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  • Writer's pictureAustin Blake

AI and the "Why" of Mity

Updated: May 20

Humans are great, but they’re neither Artificial nor remarkably Intelligent.

AI is smarter, faster, and better in almost every single way than a human being.

I’m building a productivity company whose mission is to inspire people to sense their life purpose, and to help them achieve it.

But what’s the point of a company, like Mity, who's not focused on the latest AI technologies? What’s the purpose of any company that’s not an AI company, really? And what’s the purpose of any of us if AI is smarter, faster, and better in almost every single way?

While I’ve always been entranced by new technology, and my mind captured by innovations in my day like the iPhone, iPad, augmented reality, electric cars, new softwares… AI is the first technology that has replaced thoughts of wonder with thoughts of anxiety when I think of my future.

I still want AI in the future, of course - like I said, it’s smarter, faster, and better in almost every single way - who wouldn’t want that!

But it takes me back to my question. What’s the point? If ”AI is coming”, why do we live on? What’s the point of becoming a photographer, when Google just announced “Magic Editor”, that can basically recreate any aspect of a photo after it's already been taken? What’s the point of becoming an author and writing a book, when ChatGPT has been used to write entire novels? What’s the point of becoming a cinematographer, when Adobe just announced generative AI fill and more for Premiere Pro? What’s the point of spending thousands of hours starting a company that’s not focused on AI? What’s the point of any of it?

While it’s true that AI is smarter, faster, and better in almost every single way, it’s also true that there are a few key things that we as humans can do for ourselves that AI could never replace. And those things are exactly that: the things that one does for themself.

AI can generate a photo for you, but it can never give you the satisfaction of waking up early, packing a camera, shivering in the cold to setup a tripod, and snapping a shot of the sun rising between the peaks of a canyon. AI can write a book for you, but it can never give you the excitement of brainstorming characters, a plot line, a twist, and stringing it all together in a 50,000-word masterpiece that you made.

Most innovations put our focus on the “how”. Products like the iPhone, for example, have fundamentally altered hundreds of our "hows": how we communicate, how we spend our downtime, how we take pictures, how we shoot video, how (and how often) we consume content, how we maintain our health, etc.

AI is one of the only innovations that’s forcing us to focus on the “why”. Why do you call a loved one on their birthday, when AI could make the call for you? Why do you take a video of your son opening a gift on Christmas morning, when AI could generate one for you? Why do you write in your journal, when you could feed AI with a prompt and have it write it for you? Why do you start a company that’s not focused on AI, when AI could do almost everything that your company will do, but better?

The lesson I take from AI is that I should do a thing because it’s right, not because someone (or something) can’t do it "better". I will spend more time doing things that are important to me, the things that I see as highest priority, and the things that give me experience and bring value to others through me. It's those things, the things I do for myself (footnote 1) (to gain experience, to build up loved ones, to express gratitude for life), that will never be able to be replicated by AI.

My life would be a little bit more hollow without another phone call to a friend on their birthday, a video on Christmas morning, a journal entry logging my experiences, and a company that I'm passionate about and proud of.

As far as my productivity company goes, I’ll continue to focus on our mission statement: To inspire people to sense their life purpose, and to help them to achieve it.

One of the things that AI can never do for you is understand the purpose of your life on this planet. That can only come from a higher power, either above you or within you, depending on your beliefs. But it can’t come from AI.

You're great, because you're not Artificial. I'm still figuring out how to solve for the Intelligence part.

Footnote 1: I've found that most of the best things I can do "for myself" are only great because they make me more valuable to people that I love.

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1 Comment

Mark Doherty
Mark Doherty
Oct 26, 2023

I certainly applaud Austin's deep thinking on this issue! I'm reminded of a passage I read a few years back written by Al Gore in his book The Future. Here it is:

“Since the nervous system connects to the human brain and the brain gives rise to the mind, it was understandable that one of the twentieth century’s greatest theologians, Teilhard de Chardin, would modify Hawthorne’s metaphor yet again. In the 1950s, he envisioned the “planetization” of consciousness within a technologically enabled network of human thoughts that he termed the “Global Mind.” And while the current reality may not yet match Teilhard’s expansive meaning when he use that provocative image, some technologists believe that what is emerging may nevertheless mar…

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