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Artificial Intelligence Doesn’t Change Everything

Author Joel Sanders

ChatGPT was released a little more than 14 months ago, to the usual cacophony of “disruption” and dire consequences for everyone from lawyers and doctors to content writers, marketers, and coders.

*Yawn* we’ve been here before.

You’re much better off ignoring this nonsense. Virtually none of the artificial intelligence products and services being launched today will be around in two or three years.

Let your competitors waste their time, energy, and money chasing the latest get-rich-now “hack” and instead spend your time doing what real intelligence does: think.

I’m not saying that AI, or any of the technologies I mention below, are unimportant. Nor am I saying that they’ll never fulfill their promises (Here’s looking at you, future self-driving car). All I’m saying is to maintain perspective. Manage your energy and attention appropriately.

We know that the world of tomorrow will be different than the one we experience today. At least it will feel different, even if 99.9% of our lives, and the technologies we use, are exactly as they are today. Consider: your shoes, your hamburger, your reading glasses, your toilet, your office desk, and so on, versus the handful of things that will be truly different and make it seem like “everything’s changed!”

Few people—and fewer marketers—truly understand this or optimize life (and marketing) under the timeless principles and technologies that really matter. Marketers are much better off digging deep into these fundamentals of human psychology and buying behavior.

You’ll have plenty of time to adapt to the platforms and tools that stick. And instead of wasting valuable time, energy, and money chasing shiny objects, you’ll separate yourself further and further from your competitors who aren’t willing to do the truly hard work because they’re always looking for shortcuts.

The obvious exception to this is if digging into and understanding AI happens to light you up, riveting you to the point that “you can’t help yourself but learn more.” In general, the difficult topics that capture your imagination and stretch your thinking intellectually are exactly the topics in which to immerse yourself. If that’s the case for you with AI, then go deeper into it than anyone else: read more, explore more, attend the conferences, make friends with the PhDs who are on the cutting edge. Don’t dabble and play in the mediocre middle where everyone else plays. That’s where you’ll get duped by the pretend experts.

But I digress. Let’s dust off our Google Glasses and take a walk backwards through time to revisit the “disruptive” technologies that were certain to “change everything” and doom us slow adopters to antique relics of yesteryear.


The increase in digital currencies mean future contracts will be vetted by hackers, not lawyers.  —Wired, 2017

By now, so-called “smart” contracts were supposed to be the backbone for all of our legal agreements. Everything from our jobs to client contracts to mortgages were going to be

…written in computer code, secured by cryptography and executed by an open network of computers that update a public ledger… No court system is needed.

Hmm. I just signed my latest rent contract on a PDF and handed my new landlord a paper check denominated in US Dollars (not Ethereum).

By my latest invoice, I’m also pretty sure that my lawyer continues to be gainfully employed and still drives a gasoline-powered Porsche.

Self-Driving Cars

Robotic vehicles will soon begin to displace professional drivers in numbers that will be ‘certainly in the millions.’  —NBC News, 2017

The year is 2019, and you’re away from home traveling on business. As you exit the airport, the car you ordered is already waiting for you. When you step in, your favorite music is already playing. Over the speakers, the driverless car asks if you would prefer your favorite Italian restaurant this evening, or if you were in the mood to try something new?

I can’t remember exactly where I read an excerpt that went something like that. I thought it might have been in one of Peter Diamandis’ books, but I wasn’t able to locate it.

I do remember attending a Tony Robbins conference sometime in 2017, when dire predictions were thrown around about the millions of transportation workers who were going to be out of work almost overnight, with nothing to do, and on the public dole.

3D Printing

Companies will soon be able to manufacture goods domestically, with virtually no wasted materials and no need for international outsourcing.  —CNBC, 2014

At Peter Diamandis’ Abundance 360 conference in 2018, one prediction was that when we go clothes shopping, we would walk into stores that had no pre-cut clothes. Instead, some version of augmented reality would allow us to try on a near infinite number of clothes virtually, and then a 3D cut & sew technology would miraculously produce our clothes on the spot, perfectly fitted for our exact bodies.

But that’s just the boring stuff! According to the 2014 article referenced above:

With bio-printed organs, living to 110 won’t be anything like living to that age today.

The article goes on to say that we’ll be able to print any ol’ body part that gets a little flabby and tired, keeping us trim and perky well into our 100s.

But why stop at 110? According to Ray Kurzweil—the oracle who can apparently see all—we’re going to live forever.

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality

VR is changing everything from education to medicine.  —Wired, 2015

Outside of the Pokémon GO craze that led to 20-somethings bounding around city parks staring into bushes through their smart phones (no doubt assisted by the much more ancient technology of cannabinoids), VR and AR are still the purview of gamers and thrill seekers.

I recall going to a Dreamscape movie in Beverly Hills in 2018 titled Alien Zoo while attending the same Abundance 360 conference previously mentioned. After donning my VR goggles and backpack, me and my fellow movie-goers were instantly transformed into muscular and fit superhero-like adventurers. We touched dinosaur-looking alien animals, rode deep into an alien world cave, felt the damp mist of a multi-colored waterfall, and had to fight off an attack from a vicious alien monster using our flashlights.

I was certain that this was the future of movies and looked forward to a Dreamscape VR movie theater opening in Colorado that year…

…but I settled for reclining seats and popcorn that gets delivered to me. Hey, I’m not complaining!

Internet of Things (IoT)

The internet of things will disrupt everything. —Wired, 2014

I recall circa 2013 that my “smart” refrigerator was supposed to know when I was getting low on milk or salad, or keto cookies, and automatically order replacements that would be delivered JIT by Instacart or other online grocers. In the early 2010s, it was stop everything and jump on the IoT train or be left behind doing SEO work and other outdated stuff.

From Peter Diamandis’ book Bold (2015):

A recent study by Cisco estimated that between 2013 and 2020, the Internet of Things (IoT) would generate $19 trillion in value (net profit). Think about this for a moment. The U.S. economy hovers around $15 trillion a year. Cisco is saying that over the ten-year period, this new net will have an economic impact greater than America’s GDP.

Never mind the mistake in terms of years (2013 to 2020 is 8, not 10 years), and let’s be generous and just take the predicted average amount per year as the minimum that should be generated by 2024. That comes to at least ~$2.286 trillion in profit per year for IoT.

This 2024 article estimates the size of the global IoT market to be $244.6 billion. Hey, they were only off by 934%.

I do appreciate that my Apple Airtags can help my locate my keys or wallet, which I commonly misplace.


Nanotechnology will disrupt trade and eliminate jobs in nearly every industry.—, 2007

Look out for the nanohumans! From the above referenced article:

Elite Nano-enhanced Humans: To an unprecedented degree, the convergence of nanotechnology, biotechnology, robotics and cognitive science offers the potential to dramatically redefine what it is to be human. The quest for biological perfectionism is certainly not new. But the extent of the vision of those who see nanotechnology as our best chance yet to improve human mental, physical and military ‘performance’ is likely to be shocking for many people in the general community.

And this:

Unemployment: What sort of society would we have where 70% of the population did not work? How would this vast group of people feed themselves and meet their basic needs? Would a large part of the population be denied a way of earning a living, becoming dependent on the charity of molecular manufacture? Beyond these basic questions of survival, what would a life dependent on charity without work or the means to purchase non-essential goods mean for people’s sense of identity, purpose, self-fulfilment and happiness? Given the scale of potential impacts of molecular manufacturing, it would be reassuring to know that our governments were at least assessing the possibility that it could be developed, rather than dismissing it as impossible.

With a hat tip to the Gartner Hype Cycle pearl clutchers, what all of this tells me is that we are easily duped by hype. We  almost never get out of the “trough of disillusionment,” but it won’t matter, because there will always be the next thing that will disrupt everything and turn life upside down. You’re better off ignoring it.

Few people want to do the hard work of thinking deeply about timeless principles and also thinking differently, both of which are the fountain of creative work. More on these ideas in future posts.

This Article Assisted by ChatGPT

For those of you who assume I’m a luddite, I asked my buddy ChatGPT the following question to give me more ideas for this article:

Please give me ideas on predictions for ‘disruptive’ technologies that either never transpired or were far less dramatic of a change than predicted. For example, blockchain was predicted as a revolutionary technology that would transform everything from contracts to money, yet today we still sign PDFs and use the USD. Other technologies that failed to live up to the hype: Self-driving cars and the Internet of Things (IoT).

The article itself was written by a non- nano-enhanced human.

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