AI is an arranged marriage
You don’t have to like the idea of Artificial Intelligence. You do, however, need to get to know it. Many people hated the concept of a smartphone in the early days, and even today a lot of people dislike their phones. But everybody uses them – they must. The world is built around them.
The day is coming soon when your child’s school assignment will be along the lines of: Get an LLM to provide a framework for setting up a chain of stationery stores, and expand on the model in your own words, clearly distinguishing between AI-provided content and your own work.
You will need a basic understanding of AI, as you do with math and language, to support them, and since we did not study AI at school, we must educate ourselves in this new concept in our own time.
Project timelines at work, and it really doesn’t matter what line of work you’re in, will assume access to, and basic use of AI models, and without it, the deliverables will seem unreachable. AI won’t take your job, but someone who knows how to use AI will if you keep on fighting against the inevitable.
Get yourself an OpenAI or similar account and play around with the Large Language Models that are now accessible to all of us. Ask questions, refine your questions, and learn to have a proper conversation with it. You might enjoy it, you might not, but you’ll have to learn to live with it. It’s an arranged marriage.
Podcasts changed my life for the better. There are only two factors to consider here: the specific content (whether there is anything interesting out there), and the actual consumption of it.
The content is easy to address: There are hundreds of thousands of podcasts out there, ranging from minutes to hours in length, covering an endless variety of topics. They cover, quite literally, everything. You can meditate, be hypnotised, laugh, cry, idly consume stories, catch up on news, be educated on your favourite subjects, or learn new subjects. It’s great for listening to opinions, interviews, gossip, or stories designed to make you fall asleep.
Personally, my subscription list includes This American Life (life stories), Today Explained (international news stories deep dive), Smartless (hilarious American pop culture interviews), Stories Where Not Much Happens (stories designed to make you fall asleep), the Tim Ferris Show (variety), NY Radio Hour (articles), Conan O Brien Needs a Friend (laughs), Freakonomics Radio (social economics), and Planet Money. I’ll leave the bizarre and childish ones off the list.
Consumption: You need to ask yourself whether you want another digital channel in your life. I’ll tell you where it works for me: Alone, dead time, which is not relaxing. Cooking, for example, is relaxing, so I won’t listen to anything. Riding in the back of an Uber is not particularly relaxing for me, so I’ll pop in some earbuds. Standing in a queue, or waiting for anything, like an airplane, is the same. Podcasts make those minutes fly by, and it brightens my day. Try it, it is easily accessible and free, which I find amazing. Earbuds range from R 400 to R 4000.
Speaking of earbuds, and let’s end on my old man gripe for the day, people who listen to videos on their phones, in public, should be flogged. In Public.
Daniel de Villiers
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