Vulnerably Relating to Kai-Fu Lee

Kai-Fu Lee: How AI can Save our Humanity

Kai-Fu Lee mentioned in his TED talk that creative jobs are the only safe jobs from AI because AI can optimize but not create. And his story was completely relatable to me:

Let me sound vulnerable for a moment. As I listened to Kai-Fu Lee, I thought about my personal experiences of placing work ethic above my humanity. Last year I didn’t know there would be a pandemic. And although my Grandmother had passed away July 2019 from Alzheimer’s, I weirdly had it in my brain that my Grandfather who was the same age as her would live longer. That we would have time. And every week as I drove the hour long drive home from classes, I would talk to him on the phone and he would always say, “I can’t wait for you to come home so I can cook you something good.” And I kept saying, “I’m sorry, I have so much going on right now with school, my children, and work.” My Grandpa always said how proud he was and that it was ok and that he would try to see me. But I knew that would be difficult on him so I planned to go home to see him this past year in April. April came and we could not fly home because of the Pandemic. I also told my Grandpa that I wanted to keep him safe as he was in the most vulnerable population of the Pandemic, and that I would wait to see him when things became better. But then one month later, he died of a blood clot in his heart.

It shifted my views on work ethic greatly. That I was placing school and work above my family, not just my Grandfather, but my children as well. And my body was fighting me, because every time I spent so much time stressed between work and school, and spreading myself too thin, I would have the worse Auto Immune flareups. So, I started to do what I could manage to do. Do not get me wrong, school and work are still important to me, but my family and my own health has started to be more of my priority. And I cannot wait until AI systems can help people like me, and (dare I compare myself to the great) Kai-Fu Lee. My projects this past year has circled around that huge word, empathy, because human perspectives and emotions are so important to me and how I view design. So maybe my question from all of this is, how do we show the world our need of humanity, through these constantly developing technologies such as AI? Are we able to push for AI systems to just be for optimization purposes, but not allow them to steal our human creativity and empathy?