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It’s Humans All the Way Down

On the Aboard podcast, Paul Ford half-jokingly notes that everybody thinks everyone else’s job is easy. That’s why “AI” is going to replace so many people.

Here’s Paul articulating this line of thiking:

What is a lawyer? A lawyer is somebody who moves contracts around.

Well, a large learning model can internalize a million contracts. And now I will have a statistical model of every contract ever. [So in that case] what do I need a lawyer for? Right? That is the kind of logic that makes actually perfect sense if you’ve never met a lawyer.

We can try to make a statistical model for anything, so really who needs anybody?

But wait, maybe somebody is the point:

The desire to get the human out of the loop, frankly, is based on ignorance. And it actually neglects the fundamental truth that the whole point of human existence is to interact with other humans. There is no other point.

Later in the podcast Rich brings this point home:

If you could sum up what we learned in 2023, and I think what tech has learned, too, is that people matter. Even in the wildest of innovations, people still matter, and human relationships still matter, and you can’t shortcut it.

Crypto failed because its desire was to remove humans. Its biggest failure — or was it a feature? — was that when the technology went awry and you needed somebody to step in, there was nobody.

Ultimately, we all want to appeal to another human to be seen and understood — not to a machine running a model.

Interacting with each other is the whole point.