Many people now submit their DNA to online databases for health and ancesAs artificial intelligence begins to take over more of the jobs that humans used to do, a lot of people are asking what makes humans different from these “robots.”try discoveries, but how do these databases work? And should we own our DNA information?

Here’s a transcript of our conversation:

Brittany: Hi, Ronni.

Ronni: Hey, Brittany.

Brittany: So, today I want to talk about something. It’s an idea actually got from an article that’s in one of the Tuttle Twins magazines that goes out, and I’m sure all our listeners have those. I would be surprised if you didn’t, but we’ve been magazine, you should get it. It’s a direct magazine. I agree. But we’ve been talking a lot. There was one issue that was a lot about AI, which stands for artificial intelligence, and that’s like sometimes people will refer to that as a robot or a computer AI or things like self-driving cars, which Tesla’s are self-driving cars. And those are happening more and more things like even when you go to the self-checkout at a grocery store and you can scan the groceries or when you put, if you go too fast-food restaurants ever and you can put in your order, things like that. All those are examples of AI. It’s computers doing things that humans traditionally did, checking you out at a grocery store or taking your food order. And because of that, people are very worried that robots are going to replace humans. And to be fair, there are a lot of jobs that they will replace. I think it would be dishonest if we pretended that there was no fear of that. There’s a guy, and we’ve talked about this I think years ago on the podcast named not F.A Hayek. I almost got my economist wrong. Henry, who’s actually not an economist. He was a journalist who wrote about economics, which I appreciate because I was a journalist who wrote about economics but was not an economist. He wrote a book called Economics in one lesson, and it’s very, very good. It’s like everything you want to know about economics in one short, easy-to-understand book, so, highly recommend that. And he had a chapter called The Curse of the Machinery, and it talks about the Industrial Revolution, which we’re going to do an episode on here shortly in a couple of weeks. But that was when machines were invented and people were freaking out because for example, people that used to sew stockings like socks, used to do it by hand. And then all of a sudden, these machines were coming in and they were sewing stockings and people were freaking out like, well, what are we going to do for work? And it got so bad, you guys, there were riots, people were burning down the machines and it turned into this crazy chaotic thing. Well, as it turns out, yes, some jobs were replaced in the beginning it was a little bit of a timer. They had to adjust. And then a couple of years later, there were actually more stocking sowers than there were before the Industrial Revolution. So, we say the market corrected. Say that again. Why was that? Why were there more stocking sowers afterward? The market kind of corrected. They were able to produce things quicker, but they were also able to have them. It all balanced out. There were other jobs, so they were in the same industry. Maybe they were doing the exact same thing, or they found different jobs for them. So, it’s really cool how that happens. And the whole point of this chapter was to not be completely scared when machines, there were no robots back when he wrote the book, start taking some of these jobs. So, why am I talking about all this? Well, I want to talk about this fear that humans are going to be replaced by robots. And it’s funny because this was all something I’ve talked about a lot, and I’ve always been like, oh, people don’t need to be scared, blah, blah, blah. Henry Haslet until chat, GPT came along, which is that can write.

Ronni: The whole thing.

Brittany: And then I started getting very scared. And I think Ronni, you, and I see it a little differently. I’ve been scared. I was scared until Connor, actually, it was after we recorded an episode. He’s like, you got to try this new thing. And at first, I’m like, get that away from me, Connor. This thing’s going to steal my job. And I’m like, oh, now I’m turning into the people that don’t like AI. But I’ve started actually really liking to use it for some of the things I write, not all of it. And in fact, I wrote a lot of legal about constitutional law and I got a lot of things wrong. And so I was not coming for my job yet. But I bring this up, all this to say, what does it mean to be human, right? Because we’re worried about these computers replacing us, but can you ever really replace a human? And I don’t just mean in work, but in general, we see AIs making pictures now, right? They’re creating pictures. Yeah, I can create music. It can do all this stuff. So, what does that mean then if it could do all these things humans do? So, Ronni, I’m going to throw it to you and just ask you, what do you think about yourself, to Ronni, what does it mean to be a human being?

Ronni: Well, first I’m glad you brought up chat GPT because yes, I tend to be a little bit more, I still have not been one to overbuy it. And for me, the biggest, and this gets to what I think is the difference between being human, because when I think of GPT chat, GPT, my first question is where is it getting all of its input from? And so, my fear worry, I guess, is that whoever controls the input, by the input, I mean the information that the chatbot is using to produce its works. Whoever controls that information, they’re controlling what people believe to be true. Now for you, Brittany, you might be able to read something that it spits out on constitutional law and know that it’s wrong, but how do you know that it’s wrong? You know that it’s wrong? Probably because you’ve done your own study before, and you have your own previous knowledge. Well, if you’ve grown up learning that you can ask chat GPT for anything, just like if you’ve grown up learning that you ask Google to tell you everything, then you’re going to be less likely to be able to know if chat GPT spits out something that’s wrong. So, if it later spits out something on constitutional law that is incorrect, you’re not going to be able to know. And so that’s my fear of that. But I think it also is what ties us into what makes us human is because humans we have, I know a lot of people like to say we have sentient, which.

Brittany: I’m going to get to that word in a minute, so don’t a big word.

Ronni: So, I’ll let you explain that. But I also think that something that’s really important about being human is humans have the ability to reason outside of the box, meaning that we can think in ways that are not just based off on inputs that have been programmed into our heads. Even the most intelligent chatbot right now is able to produce things that look very human, but it’s only ever responding to inputs that it was programmed with. They can’t actually piece together information on their phone.

Brittany: Humans, which I think is interesting, programmed humans had to program it, so it’s like it couldn’t even exist.

Ronni: But even if humans programmed it, it’s even still it’s going. It’s only ever able to base anything off of whatever it’s been programmed with. But as individual humans, we can take an idea way over here and an idea way over here that should have nothing to do with each other. And being able to put that together, it’s a kind of logical reasoning. One day I’ll talk about this, but it could be either called inductive reasoning or abductive reasoning, which is a kind of reasoning that’s different than computers, which computers use mostly deductive reasoning. But anyway, that’s my very long answer to say.

Brittany: Well, Its funny because if we’re going to go into two different things, you said it’s more reasoning, and I’m going to what some people would consider the opposite of reasoning. And I’m going to go into what I think is what it means to be human. And that is feeling.

Ronni: Well, how about think of creativity? Because I think there is some thinking ability, maybe not reason thinking.

Brittany: Okay, well, so we’ll tie these two together. So, let’s first talk about the word sentient. So, computers or AI is not sentient, at least not yet. So, sentient. Now, sentient means to feel, and I’m going to give you a fun way to remember this. So sent, that’s s e n t. So, let’s think of some other words. Sentimental is one that comes to mind. If something is sentimental to you, that means it brings up emotions, it makes you feel something. Oh, there was another one I was thinking of now. I just lost it. So, sentimental. My goodness. I thought just

Ronni: A scent like a smell.

Brittany: It’s a feeling that’s different because it’s S different c e n T. So we’re talking about root words here. And so S E N T is going to be the root word of sentient. So that’s because the Latin root of sentient, S e n t actually means to feel, okay? So, to feel something is sentimental because it makes you feel an emotion. That’s literally what sentimental means. And I’m so mad, I couldn’t think of the other one that I was practicing, but so that can help you remember what sentient is. Sentient is to feel. So, the thing that humans can do that robots cannot do is they can feel right. And the thing I want to get into about is more like art. So, I’ve talked about that there are AI bots that can create paintings and drawings and they’re good. But here’s the thing that gets me, it can’t feel, and art is this. Art is what happens when a human being feels so much they have to express that feeling, right? I’m a singer and I’m a writer, and I do those things when I feel so overcome by emotion or by a feeling, whether it’s good or bad that I have to express that to the rest of the world. And that’s something that a computer just can’t do. So, let’s say that there is a program, again that can make a picture, and it’s this picture you say, make a picture of a sunset, and the computer spits that out. Well, imagine the difference between the computer just sweeping the internet and finding pictures of what a sunset looks like, or a painter who painted the sunset because he woke up early or I guess sunrise. Let’s go to sunrise. He woke up early in the morning, maybe he was at the beach and he looked out and this beautiful sunset made him feel something. I think that’s going to be a better piece of art because there’s feeling. Now another thing, and this is one of my favorites.

Ronni: Oh wait, can I jump in super-fast just about art, about AI art? So, if any of you guys get the Title Times magazine, the February issue, you can look back and find it. It has a bunch of AI art, and you can see if you type in a phrase what the computer spits out. And it’s very weird, some of the human images that the AI art spits out, but so I’m just saying, if you guys have the magazine, go check it out and you can have an illustration.

Brittany: If you don’t have the magazine, you better go get it, huh? Yeah. The last thing I’ll say when we wrap up, and this is one of my favorite stories, and it goes back to I think what it means to be human versus what it means to be AI. And that’s music. So, I’m a musician and I play the piano and I sing, and I can play just about any instrument. I play up. Not super well, but I can play things by ear. So Beethoven is incredible, he’s a great composer, was a great composer. Now Beethoven went deaf and he could be born, and when he was born he could hear, so this wasn’t something he was born with. So, he wrote his ninth symphony when he knew he was going deaf, and if you hear it, he actually wrote the music to make it sound like something was pounding on the door. And that’s the one that goes if you’ve heard that one, I’m sure you have. Yeah. So, what that was supposed to symbolize is that was actually supposed to symbolize his not, I don’t want to call it an illness, but the loss of hearing coming to get him and him running away from it because him saying like, no, I don’t want to deal with it. And if you listen to the song, it actually kind of sounds like someone is running from someone who’s encountering this. And the reason is because you can feel how he felt when he wrote that song. You can feel it in the words now. You can tell a computer makes a happy song, and it will use beats and notes that nos are happy, but it can’t replicate the human experience. It can’t replicate the feelings you feel when you experience something firsthand. It just can’t do that. It is not sentient. So, when I think about what it means to be human, I think of how great it is that we can feel sometimes too much. Sometimes I’m like, oh man. But that’s what I think is one of the primary differences, is what it means to be human, is to feel. So, we are out of time, but like Ronni said, please get our magazine because I think that the February issue is so fun because it’s all about this topic and open-ended, right? We’re not saying one thing or another. We’re just kind of bringing up good points for you guys to discuss because I know Ronni and I, we have different opinions on this. I’m like, let’s go chat GPT, and I know you’re actually sometimes a little worried about it. We’ll see what happens. Anyways, guys, thank you for listening. Please don’t forget to like and subscribe to the podcast and we will talk to you soon.

Ronni: All right, talk to you later.