About 15 years ago, I was out to dinner with a friend at a trendy nouvelle cuisine restaurant. There was a dish boasting dasheen wraps. I asked the waiter what that was. “That’s what they make the tortilla from,” was his answer. In other words, he was clueless.

But there was a newfangled thing on my cellphone. A search engine called Google. Giggling, Barbara and I typed in dasheen and learned it was another name for taro root. When the waiter came by again I said,

“Dasheen is the same thing as taro root.” 

“How did you learn that?” he was flabbergasted. 

I tapped the back of my head. “I have the chip.” 

His eyes widened. “What?”

“Just kidding,” I grinned and held up my fancy new iPhone.

A couple of months ago, my colleague Alfons asked ChatGPT to construct a Feldenkrais lesson. It did a great job. ChatGPT kindly explained quantum computing to my husband and me. My friend Candy asked ChatGPT how it would explain archetypes to a 6 year old. It obliged with lots of enthusiasm and exclamation points. 

Some folks are worried. Will AI take my job? What happens when AI takes over the power grid? Will we just become stupid consumers? Will we end up trapped in virtual realities like in the Matrix?

Others are excited. Let AI do the grunt work: calculations, driving, security, cleaning. Then we can engage in the things humans used to do: enjoy family, play outdoors, tell stories, make art. 

One thing AI can’t do yet is sense my life experience. It can’t inhale or exhale. It can’t feel the breeze on my face, or my hands in the dirt. It can’t sense the thrill of seeing a lover entering the restaurant, or the exhilaration of rolling down a grassy hill. Like the invention of the printing press, or the internet, we have no idea what the future will bring. I still like the idea that in the future, I just have to tap my head and instantly have the recipe for pineapple upside down cake. I hope AI becomes a tool instead of a prison, one that offers us the gift of time: to reflect, connect and love.