In January 1896, the Lumières brothers had the first public viewing of a ground-breaking piece of technology. "L'Arrivée du train en gare de la Ciotat" (The Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat) was a single non-moving fifty seconds shot of the mundane entrance of a train in a small French station.
The legend says it was the first time photo-realistic moving pictures were shown to the public. And people confronted with a train coming in their direction shrieked in terror while a few others were trying to calm down. "It's only moving pictures! Stay calm!"
True or not, this story is quite the parable for what we are experiencing with ChatGPT.
As the shock and the momentum of this possible transformation hit us publicly for the first time, many are shocked and discuss the intents of the AI, its feelings, and whether it's alive or will replace us anytime soon. A few in the theater become instant experts, providing analysis and their perspectives. Linguists highlight sexist biases; sociologists explain how they will unravel society; technologists pinpoint when the AI will surpass our human brain; politicians find it too "woke"; and on and on and on...
This is a fascinating moment in time for Microsoft and others that probably thought the race they were in was a technological one. And as they see the finish line approaching, they start to understand the race has just started. Technology at this scale is always about how it will be integrated by society and the market.
And when you wish for real disruptions and get it, you will be dealing with an Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat syndrome...
Watch what you wish for.