An Aikido Approach to Chatbots

Tools can be useful,
but don’t count on them to think.
Use them mindfully.

One of the things I’ve noticed is that the discussion of guns for self defense all seem to start — and end — with the purchase of said gun. Perhaps a few of those who hold the view that “an armed society is a polite society” (to quote Robert Heinlein) also advocate serious training, but it’s easy to get the impression that too many people think owning the gun is all you need to protect yourself.

I wrote a story about this called “Survival Skills.” In it an Aikido sensei told the protagonist that no tool is ever ultimately the answer. The protagonist had to learn the core truth of that the hard way, though.

I bring this up because all the furor about the AI chat bots has skipped over analyzing them as a tool that has both benefits and flaws. Some people are already using them to replace humans, without paying any attention to some of their significant flaws. (A writing program that makes up facts and cites non-existent articles is not a tool to rely on.)

And the scammers are already out in full force: people are submitting chatbot written stories to magazines. The biggest problem from the magazine POV is not separating them out from real stories — that’s pretty easy — but the fact they flood the inbox, exhausting the editor who has to deal with them.

Nobody’s going to make any money sending chatbot stories to magazines, but someone’s probably making money teaching people how to do that.

My Aikido teacher used to occasionally say, “I teach philosophy,” meaning that Aikido is so much more than a physical practice. I try to apply the principles of Aikido to other aspects of life.

I just applied two Aikido principles to the discussion of chatbots: relying on a tool when you don’t understand what you’re doing with it and acting without integrity. Aikido teaches you to avoid both of those things. Continue reading “An Aikido Approach to Chatbots”