What I Learned in creating a program about AI & Business at Hyper Island (part 3/3)

Author: Dano Marr

Part Three: How do we see the world?

This longread is published as a three-part series. I suggest you check out part one: Why Should A Painter Teach AI? and part two: What is AI’s problem, really? before continuing.

In this part, I will explore the world we imagine together, how to approach new and scary things, and how I wrote this article.

I mentioned “mental models” in a previous part. Mental models are basically rough approximations of the way that life works. And these are built up through experience or handed down as stories. If you and I share the same mental models, then we’re going to be able to communicate a lot easier and be able to do work. If you and I do not share the same mental models, then we’re probably going to encounter friction and have a much more challenging time getting to do that same work.

It’s from here that building the relationship is going to be super important. We need to be curious at this stage, to listen to the other person and start to understand: “Where’s it that they come from?” And that takes courage. One of the questions that I ask myself is, “what am I not seeing here? What is it that I have to learn?” Again, It brings up this idea of relationship: “How do I relate to the other person who I don’t understand. How do I relate to this technology that I don’t understand? How do I relate to this situation that I don’t understand?”

By now, I don’t think anyone is surprised when I say the world is changing at an accelerating rate. Everybody knows that. The world is changing fast, and change is hard. But I think it’s not that the world is changing that makes it hard. It’s that my relationships are changing, and that is hard.

“How do I relate to learning? How do I relate to myself? How do I relate to others?” These I think are important questions.

One of my own challenges in developing a program that I don’t have any expertise in was getting educated quickly and being able to manage my own fear in relation to what people are going to think of me. I don’t have a background in this. There is so much content that is coming out from so many different sources that I was struggling. I still struggle to figure out how to create the time to update myself and get familiar with all of the changes to technology, and the ways that it can solve business problems, and the new opportunities that are emerging in new markets. It’s frankly, pretty overwhelming. So keeping up and keeping calm have been a major challenge for me in relation to myself and to learning.

Fear is one of those things that creeps up when there is risk involved. And I have felt afraid. I’ve been afraid of people judging me for not knowing what I was talking about, I have been afraid of looking like a fool standing in front of the students and not knowing what to say, or sharing information that was incorrect or not factual. Yeah. It can be scary. Something I have found inspiring, though, is looking at my little daughter who’s not yet one year old. And she is so good at meeting the world, as it comes. It doesn’t matter if you sit her in front of a stack of bowls, or a pile of toys, or give her a piece of paper, she takes it as it is and just starts exploring it. Seeing what can happen. Moving it around. And sure, sometimes things can get overwhelming for her and she’ll get emotional, a bit afraid.

Because unfamiliar things can be scary. So a courageous question you could ask might be, “How can I get to know this strange new thing, just a little bit?” And then you try it. That’s all it takes. Getting to know that strange new thing just a little bit. And it’s going to be uncomfortable. It is for everyone. Dare to dig into the discomfort. Peter Senge from MIT talks about the importance of personal mastery — that is to say, self understanding — in his book about learning organizations, the Fifth Discipline.

When it comes to understanding ourselves, the more we can understand about how it is that we work, and how it is that we relate, It makes it easier for us to work with ourselves and to work with others. As a result, a team of people who are dedicated to understanding themselves can more effectively work together and also work towards things that matter to them, in more effective ways. So how well do I understand myself? How well do I understand others? And together can we start to meet strange new things and get to know them just a little bit? Like children, Do you think that we could find a way to make it fun? See, having this experimental mindset and approaching problems with curiosity and courage is one of the things that can keep life interesting.

Of course, sometimes things are gonna be scary. But when it’s scary, we know it’s important. So when it comes to AI, maybe you don’t necessarily need to deploy your own model to the cloud. But maybe it’s something that you can play with and get to understand “What is AI capable of?” and “What is my relationship to it?” You can get to know AI on your own terms, because whether you like it or not, AI is getting to know you. AI is here, and it’s changing our processes. And the way that we interact. The processes that we use — these systems of relationships — are something that we can become aware of and learn how to influence.

Fundamentally, our shared humanity is what will always matter. It’s what we care about and it’s how we connect. So whether it’s dipping your toe into AI, or trying out a new process, or having a difficult conversation with somebody… and it feels a little bit scary: I would encourage you to dare to dig into discomfort. That is where growth and potential are turned into reality.

How this was created.

I find writing to be difficult, but I find speaking to be a little bit easier. So I thought, why don’t I play with my process? I could involve AI in the creation of this bit of content.

So I got out my phone. I wrote down some speaker’s notes, and I recorded my first draft directly into the voice memos app. I uploaded that to the cloud and using speechtext.ai, got a transcript within about five minutes. That was really interesting because it allowed me to then read through what I had written (spoken) edited a couple things. And then give it another go. I took it a step further and decided to involve an AI in the actual writing of what I would say and used OpenAI’s GPT-3 beta playground, fed it a little bit of information, and asked it to complete the text, and then it returned about one thousand words which I included at the beginning of this article.

Initially what I wanted to do as I wanted to use Microsoft’s Azure platform and connect it with Peltarion’s no-code platform and create something of my own, really getting to know the nitty gritty of, you know, how the model works by training it myself. The thing is, I ran out of time a little bit and decided to look for online solutions that would allow me to be able to do this a little bit more “quick and dirty”. I didn’t save as much time as I thought I would. But I did have a lot of fun in producing this. I’ve learned a lot about the potential of AI and how it works and where some of its shortcomings are, it took me several tries using GPT-3 to actually get a text output that I thought was going to be relevant and fit with the message I was trying to deliver. I think I also learned a lot about my own process of “how do I work and think — what is the process that I use in order to write and create?”

I also appreciate just how much time goes into editing and curating and rewriting and re-recording, that goes into content creation these days. It’s a really hard job. It takes a lot of effort and attention to really getting things the way that you want them to be. And now that I’ve felt just how challenging it can be, I get a sense that there’s a lot of manual work here that could probably be optimized by AI. Now I haven’t done any research myself, but my guess is that there are already AI optimizations when it comes to recording your voice, or editing writing, or removing gaps and spaces and uhms and so on. If you know about any of these tools, send them my way, because I would be very curious to know just how many places AI is involved already.

If you would like to try some AI stuff out on your own, there’s a list below of tools that are accessible and interesting that you can play with now. Google has, of course, a lot of experiments that you can try. Microsoft has also got a bunch of experiments such as lobe.ai and TeachableMachine. I would recommend checking out NVIDIA’s tool that allows you to paint kind of like Microsoft paint. That one’s pretty fun. If you’re really into systems thinking and you want to learn about stock & flows and AI, there’s this thing called the beer game, which I would recommend checking out. It’s a fun way of learning what happens when there are delays in systems, and how AI can help optimize the number of orders that a beer manufacturer would potentially have.

Of course, you can also check out speechtext.ai, which is the thing that I used to translate my voice right now into written form. You can also check out OpenAI’s GPT-3 playground. I think it’s really fun to kind of experiment with and feel what AI is really capable of. This conclusion here really is the whole point of this article. My relationship with AI has grown a little bit because I’ve experimented and tried out just how to use it. I would say that we are co-authors on this bit of content.

If you’re the kind of person who likes to read and orient your way around things before getting your hands dirty, I do have a book that I would recommend. It is Zero to AI: a non technical hype-Free guide to prospering in the AI era, by Gianluca Mauro.He is an industry leader and collaborator with Hyper island and he co-wrote it with Niccolo Valigi. It’s a very easy read. It’s fun. It has a lot of focus on business and the impact that it has. Definitely would recommend that.

If you’re already a little bit familiar with AI, but you want to explore how you implement AI, I would recommend checking out our program partner, Peltarion. Peltarion is a cloud platform that makes it easier to get started with, build, and deploy AI for whatever you do. They have a lot of quality content and tutorials for walking you through their no-code, low-code platform. And you can get started really right away. It’s fun and it’s easy. I would recommend giving them a visit.

If you’ve made it here to the end, I would like to take a moment to say thank you. It has been quite a process in creating this. I have learned a lot. I hope that you got to learn something, too. If you’d like to reach out and connect, you would be very welcomed. I’d love that. Thank you for taking the time and making the decision to do this.

It’s all we’ve got: time and decisions.

Take care.

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Making change happen. These are the stories that defines us.

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