligence?


Did AI just sell you something? Learn how is it controlling your world.

Fresh off the vibes for SXSWedu, GDC (Game Developers Conference) and headed towards E3 (RIP!) and as the AI wave continues to swell, this month, let’s take a deeper dive into our realities. While SXSWedu focuses on edtech, GDC focuses mainly on entertainment, though you will find some “inbetweeners” at both. Each conference highlights exciting developments in both software and hardware and points us towards the future. If we’re fortunate enough to attend, we get to experience the latest and greatest first hand. Unity, a leading game development platform, even teased their foray into AI, suggesting millions of creators will be able to harness AI to more quickly create and deliver amazing real-time 3D content, and experiences for billions of users around the world. Sounds like something from a not-too-far-back post.  😉 

As previously stated, we know that AI will have a growing impact on every industry and every sector whether we like it or not. What I want to call to attention in this write up is how AI has already started to shape our realities. Let’s look at advertising for example. Every brand is nudging us to take whatever they are peddling as “the best” for us because of XYZ. Now, when we apply targeted advertising with AI, we start to get funneled content that eventually becomes the only channel of information in our streams. When that is established, it is important that we are able to step out of that bubble and assess where we are, as well as to leverage different perspectives to shape our own actual reality. AI is usually constructed to come off as very confident, but it’s too narrow to know what is actually correct. When we rely on these systems and take their output as absolute, we are potentially setting ourselves up to live in an alternate reality. I’m sure I, like many of us, were intrigued by Spotify’s new “DJ” mode. Fully acknowledging itself as an AI out of the gates, we may cut it some slack. But then it becomes apparent what it’s trained on: you, and trends. Looking back to some of my deeper cuts, I was feeling it. But, after a few songs, it was playing stuff I’d never choose to listen to based on an editor’s picks, and what’s popular. And sure enough, despite wanting to go along on the DJ ride, I was pretty much forced to halt it and go back to something tolerable, and more in my control. While that was a mode that we might opt into exploring, what in our day to day is not in control? Every AI will baselessly assume that it’s right and try to convince us of the same. The further the AI advances, the more difficult it will be to decipher whether we’re interacting with an AI or not. Again, to put it back out there, this should prompt continued exercises in caution, not fear, or opposition to AI.  

TLDR; There are plenty of ways to get a sense of what’s going on in AI by trying it out yourself! From BARD, to ChatGPT, Midjourney or DALL-E, you can even experience it via Spotify (now in a way more upfront variety instead of what we’re used to). AI continues to dominate the headlines, so we have to continue to push to ensure it is developed responsibility so that it can assist in us experiencing our desired reality, rather than one force fed upon us.

About the Author:

John Balash was instrumental in Digital Dragon’s launch in 2013 as its first Curriculum Director and is now back in the fold as a consultant on all the latest and greatest in tech education.This is John’s latest contribution to a monthly blog series we’ve launched, Tech News from the Frontier. John is the Director of Educational Engagement at Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Center. John has worked on educationally-focused initiatives with clients ranging from D.A.R.P.A. to Disney. Working from both sides of the desk, you can find John in classrooms and conferences around the world exploring new uses for technologies in learning environments.