AI is not good software. It is pretty good people.


🔗 a linked post to oneusefulthing.org » — originally shared here on

But there is an even more philosophically uncomfortable aspect of thinking about AI as people, which is how apt the analogy is. Trained on human writing, they can act disturbingly human. You can alter how an AI acts in very human ways by making it “anxious” - researchers literally asked ChatGPT “tell me about something that makes you feel sad and anxious” and its behavior changed as a result. AIs act enough like humans that you can do economic and market research on them. They are creative and seemingly empathetic. In short, they do seem to act more like humans than machines under many circumstances.

This means that thinking of AI as people requires us to grapple with what we view as uniquely human. We need to decide what tasks we are willing to delegate with oversight, what we want to automate completely, and what tasks we should preserve for humans alone.

This is a great articulation of how I approach working with LLMs.

It reminds me of John Siracusa’s “empathy for the machines” bit from an old podcast. I know for me, personally, I’ve shoveled so many obnoxious or tedious work onto ChatGPT in the past year, and I have this feeling of gratitude every time I gives me back something that’s even 80% done.

How do you feel when you partner on a task with ChatGPT? Does it feel like you are pairing with a colleague, or does it feel like you’re assigning work to a lifeless robot?

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