Sunday, January 15, 2023

It was the Best of Musk. It was the Worst of Musk. (Pt. 1)

The other day,  I wrote about how ChatCPT was blocked by the NYC DOE and how banning it was a step in the wrong direction. 

OpenAI, the company that created ChatGPT is one of Elon Musk's companies! It was founded back in 2015 as a non-profit company. 

AI created this profile picture
Elon Musk has been at the center of nearly every shift in consumerism since he founded PayPal back in 1998. That service created a shift in the way people moved money and eventually allowed regular Americans to access major websites like E-Bay and Etsy to make money by selling their stuff.   His ownership and leadership of Tesla is famous for creating another economic shift -in the automobile industry. GM and Ford, two automakers who had resisted producing electric vehicles for decades, are now producing EVs because of the competition that Tesla brings to their market. That's all because of Elon Musk. 

Think of Elon (in a symbolic way), as a real-life Tony Stark. We live in an age of EVs, privately owned spaceships and artificial intelligence. All of it is available to the masses (if in a technical sense) because of what he has been involved with creating. The world hasn't seen anyone like this since Edison, Tesla and Ford were alive.   So when I first learned that Elon Musk was supporting OpenAI, I knew that another shift (the age of AI) was going to creep up on us as well. And here it is.  

This is the best of Musk! We have choices and opportunities today that we could only see on TV when we were kids. But here's the thing: Elon is a devout capitalist. That has implications on how the rest of us access his innovations and that will have implications on all of us. 

The best of Musk is reflected in something like ChatGPT (please give it a whirl! And think about how it can expand your reach into the people that your students will become). But that is the short story. You can't have the short without the long. Long and short sort of define each other when you think about it.  

So I am going to write a few posts about Elon and try to tell the longer story about how the societal changes may look.  He has a true gift for finding profound shifts in human progress through profitable innovations and that gift is beginning to have profound implications for the rest of us. As I hinted in the title, not all of those implications are great for us so please check back here. Part 2 will be about Capitalism and part 3 will be about Free Speech. But this series is all Elon! As it says in the song ... 

🎵I can't believe you tore humanity apart
With the very same machines that could've been our brand new start🎵

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