In recent weeks, I’ve found myself pondering what the next major American event will be and how it will disrupt the average American’s everyday life.
Over the past couple of years, there has been an increased focus on the benefits and uses of artificial intelligence (AI). Most recently, we’ve seen ChatGPT take the world by storm. We’ve reached a point where it’s safe to say that AI will completely change the way many of us live our lives — for good and bad.
The Positives of AI
Let’s start by taking a look at some of the good that will come with AI, as it will become a fundamental tool in our lives.
Think about how Google changed the landscape of research. Before the internet and search engines, you had to go down to the library and search through an archaic system to find a book that may or may not have the information you’re looking for. Google gave people the ability to find that same information and more with just a web search.
And now, with AI tools like ChatGPT, we don’t even have to search through suggested web pages; we can just ask a direct question and get a response. ChatGPT’s answers might not always be accurate now, but they could be in the near future.
The impact that this will have on the area of heath and the aging process will be profound. Billions of dollars are being poured into this area by aging tech visionaries searching for the fountain of youth. They may not find that, but the breakthroughs on the horizon with preventative care and regenerative healthcare are mind boggling. I for one believe that I will live well past the age of 100 with a high quality of life (actually 150 years is my stated goal)… if I don’t do something stupid.
The Impact of A.I. on the Information Economy
As much as AI will be a tool for us, once it becomes fully developed, it will have a massive impact on the professional information marketplace, which has been the core of our economy for the past 40 years.
Think about how much has changed since Microsoft Windows was first released. Computing power has grown exponentially, and we will see the same with AI.
So much of our current economy focuses on people distilling information, but AI programs will be able to complete the same tasks in a fraction of the time. It’s astonishing when you take a step back and realize what will change with AI. We will likely see massive employment disruptions as companies start to adopt, implement, and utilize AI programs.
Attorneys whose primary job is to read and distill case law might not be necessary in the future.
AI could be programmed to develop computer code, putting the careers of thousands of programmers at risk.
Research that was the product of teams of individuals spending untold hours sifting through data can be done in a virtual instant by a AI prompt.
I mentioned the personal health benefits that are on the horizon, what will be the impact on our nations huge healthcare system (approximately 18% of GDP) that is built upon treatment and not preventative care?
There are examples of this within every industry across the country.
While I believe the long-term benefit to society will be tremendous, the short term economic impact of what could be massive layoffs in the “white collar” information economy has the potential to be tremendously disruptive.
This disruption is likely to be reflected it the stock market as new winners emerge and the losers are identified. I for one do not have a reliable crystal ball, but this cycle has played out in history time after time. Over the long term the market has always gone up, but historically there have been long periods of flat markets, 2000-2010 for example.
But, this time it is different.
The next market disruption will likely come when most of the 401(k) generation can least afford to take the risk. Never before has so much of our society been so reliant on their savings in the stock market being the source of their income supporting their standard of living.
It is different when you are saving in the market and when you are using those market based savings to support your lifestyle.
Most of us don’t have time to recover when things go wrong, so we need to buckle down and start putting plans in place to protect ourselves as we enter the age of artificial intelligence and the probable market disruption.
Now, I’m not sharing this information to scare you. I’m not predicting that we’ll experience an economic crash this November or that Skynet is going to take over the world in the next 20 years.
However, we all must understand that change is on the horizon. Some of these changes will be great and highly beneficial, but they could cause a disruption in our lifestyles. Now is the time to buckle up and prepare.