How to Talk to Grandma about AI this Christmas

A how to guide for the holidays

Grand pulling down glsses

It’s the time of year full of awkward conversations with our families. Ignoring the inappropriate personal questions, I’m sure you will find yourself in conversations on all sorts of topics.

With the sudden rise of AI, it is a certainty that everyone will be wondering about AI. So, to help you sound like the smartest person in the room about AI, we’ve made this quick primer just for you!

What is AI?

Artificial intelligence, commonly referred to as AI, is nothing new. The term was actually created back in the 1950s. It just recently gained popularity due to the ease of access we have to it now!

Essentially this is the idea of having computers learn and think in ways more similar to humans. Think of it this way: if you tell me you have been listening to a lot of Noah Kahan - I might mention an artist like Tyler Childers because my brain has associated them together for whatever reason. 

When Spotify suggests music to you, it is doing the same thing but through thousands of lines of code to make some very real connections. But the exciting thing is, because of how it works, it’ll make better and faster connections - that's why these computers have been impossible to beat at chess for the last 25 years!

How does AI work?

AI is essentially a process of trial and error. Computers learn how to make connections quickly and accurately through a long series of training models. 

For example, if you started a computer with ten pictures - five of cats and five of dogs, you could slowly teach a computer to tell the difference between dogs and cats. Now, if you increase that data set from 10 to 10 million, it’ll have more chances to learn more key differences. After a while, the way it is able to distinguish between the two becomes foreign even to us.

 We know it knows the difference, but the number of calculations it takes to make that decision is so vast that we can’t really grasp it. 

This process of trial and error is the exact reason data sets are so crucial to AI developers. The more information you can train the AI with, the more it can test itself, and the better and more responsive it is. This is one reason why something like Chat GPT is so impressive. 

ChatGPT isn’t telling you if the picture of your pet is a dog or a cat; it is responding in real time with in-depth answers. There have been some questions about what exact data sets it has been taught with, but the more users interact with it, the more it learns. 

How are people using AI?

That question is mainly dependent on the person, right? And that's the exact question we answer weekly here at Subscribe to AI. Yes, two actual humans spend time researching and writing stories about AI and how it's being used. We’ve been doing so for the past four months! So here is a quick breakdown of some of 2023’s biggest stories!

With the help of AI, we have seen huge medical breakthroughs in the last few years. We have doctors restoring speech to stroke victims. We have goals of ending malaria and even cancer detection in the UK

We have also seen some less-than-savoury uses of AI. We have fake phone calls demanding ransoms and people using AI to create fake images of people in compromising positions.

So, the world of AI isn’t all sunshine and ending homelessness

We also have curious cases of AI usage of AI. Lawyers are getting in trouble, people are falling in love with their chatbots, and big brands are replacing writers with AI bots and trying to pass them off as real people. 

How can you use AI?

Here’s the thing: we are seeing more and more businesses use AI. But there are plenty of uses for AI in your daily lives. I (Nathan) am actually a pretty analogue kind of guy. There are days that a smoke signal might be a faster way of reaching me. That said, I use a few AI tools daily to make things run smoothly. 

A few weeks back, I compiled a list of some AI tools I think are amazing and have real value for real people. I put it all in a small PDF, which we will gladly send you. To claim it, all you have to do is refer one friend (literally just one friend!). Once you do that, you will discover some of my favourite ways of using our future overlords to complete daily tasks!

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