Being relevant in the AI age

I won’t shy away from saying that I am an internet veteran (I should call myself a technology veteran, but I still have a runway to cross before I do).

I started using the Internet before Google was invented. So, how did we search for stuff? The process was simple—the Internet was like an open market. If you wanted to find something, you needed to search for it.

Eventually, we built a mental dictionary of well-known sites that would provide us with quality content.

1., for trying new software

2. for news and Indian stuff

3. for celeb gossip

and so on…

Most of these sites came from personal discovery or word of mouth – and they stuck in the head for the years to come.

I had my blog on as soon as the platform was launched. I was an early adopter of so many things, and had I documented my entire journey, I would not have had to restart this blog from scratch like I am doing today.

But for me, blogging differed from what it is today, which is widely known as personal branding. Blogging was fun. It was my space on the internet to share what I felt instead of what I wanted to “preach”. Circa 2010, I used to get >1k views on my blog posts per day (and yet, I didn’t care about monetization).

Then, in 2013, life caught up, and I got stuck in a vicious cycle of life – if you are an Indian, you will know what I mean. Right around this time, the Algorithm Age had begun. Internet companies secretly limited the information we needed to see based on the parameters they decided on, and we were unaware until it was too late. It was then that I started feeling irrelevant. I was a plain vanilla ice cream in the age of chocolate chips with extra toppings, and I just slunk back to my life since I didn’t care about any of the benefits I’d get by changing my flavour.

But that was all okay, and it was worth it – this time, I spent a significant time with my other half and our special one – the kid who is also watching me write this.

However, what is happening now is turning my head all around. ChatGPT launched somewhere in December 2022, and as usual, I was one of the earliest adopters of this ravishing new technology. Sure, GPT3 was not up to the mark, but it was fun to explore all the possibilities it could lead to. I was mesmerised as I recollected my journey before the dawn of algorithms – this was something that could change the internet fundamentally. But is this the change I wanted to see? Absolutely, no.

Everyone on social media seems more than two ranks smarter. Everyone speaks the same language, and suddenly, I need to go back to the old internet days when I needed to go to to search for what a word actually meant (kidding, I have installed Grammarly, but you get the point).

Blog posts, notes, articles, and everything else have a similar theme regardless of who wrote it—a catchy heading line with a title and extremely elongated subtitle, a plethora of emojis in every new line, and a gazillion words that would make even tenure-track professors feel inferior. Not to forget the uncanny conclusion, followed by tags that no one cares about.

As a geek who once was an original, I felt cornered and outnumbered, like a knight standing on the castle with his blade, helplessly watching the zombie army crashing into gates and doing as they please. Now, no one will have questions that can spur my interest and make me simplify it for them. No one will ever need guidance on fixing things or solving any problem—until it no longer works for them.

So, how do we stay relevant here? It’s time to return to the old times when there were no algorithms and aspire to be the word of mouth shared with humans by other humans. It is time to be original and make content for humans, not machines. It is time to be genuine and share what we have experienced or been through so that someone searching for a problem will come to us directly instead of using a judgemental algorithm.

Let me be clear—I am not against AI, but merely relying on it without using a logical thought process puts me off.

I will end with this quote –

In order to understand the future, we must understand the past

Unknown Author

1 thought on “Being relevant in the AI age”

  1. Very nice writeup sir. I am Adding something relevant here: I am a software engineer and was working in one project last year with one of the team members from US who was more than 50 years old. He told me that “The industry back then was more about the people, now it is more about the projects.”. Internet was fun before, now it is more about business, marketing and making money. And AI will make it worse.

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