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  • Writer's pictureDoug Lagerstrom

Artificial Intelligence | Encouraging and Scary

I remember when IBM built a computer so smart it defeated Garry Kasparov in a game of chess on May 11, 1997.  I didn’t know that 26 years later computers could not only be as smart as humans but could learn on the own as well.  This is scary unchartered territory.  I am admittedly not an expert on artificial intelligence, but what I have learned about it recently is both incredibly encouraging and scary at the same time.




Just as the internet revolutionized the consumer experience so artificial intelligence may very well disrupt our labor markets.  Computers don’t call in sick, they don’t have bad days, they don’t get tired, they just do what you ask them to do.  Artificial intelligence is so good that Chat GPT could write this article, in my style, in under two minutes.  But where is the fun in that?  Doug Clinton, managing partner at Deepwater Asset Management is a true believer.  “Imagine a world where AI can do graduate level math, and we could spin up a billion instances of those digital mathematicians”, Clinton writes, “We’d have 1,000 times more artificial brains working on mathematical problems than we do now.”  He goes on.  “This technology can change everything-literally everything-and solve longstanding problems in every domain.”1 Sounds pretty good, but is it too good to be true?




I’ve seen the movies The Terminator and The Matrix so I know what can happen when the machines are in charge.  All kidding aside, what could happen if machines are sentient and take over running our daily lives?  No one really knows, but some smart people are concerned.  “More than 1,000 tech leaders, researchers and others signed an open letter urging a moratorium on the development of the most powerful artificial intelligence systems.”2  These tech leaders urge caution until we can better harness this power. “Development of powerful AI systems should advance ‘only once we are confident that their effects will be positive and their risks will be manageable,’ the letter said.”2


There is also the issue of purpose.  If AI allows greater productivity to the extent many believe is possible, we will not need a 40-hour work week.  We might not need to work at all.  Where will we find purpose?  Meaning?  How many trips can we take?  How much golf can we play?  What does the end game look like?




Innovations are disruptive to the status quo by definition.  This can be a good thing, or a really bad thing.  I’ll end this article with words from Eric Savits at Barron’s.  “…the current work of Open-AI, Anthropic, Google, and other large-language model developers could eventually lead to the creation of sentient AI that might solve all the world’s problems, or alternatively, wipe out humanity.”1 I’m certainly hoping for the former and a little concerned about the later.

Doug Lagerstrom


1.     Monkey Typists and Infinite Intelligence – Barron’s January 1, 2024


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