One of the areas of AI that I’ve very interested in is using it to comb through my own information. I’ve used it a bit with my Obsidian notes, and more tools like that are coming out all the time.
While I’m using that for personal use, what if I could give you access to an AI-built version of my brain? A good place to start could be on this blog, which has around 1,500 posts going back almost 20 years. It seems like it would be neat, but there is a big downside.
Seth Godin is playing with this idea, and you can go search his blog using AI right now. It generates a list of relevant posts, and then writes a summary of what his thoughts on the subject likely are. It’s nice that it keeps the list of posts visible so you can dig into Seth’s actual words to see what he said, as the summary from “him” may or may not accurately reflect his thoughts.
Change your mind?
Where this could get troublesome are for topics where I’ve changed my mind over the years. I post frequently about changing my mind as I gain more insight, but would the AI know that? It seems that if you asked a question about one of those topics, AI might report “my” response as being my old thoughts on that idea, and not representative of my current state at all.
That’s kind of the philosophy that Fred Wilson has taken with his blog. He has many thousands of posts on his blog (far more than I do), and he’s specifically not offering an AI solution to “ask Fred”. If you have a question for him, he’d prefer that he gives the answer himself, rather than AI taking a shot at it.
The problem for Fred (and for me too, I suppose) is that we don’t have the final say. While neither of us have an “ask with AI” option on our site, all of our content is public and indexed and someone else could write a chatbot using our content if they want. I don’t know the legality of that, but the technology to do it would be pretty straightforward.
This will lead to some very interesting things down the road where you can essentially ask a person a question and get AI to summarize their likely response. For someone like Seth, who has thousands of posts, videos, podcasts, and around 20 books published, there is a ton of data to feed into the system.
We’ve already seen a bad example of that where a magazine published an “interview” with Michael Schumacher, but Schumacher’s quotes were all made up by AI. It’s a very interesting idea, but it was handled incredibly poorly and the editor of that magazine has since been fired.
Chat with anyone
Seth also published something very interesting on his podcast as well, where an entire episode was written and spoken by AI. I’ve listened to most of his shows, and I didn’t catch the fake — it sounded just like him.
With that, it’d be trivial to build a system that let me call in and have a phone call with “Seth”. It wouldn’t be him, but it’d sound like him and give answers that are likely similar to what he’d have to say.
As with most things AI-related, you can keep walking this trail forever. Why not have a video call with this fake “Seth”? Or have him call in and be on an interview panel with a mix of real and AI-generated guests?
There’s some fascinating stuff coming, and your best bet is to not ignore it so you can understand what your options are in the future. If you’ve not substituted many of your Google Searches for ChatGPT searches, simply to play with things and test out ideas, that’d be a solid place to start.