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The Daily Paradox

What Sort of Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence is occupying a place in all our minds. It needs to do so. When you recall how you and your friends were brought up you recognise your dependence on what has gone before. Not simply history but things that have been discovered, invented, created and which you can learn from a book, a programme or a teacher.  They are the basis of education, the foundation of wisdom and the motivation to develop further as you progress.

Humanity is on a ‘knowledge ascent’ to a finer species and an organism of the very highest attainments. Those aspirations at first appear to be largely animal but they are spiritual as well. Our minds nudge us to consider a life beyond now as a real possibility.

The idea of reigning in AI is absurd. We can’t control pandemics, though there is universal support to do so. Our ability to limit the use of nuclear weapons is under permanent pressure and may easily escape restraint completely. The potential for good and bad with AI is such that control of it is a myth sought after both by the genuinely concerned and by bad actors who believe that their form of control will give them plenty of scope. Whether humankind can stay ahead of artificial intelligence has yet to be seen. If we don’t we will be controlled by something which can do what it likes with us. Perhaps the new species will be automatons and humanity will disappear. Every species seems to have a limited duration.

Meanwhile, how are we to deal with AI in such a way that it helps us?

Imagine AI as a clerk able to assemble all the data we have in an orderly way, showing it with suggestions about how we handle the tactics needed to produce the best advantage out of what exists. To do this is valuable; to be able to do it thousands of times faster than a human is able is dominating. It does not replace the strategic thinking that turns experience into invention. Strategy and tactics have become inexorably muddled as the pace of life has increased. They should not have been. If we had kept them distinct, though obviously working in harmony, we would not have the world’s major problems that we must now resolve.

Why have strategy and tactics become so confused?

Because pressure to take short-term advantages has been seen, quite wrongly in my opinion, to supersede the purpose for which we are going to act. Fast thinking about the wrong thing is worse than poor quality thinking. I am assembling a series of case histories from my own experience to illustrate the strategy / tactics approach to decision making. Some of them will be future Daily Paradox articles.

Tactical decisions are themselves often the key to success. Traders make them all the time. They involve risk and luck. Traders have a simple, unified objective – to make money regardless of any other considerations except the law. We all make hundreds of tactical decisions every day. Few of them are ‘immediate profit’ based. There is evidence that those who have a well defined purpose in life and keep in view their strategic objectives are consistently more successful with their tactics and more satisfied than those who don’t. Being strategically competent demands discipline.

The strategic areas we all control if we pay attention to them at the right time, and when they should be reviewed, are:

Purpose of Life. Any time from when we become sentient. Yearly review.

The (reasonably) earlier that we start this, the more effective it will be. But reviewing your

purpose in life is always valuable.

Money needs and targets. Essential to combine with the Purpose of Life.

Choice of studies. Whenever skills are identified or developed.

This happens at any stage of life, even when old. Look out for it.

Career and level targeted. Six-monthly review or when shaky.

Tactics as opportunity can help. Lack of opportunity should not force tactical decisions.

Time of major trauma – being fired, accident, death of partner, divorce, retirement.

The pressure to get a job quickly should never overwhelm the strategic aim.

Finding life pointless and listless. When it happens.

Can AI help with these areas of strategy? Certainly by providing options and records. AI cannot decide your strategy for you. If you follow AI you will follow other people’s strategies. They may have been successful for them, in their time. What distinguishes humanity from all other species is choice. Not the narrow choice of live or die but the unique choice of who to be. And, almost certainly in due course, when to die.

The arrival of AI imposes a real challenge to humanity. It makes us answer the question “What do we want human beings to be?”

If characters and personalities of substantially our own creation we need to think more fundamentally than we do at present – about purpose, management and control. Failure to do so will finish the race as we know it.

To stay ahead of AI could be mankind’s greatest achievement so far.

Good morning

John Bittleston

[email protected]

Still seeking your purpose? Wondering if you have the makings of a leader? Please let us know at [email protected]


It’s what the PASDAQ® is for.

26 June 2023