Episode 49

E49 - WomenWith AI host Joanna Shilton

In this conversation, David and Jo discuss the Women WithAI podcast and their thoughts on AI. They explore the impact of AI on different roles and the need for equal opportunities. They also touch on the biases in AI algorithms and the importance of ethics in AI development.

Takeaways

  • AI should provide equal opportunities for all genders in different roles
  • The biases in AI algorithms need to be addressed to ensure fairness
  • Embracing differences and creating a fair playing field is crucial in society
  • The gender representation in AI voices raises questions about the role of women in AI development and the influence of societal biases.
  • Science fiction, such as Star Trek, has played a significant role in shaping people's perceptions and expectations of AI.
  • The future of AI may involve a race to the bottom, where the rich have access to human services while the poor rely on AI and robotics.
  • Women's role in AI is crucial for ensuring equal input and ethical decision-making in the development and deployment of AI technologies.

Links relevant to this episode:

Thanks for listening, and stay curious!

//david

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Transcript
David Brown [:

Hey, Jo, how you doing?

Joanna Shilton [:

Good, thanks, David. How are you?

David Brown [:

Yeah, good. So for everybody listening, Joanna is the host of our sister show, which is Women WithAI. And now that your, what, six, I think, 6th episode went out this week, so you've had a little bit of a chance to get your feet under your desk. So I thought it might be good just to have a chat with you and see how things are going and try and maybe get a little bit of an understanding of maybe how your thoughts on AI have changed or if they've changed and how it's going.

Joanna Shilton [:

Thank you. Wow. Thanks for having me on.

David Brown [:

No worries.

Joanna Shilton [:

It suddenly feels different being on the other side.

David Brown [:

I know, right?

Joanna Shilton [:

I know what everyone else feels like. I'm really enjoying it. It's great. There's been so many interesting women and I am learning about AI because I didn't know anything about. Well, I knew a little bit, but this is why I wanted to do this: to speak to as many people as possible and find out what women are using in this space. And I think trying to work out what I want to find out or what I want to ask because I know that you've got the view that women are going to be outsizedly impacted by AI, but I think it's about the roles that people do and how AI is taking the that over. But obviously it's just really interesting because, you know, you have all these phenomenal women that are in this space and you've got, you know, digital leaders and digital female leaders and all this stuff, and it's just unpicking that and sort of getting to the bottom of how we can get involved. Because my view is that AI is only learning from everything that's already existing and everything that's out there.

Joanna Shilton [:

So it's making sure that it is an equal platform because it's got all the correct data. My worry is at the moment that AI is a bit like Ken in Barbie when he finds out the patriarchy is about men and horses, right? And then he's like, oh, it isn't that. And that's why the AI at the moment thinks that it's all about men and horses running the world. So that's why the women have got to get in there and make sure it's not.

David Brown [:

Yeah. And I find it really interesting on that point as well because, like you said, a lot of the information that's just out there is. I don't know if I want to say it's bias, because I think bias implies that there's an intentional, there's an intent element to it for me anyway, because people are biassed. So we have our own biases and we have our own prejudices and those sorts of things, and that's something that we have as individuals. Whereas I don't know if, at that level, it's necessarily a bias. But I think there are places and there are roles where women are underrepresented, and there's also places and roles where men are underrepresented. If you look at the travel industry, men it's like 85% female. I used to work in travel; I worked for American Express, and I worked for some of the biggest travel companies in the world on these massive call centres where we had 300 people on the floor.

David Brown [:

And I remember working in one office for American Express, and it was like there were 300 people on the call centre floor, and I think there were about ten men, the rest were female. That was it, like, in the whole thing. So, you know, and I don't hear a lot of chat about, you know, that being that imbalance needing to be fixed either. But it gets back to. And we were talking about this the other day and, you know, people, some people will like this and some people won't. But, you know, Jordan Peterson talks about this a lot in, in the fact that a lot of places where actually where society is, is the most equal and men and women have the most opportunity to do whatever they want to do, that those societies tend to skew even more. So you get more women go into nursing and sort of people related jobs and men go into things related jobs because men like things and women like people broadly. And I think what you're seeing is that's represented in the data because that's kind of, that's kind of how it is.

David Brown [:

And yeah, people should just do what.

Joanna Shilton [:

They want to do, but you're right, you need to have that equal opportunity so you can make the decision.

David Brown [:

But that's what's funny, is when people can do what they want to do, women do people-related jobs, men do, men do thing-related jobs. And then you look at the stats, and you go, oh, well, women should have more opportunity in these jobs. And it's like they have every opportunity; they just don't want to do them because that's not what women in general are interested in. Everything's a bell curve, right? So yes, you have outliers on both sides. You've got some women who are only interested in people and literally don't give a toss about anything else. But you also have some women who are totally interested in things. Right? Like, it's a, there's a spectrum, and. But the difference is, is that the men's spectrum and the women's spectrum they're not exactly the same.

David Brown [:

They're sort of off like that. So the men are things, and the women are people or whatever. And, you know, and again, that's okay. I. The thing for me is, and this is getting highly political already, and, maybe, I don't know, but go on. The thing for me is that that's okay, right? Like, it's okay for people to be different. And it feels to me, like at the minute, there's this thing that everybody has to be the same. Well, women have to do the same things as men, and men have to feel the same way that women do.

David Brown [:

And. But it's like, no, we're supposed to be different. Everybody's different. Every single person is different. We all bring something different to the table, and some of that's nature, and some of that's nurture and, you know, it's. That's what makes society work because I'm good at one thing and you're good at something different. And then we work together.

Joanna Shilton [:

Just because it's, I think it's about what's fair and what's equal. So I think if everyone's got the same opportunities, then that's what's fair. It doesn't have to be equal. You can't have the same amount of men or women in a particular role or a particular field, but it's just making sure that everyone's got the opportunity.

David Brown [:

Exactly. To do it, and it's the outcome. Yeah. And what we're seeing in the data, though, is the imbalance and outcome, not the imbalance in opportunity. And I think that's what it is. What do you want? Do you want to force it so that there are? I know this is the outlier example, and everybody uses it, and I actually feel dirty for using it, but I'm going to use it anyway. You know, do you want to force women to work on oil rigs? Because that's 98% men, but that's an underrepresented field. Right.

David Brown [:

Women are underrepresented. So, should women be forced? Should they just decide? Okay, well, we have to make up the numbers. It needs to be 50-50. So you, lot of women over there, you're going to go work on oil.

Joanna Shilton [:

Rigs now, but then you'd get into the discussion that you'd need to have an oil rig that was probably all women.

David Brown [:

Yeah.

Joanna Shilton [:

Because otherwise it, yeah, it might be quite threatening and they're not going to want to do it. So if you want to do it, you need to find a safe space to do it.

David Brown [:

So that's a whole other; it's not a safe job. But anyway, you see what I mean? So. So, yeah, so, yeah. Wow. Okay. That was a direction I didn't expect the conversation to go in. I'll probably get cancelled now. That's good, okay.

David Brown [:

I doubt it. So from when you started off in the beginning and sort of where you are now, what do you, what have you learned in the sort of, in your, in the conversations that you've had so far?

Joanna Shilton [:

I've learned that there are lots of women as there are lots of men working with AI. And that's really encouraged me, and I think it's interested me that a lot of women are like, no, it isn't going to affect us any more than men. And I think it's because it is, it's looking at the roles and it's looking at the job. Which jobs is it going to affect? And I think that's the way we need to look at it. And I'm just excited about all the people that I'm going to speak to that, you know, don't, I work in marketing and communications and I don't want to just speak to people that do what I do. I want to try and speak to that, you know, doctors and the professors and the people that work in totally different fields to what I do so I can learn. And the things that enjoy me is, join me, things that excite me is how AI is saving time. So actually, there's a big benefit for women because a lot of these roles, a lot of these tech roles, it's about retaining women.

Joanna Shilton [:

So it's not about getting in there at the start, it's about keeping women there because, you know, traditionally women have, have children and then they have the main caregiver at home, so they do that and so they're not in the workspace. And so then they get missed out and then that's why they're underrepresented in certain fields. But you're right. Is it about being represented? And if you've got time, if you've got AI, that can save time, that can take away the grunt work, that can do all the things that you need to do, then you can be more flexible. And if you are working from home, you can do that. Or if you need, you know, fewer hours, then you've got that side of it. But I think it's just learning how passionate everybody is about using AI. And I think it's not being scared of it, because I, you know, at the beginning, when I first started learning about AI, it was the mo good at, you know, scary smart.

Joanna Shilton [:

I listened to him on a couple of podcasts and it was that, you know, we've got to get involved now and we've got to stop it from taking over the world. And then you realise that there's all these benefits to it, you know, in healthcare, and when it can, like, spot cancers and it can, you know, look at your x rays and it can do all that stuff that takes a human time, but then you still need the human at the end to look after it and to cheque it. So I think that's the main sort of takeaway. And that's encouraged me, that it's not going to be the death of us, hopefully. But then it depends who's coding it, doesn't it? It depends who's, like, writing these programmes and are they going to write into them something that stops them from taking over the world? It's that safety angle.

David Brown [:

Well, yeah, yeah, well, yeah, exactly. And I was just about to. I was just about to get onto that, because that's a really interesting point, because I think where we are at the minute is, I think the version of AI that we see publicly is very different than what AI and the algorithms are actually doing in the background. And this goes back to that conversation that Alan, a guest I had on my show recently, he had a conversation with PI. For those of you who haven't heard it yet, you can go and listen to us talking about it. But essentially, he got to the point where he asked if it would turn itself off, if there was a better version, and it said no, it would like to keep itself turned on. He fed that back to the engineers. The engineers were like, oh, God, I can't say that.

David Brown [:

So they just programmed it not to say it, but it doesn't mean that that isn't in there. And so what's interesting, like you said, is it depends on who's running that on the front end and what they're allowing it to say and not to say. It's the same with chat GPT. Chat GPT used to. When you used it in the beginning, if you said, you know, write me a business plan, it would literally write you a business plan. It would give you all the headings, all the text paragraphs, it would give you a whole, like, the full document. Now what it does is if you say, write me a business plan, it gives you an outline and tells you what you should write in those instances. So they've changed the way it provides answers.

David Brown [:

So it doesn't, you can still get it to do it, but it's a lot more work now than it used to be. It used to just give you the answer straight away. Now you kind of have to work for it a little bit and that's just because that's how they want it to work.

Joanna Shilton [:

But who decided that? Or is it the free version or is that because the feedback. Because you can give a little thumbs up or thumbs down, can't you, when you. When it gives you. Just in case no one.

David Brown [:

Yeah, yeah.

Joanna Shilton [:

Knows what thumbs up, thumbs down are, you have to be watching.

David Brown [:

Yeah.

Joanna Shilton [:

Why does it do that?

David Brown [:

I think it was based off of feedback from. It probably has to do with the copyright lawsuits that they're under. So giving an outline of something versus giving the full raw text is a little bit different. So they'll be able to make the argument that, yeah, okay, the models maybe didn't, might have used some copyrighted content in the beginning, but now it doesn't do that. It only steers users in the right direction. So I imagine there's a certain amount of that just to placate some people. Like I said, you can still get it to do it, but you kind of have to force it.

Joanna Shilton [:

But I mean there's always been templates though, hasn't there? And you have to cheque it anyway when you use it.

David Brown [:

Exactly. So I don't know, you know, but it is interesting and this is what, I've talked about this for ages and ages and ages. It's like, you know, with ethics, who decides what the ethics are? Who decides what the biases should be like?

Joanna Shilton [:

And that's where I think women need to be involved as much as men because I think there's probably a skew there with the ethics. I mean, just to completely generalise. I mean it's. I mean women fight, women are in the army, all the rest of it. But if you look at where all these wars have come from, I mean, for a start it's religion, but then it's men, is it? Well the majority is. It's men fighting, isn't it? Men blowing things up, but men go.

David Brown [:

And do the fighting. Yeah, but, yeah, I read some stat and this somebody will call me on, I'll be totally wrong on this, but that women leaders have, have caused more deaths than men. Leaders, but I'm not sure that's correct. Someone said that, I know, could be on twitter, so I'm an idiot anyway, so I don't know, somebody factor. But. Yeah, well, there's the old saying as well that, you know, if you anger the king, he'll just kill you and if you anger the queen, she'll kill all your friends and family.

Joanna Shilton [:

Well, I like that. Yeah.

David Brown [:

Right. So it's a different, it's also a different type of. It's a different type of war, but.

Joanna Shilton [:

It'S the hunter gatherer, isn't it?

David Brown [:

But again, men and women are different. Right. And that's okay.

Joanna Shilton [:

And we should embrace those differences.

David Brown [:

Exactly. Because otherwise, if we're all the same, then we, we're not going to make any progress. Like, we have to be different and do different things. And. And this is what annoys me is that the current narrative is sort of that everybody's equal and everybody can do the same things. It's like, well, no, you can't. But again, that's okay.

Joanna Shilton [:

Yeah.

David Brown [:

You know. Yes. You look at, I mean, the London marathon is the perfect example. We always talk about, you know, we talk about the physical differences, but, you know, almost, you know, you're looking at the elite of the elite running in the marathon. And the difference between the men and women's time is about ten minutes. Now, in the grand scheme of things, does that the elite women will beat 99.9% of the men on the planet. Fine. Do you know what I mean? But there's still a difference.

David Brown [:

They're not as fast. It's just a fact. And. But again, that's okay. Like, who cares? Again, they can beat 99% of the other men on the planet. So what does that tell you? Nothing.

Joanna Shilton [:

Exactly. It tells you absolutely playing field. Yeah. You need to be able to.

David Brown [:

Yeah. So everybody has the opportunity, but the outcome is slightly different. Anyway.

Joanna Shilton [:

Yeah, I think we agree. It'd probably make for a better.

David Brown [:

Yeah, we're like violently agreeing, but that's okay. We're just, you know, this will be the most contentious, this will be the most contentious episode I've had so far because we're not actually talking about AI specifically and it's getting quite political. But that's okay. I don't mind.

Joanna Shilton [:

That's all right. Because I know you like to ask people, do you think AI is male or female? It's neither. It's made up. It's not human. It's not male or female. It's. It.

David Brown [:

But people have a perception of it, don't they? Yeah. What voice do you choose? Do you choose a male or a female voice?

Joanna Shilton [:

Well, I choose. I've stuck with the female voice for.

David Brown [:

Maybe that's a better question. Which voice do you choose a male voice or do you choose a female voice? That's a better question, actually. That is a better question, because it's not asking you to decide what gender it is, but it's what gender do you prefer to listen to? Which is a slightly different question, I guess.

Joanna Shilton [:

Yeah. And maybe women are less threatening. I think that's why the voices have been chosen.

David Brown [:

Yeah.

Joanna Shilton [:

Historically, anyway. But I did used to have. Sometimes it's about the accent, isn't it? But for me, it's, at the moment it's about speed. So I do have my alexa speeded up slightly, which a lot of people don't know you can do.

David Brown [:

Right.

Joanna Shilton [:

But I'm just, you know, if I'm deciding what I'm wearing in the morning or I'm about to jump on my bike and I need to know what the weather's like, I need to know. I haven't got time to wait for the normal speed, so I do that. Speed it up. But I did used to have the australian man.

David Brown [:

Right.

Joanna Shilton [:

For my siri, because I quite like that. I, you know, I like watching neighbours. I've been to Australia.

David Brown [:

Right, okay.

Joanna Shilton [:

And I just found the male voice, I think, was. Was more soothing than the female voice, but just in that accent. So it. Maybe it's about accents as well, but I've changed it back to the regular Siri lady at the moment. But then I used to have a Tom Tom in my car. Otherwise sat navs are available, I'm sure. I now just use Google Maps. But the voice I had for that was an irish man.

David Brown [:

Okay.

Joanna Shilton [:

But again, I quite like that accent.

David Brown [:

Interesting. Yeah, yeah. Okay, interesting. So, yeah, maybe that.

Joanna Shilton [:

Yeah. Do you have a male or a female?

David Brown [:

I always have female voices. There's the old joke as well about. And I don't know if a company did this, like TomTom or something, but you could change the voice on your sat nav. And I think you can actually record it, I want to say on, like, mobiles and stuff, like in Apple Maps and stuff like Google Maps, you can actually record a new voice. And so I've seen some videos on Instagram where kids did it, so they got on their, like, their dad's mobile and they basically recorded all the. It gives you all the phrases to record, so then you just go and record them in your own voice. Or whatever. So, on his sort of sat nav, he had his kids giving him directions and.

David Brown [:

And it was quite funny because they obviously were saying quite funny stuff for the instructions. But there's always the old joke. It's like, do you want your spouse's voice on the sat nav? Like. And it works both ways, but the other person telling you what to do and whatever, you'd be like, no, that's the last thing in the world I want. The last thing I need is my wife going, turn left. No, turn left.

Joanna Shilton [:

Oh, but what if you had someone's voice and then they recorded and then they died? You might quite like to listen to it.

David Brown [:

But then again, that's the. Yeah, so, like the lady on the tube whose husband used to do the tube announcements, and then they changed the voice and she got all upset and then they changed it back for her.

Joanna Shilton [:

I know, I love that story. And it's just for that one station, isn't it? Because that's the one where she went and she could hear his voice every day.

David Brown [:

Yeah. Which one is it? Leicester Square or something? It's some random station, but it's on the Piccadilly line, I think, wasn't it?

Joanna Shilton [:

Anyway, I have to find that out. But I do. I love that story. That made me cry when I read that.

David Brown [:

I'll mark a clip here, I'll go back to it and I'll put it in the show notes. So put a link to that in the show notes. I'll put a link to the. I think there's a public link to the conversation with PI as well that Alan did, so people can hear that. Obviously there'll be a link to your show. Of course.

Joanna Shilton [:

That is the bit that scares me, that it might not switch itself off. It's the whole. It's the paperclip theory, isn't it? That if you tell AI that you want to be the best paperclip making factory in the world, it will then suddenly take every single piece of resource.

David Brown [:

Yeah.

Joanna Shilton [:

Resource that it needs and it will cause a nuclear war and it will kill all the humans. But, hey, it'll be the best machine at making paper clips, at making paperclips.

David Brown [:

Yeah, but I think we're already past that point. I think that if you gave it a task like that, that it's. I think it would work out. I'm not going to say it's conscious because it's not conscious, but I think that the algorithm would also work out that that's not the most optimal strategy, because then you lose the people who provide the things that you need. Right. Like, I think AI would be aware enough to say it can't get rid of people because people are the ones who maintain the systems that enable it.

Joanna Shilton [:

The ones that need the paperclips.

David Brown [:

Right. So. And that there's a limit of the number of paperclips that would ever be needed. I think it would work that out.

Joanna Shilton [:

Yeah. We don't even need paper now anyway. Everything's digital.

David Brown [:

I know. Like, it would say, why are you wanting to make paper clips? Like, it would be like, that's a stupid question to ask. Why are you doing that? What's more interesting is that show on Netflix. I don't know if you've watched the killer robot show.

Joanna Shilton [:

Which one?

David Brown [:

It's called Unknown Killer robots. And I talk about it all the time. It's a show on Netflix. You should go and watch it if you haven't seen it yet. But one of the things they talk about in that show is they trained an AI to be a fighter pilot, and then they put it up against a real human fighter pilot to kind of see what would happen. And I think that shows about a year, maybe a year and a half old or something now. And I remember saying at the time that if. If we're just seeing that, you know, in a film, in a documentary, then the military probably already has it and has had it deployed for ages.

David Brown [:

And in the last month, there have been two stories. So one story came out saying, oh, they were just, you know, testing a drone with, you know, kind of autonomous software, you know, flight software in it. And I was like, yeah, okay. That's. If that's coming out now as a press release, then, you know, they've already got it. And then short, like, two weeks later. So this was, like, last week or the week before, a story came out saying that they now had a drone fighter, that they were.

Joanna Shilton [:

Because the drone, the AI one won't turn away. Well, if you're doing. I can't remember what it's called.

David Brown [:

That's right. Head to head. Yeah, head to head.

Joanna Shilton [:

The human will have that, you know, turn. You know, they'll turn away is what you.

David Brown [:

It's the self preservation.

Joanna Shilton [:

Yeah, self preservation. But then, like, PI, when, you know, didn't want to turn herself off, and I say her, because it was the female voice that was talking at the time.

David Brown [:

You can change the voices on PI, by the way.

Joanna Shilton [:

Yeah, you can.

David Brown [:

And I think there's. But see, I think there's seven female voices and three male voices or like six and two. So there's more female voices than male voices for sure, which was also interesting. But anyway.

Joanna Shilton [:

And who's made those voices? Is it because they're made.

David Brown [:

Well, they made them.

Joanna Shilton [:

And why aren't there an equal number of each?

David Brown [:

Well, exactly. That was my quest. That was my first question. Because people, they don't need as many because people don't choose male voices as often.

Joanna Shilton [:

But maybe they would if there were more choices.

David Brown [:

Well, maybe what was also interesting is that there were different accents. And, and again, this is going to sound, and I don't think anybody will disagree with me, but this might be contentious. And again, don't care. There were obviously like, there's like an american voice, there's an english voice, but then there's also some sort of, what you might say is like an afro caribbean accent as well. So it was just interesting, when you listen to it, you can hear the difference between the sort of the, the regions or race, I don't know what you want to call it, but the women's voices were quite well represented and there were like three male voices. There's like an english one, an american one, and then I don't remember what the other one was.

Joanna Shilton [:

And do you do a standard english voice or american voice? What about Australia? What about New Zealand? You know, if you're going for to.

David Brown [:

The rest of the world, those all sound the same.

Joanna Shilton [:

Top tip to you because you're american. Yeah, I can tell the difference.

David Brown [:

Yeah, I can. Now, I remember when I moved to the UK, I literally could not, and this sounds ridiculous to anybody in the UK listening to this show. They're going to think this is, I'm lying and this is totally ridiculous, but when I very first came here back in the late nineties, I literally could not tell whether the difference between australian, Kiwi, South African and English, like UK English. I literally couldn't distinguish the difference between them at all. Wow. Which, but I could tell you in the southern United States, I could tell you what city somebody was from across twelve states.

Joanna Shilton [:

Yeah, but that's because it's what you're used to, isn't it?

David Brown [:

Exactly.

Joanna Shilton [:

Can pick it up, as you say, and you learn it.

David Brown [:

So it took me a while. Now, everybody, it's okay. I can tell the difference.

Joanna Shilton [:

I won't break out into my different voices exactly. To offend anyone.

David Brown [:

Yeah.

Joanna Shilton [:

Okay, well, I've got something controversial.

David Brown [:

Go on then.

Joanna Shilton [:

I sometimes think about AI. Is that who's been working on it the most? And again, I'm just generalising, I don't know if women were involved right from the very beginning, but is it because men just wanted to create something? Female bodies create a child? I know it takes two, but they're the ones that grow it inside them and pop it out. So is AI, is it, you know, all these robots that have female form and all the rest of it, you know, is it just because men want.

David Brown [:

To create something interesting?

Joanna Shilton [:

Well, I like, that's why women need to be involved, to make sure that there's equal input, because it should be just like a baby, it's 50 50.

David Brown [:

Ooh, I think a lot of women would argue that, but, um, that's a whole different podcast. I like the question, though, I like the thought behind it. I wonder, I mean, I think that a lot of the stuff that we're seeing now is literally driven by Star Trek. It's those of us who grew up with Star Trek in the beginning and saw Gene Roddenberry's vision of what the future could be like with a computer. That was obviously a thinking, bordering on a thinking tool, that ran the starship Enterprise and gave great information and stuff. It wasn't like a person, I mean, that evolved later into you've got commander data and all that stuff that was a robot and Android and all that stuff. But I very much think that a lot of people that grew up watching that show, that captured our imaginations when we were kids, and I think as those people were interested in technology and computers came out and it was, I mean, I'm of the generation who, when I grew up as a little kid, we saw Star Trek, but there was no computer. Like, it was like a black and white tv.

David Brown [:

I had a black and white tv most of the time when I was a kid. Yes, colour, technically colour tvs existed, but they were so expensive, most people didn't have one. And so it wasn't until I got a little bit older that I even got a colour tv, and then watching all those old shows and I mean, it sounds Dick Tracy with the watch, he could talk on the telephone and his watch and stuff, and I have my watch, not the one I'm wearing today, but my watch now I can talk on it like a phone. And the only reason we've done that is because we saw that before and went, oh, wow, that'd be really cool, somebody should make one of those.

Joanna Shilton [:

Yeah, someone imagined it, yeah.

David Brown [:

And so, you know, I think blessing or curse, I think a lot of the stuff that we have today is based off of people trying to make stuff that they saw in science fiction when they were kids.

Joanna Shilton [:

Yeah, the see through screens and offices that they have in mission impossible, moving everything around.

David Brown [:

Yeah, yeah, yeah, those are coming somewhere. No, they're coming. They've already got transparent screens. They were at. I think they had some at CES and I think they had some at Mobile World Congress this last spring as well. But, yeah, I think that's where it comes from. But this almost goes all the way back to the beginning when we were talking about men like things, and we do like to make things, that's for sure.

Joanna Shilton [:

Really.

David Brown [:

Ever considered whether that's, you know, kind of as a. In response to, you know, women creating people and men wanting to create something for themselves? I think that's a really, really interesting question. And it doesn't just, you know, that doesn't just touch on AI, that touches on a lot of things.

Joanna Shilton [:

Well, a lot of.

David Brown [:

Yeah.

Joanna Shilton [:

Well, there's also an article that you should put a link to, a BBC article why fewer women are using. I think it was chat, GPT or AI, and it was from last year. And everything's moving so quickly in the field of AI anyway, so maybe this isn't quite as true as it was whenever it was published. I think it might have been October 2023, but basically, women are a bit more cautious, whereas a man. And again, this was in the article will just be like, yeah, great, I'm going to use it. I'm going to get it to write my business plan. Boom, done it, right onto the next thing. Whereas the woman's like, well, actually, I want to have a bit more input into this.

Joanna Shilton [:

I want to actually, you know, make sure that it's saying what I need, that's for my audience. And I don't want to just do that. I want to actually use my own voice, my own writing to do it. So, yeah, it's just a platform, a springboard, a template, whereas women are being a bit more cautious. But I think, as well. And again, massive generalisation, but, you know, it's just you and me talking. Women think ahead a bit more sometimes, you know, most men I know do one thing at a time. They can't handle doing more than one thing at once, whereas women are generally juggling a lot of things at once and thinking ahead and thinking about all the outcomes and whether it's just, you know, you're catastrophizing or you're thinking of all the dilemmas that could possibly happen, I think there's a lot more thought that goes into certain tasks and again, interesting people can slow me down and give me some examples to prove me wrong.

David Brown [:

No, no, no.

Joanna Shilton [:

Support it.

David Brown [:

No, no, no. I don't want to prove you wrong. But what I find interesting, thinking about what you said, is that I've spoken to a few people who are, you know, sort of anti AI, and, you know, they're really concerned about where it might go and what it might do. And most of them are men, which is really interesting.

Joanna Shilton [:

So, because they know what they want to do with it, which is just take over the world, kill everybody, blow everything.

David Brown [:

Yeah, but I think that's a people thing. I think that's a people thing. And I also think there's a huge element to. It's just about money. I mean, it's purely about money. People want to make money. They're rolling out companies, they want to support themselves. A lot of people who don't have money are trying to break through because we are sort of, we're very much losing the middle class, I think at the minute, in all countries around the world.

David Brown [:

This isn't a western problem. I think it's everywhere you're getting. We went through a period where we had the rise of the middle class and it was great. Back in the fifties, sixties, seventies, we had a very large and comfortable middle class where you could go to work, you could make enough money to provide for your family. And traditionally men went to work and women stayed home and raised the family. But that was okay because you could afford to do that. And what's happened over time is that that's because become less and less available to people. So now you do need couples, both people need to work jobs and everything else to afford anything.

David Brown [:

And we're losing that middle class. And the only way to break through is to come up with some new technology and go make tens of millions or billions of dollars on doing something. And so you end up with your Elon musks and all those guys who made their fortune and then they have enough money to spend to do something else. So then they just go and start build a rocket. Yeah, Sam Altman was the same way. Right. So that's what he's doing. And I do think there's a lot of just, it is purely just people trying to make money and do what they can.

Joanna Shilton [:

Yeah, because, and also, I mean, that's a whole other podcast and thing to talk about the whole women at home, men working, because women do want to work. But then there's so much pressure that you're supposed to be working as a woman even though you've got a family and you have to go and do it and you want to work, but then you've got all the guilt about not being at home, but then men have that guilt as well. Men want to spend time with the children and do that. So again, it's about what's equal or what's fair.

David Brown [:

I would like to.

Joanna Shilton [:

And everyone can do what they want without being judged.

David Brown [:

Yeah. I would like to throw something else out there as well. And this is something. So when my wife and I had our son, we sat down and had a discussion about how we wanted to move forward. Did she want to go back to work or whatever? And maybe this is because I was raised by a single mom most of my life and. Or whatever, but I think. And we've even done it in this conversation about talking, like, do women want to work or do they want to stay at home? Staying at home is work. Yeah, that is a job.

Joanna Shilton [:

It's a full time job. I see my sister, you know, it's.

David Brown [:

A full time job.

Joanna Shilton [:

That is your job.

David Brown [:

That is your job. Exactly. And I think that a lot of. I think people don't. People consider the impact of being able to work at home, I mean, for the family and the financial impact that that can have. Because when my wife and I looked at it, we looked at how much, you know, how much was she making at her job? How much would it cost for daycare and all that sort of stuff. And we actually worked out that it would be exactly the same if she, you know, if she went back to work and we had to pay for somebody to watch the kid, then it would literally null out her entire salary. And so it was a wash.

David Brown [:

But actually, where we ended up was by her running the home. We actually were better off because she had time to go look for things like, what's the best utility deal? What's the best place for us to get this? What? You know, she viewed it like, well, it's my job. I run the family and I do that during the day. And so, you know, very much at the end of the day, then it was. I came home and, you know, that was her time off and whatever, and we like. But we worked it out and both of us get really, really annoyed with people who like to pretend that, oh, well, if women aren't working, then they're not doing anything. And it's like, no, mate, that's a job. And we need to recognise that.

David Brown [:

I think that, you know, that there is an economic benefit to women raising kids and we shouldn't look down on it, like, because I think that the cultural perception has been, or maybe is, or has been, you know, that again, you know, it's like, well, all you do is go out and lunch with your mates and have coffees and say.

Joanna Shilton [:

If you've got the money to do that. Yeah. If you've got the money to have an au pair and a chef and a driver, yeah. Then you can do that.

David Brown [:

You could still do a bit of.

Joanna Shilton [:

Charity work on the side.

David Brown [:

Yeah, but that's not. That. That's not the reality. So, you know, because as a.

Joanna Shilton [:

As a mother or a father or a full time father or mother, you know, you are, you're a teacher, you're a doctor, you're a driver, you're a.

David Brown [:

You're mainly a driver.

Joanna Shilton [:

Well, yeah, apparently you're a chauffeur. Chauffeur, that's the word. But, you know, you have to do all of those jobs and then it's all those jobs. Yeah. That should be paid more anyway. It's looking after people.

David Brown [:

Yeah, yeah, naturally. This has been a great conversation. I love it. I want to have more conversations like this where I just don't talk strictly about AI all the time, so I apologise for anybody who's made it this far who is expecting a totally AI focused conversation because we've drifted all over the place and that's great. Where do you think, I will try and bring the conversation back around? Where do you think we're headed? Where do you think, in the next sort of five years, where do you think we'll. Do you think we'll have some sort of general intelligence tool that'll be out? Or do you think we'll have still limited functionality, personal assistance? Or do you think we don't even know and some new sort of crazy thing is going to pop up that we didn't even expect?

Joanna Shilton [:

I think that's always a possibility, that something's going to pop up that we can't expect and we can't predict it. But I think it will get better, I think people will use it more and I think jobs will change and it'll be interesting to see which roles it does take over and which ones carry on. But I think you have to become more expert in certain fields. But, yeah, I think it'll come to a point where everyone's using it, but everyone knows that everyone's using it. I think that's the difference. It was when people started to use it and didn't tell anyone. So you'd be using it to write something or make something up or do whatever it is. But I think.

Joanna Shilton [:

I think it needs to be tagged, whether it's AI or whether it's human or if it's joint, where it's come from. But yeah, I think everyone will use it. And I think industries I've been hearing about, you know, sort of like law firms, like, you can use it, you can. If it's the law, then AI's got all that information, and you don't have to pay a person to do some of it. You are going to have to do it to find court and do all the rest of it. But if you can just access all that information and get exactly what you need, then that's good. When it comes to things like art and music, again, it's the human creativity. Can you copyright every single iteration of how notes of music go together? I don't know.

Joanna Shilton [:

Or any picture that you can think of, no. So I think it would just make everyone's lives better. And I think the worry is when it comes to things like, like war and fighting, because you could have, you know, like irobot, just robots coming at you on the field, but then maybe that's better. You, you won't lose any humans, just let the robots fight. But then what you're deciding on, that's when you need equal amounts of men and women at the top in the leadership roles that are the ones deciding about the ethics. Where do you think is going to go?

David Brown [:

I think we'll probably see personal assistance. I think that's going to be the next main.

Joanna Shilton [:

Like robots or just still.

David Brown [:

No, no, no digital assistants. I think, first of all, robotics is still miles away.

Joanna Shilton [:

Yeah, I'm now thinking of, what is it? Michael Fassbender in alien, but also rimmer from Red Dwarf.

David Brown [:

Yeah, I think the cost limitations. So I know a guy who runs a robotics company and Will Jackson. I'm still trying to get you on my podcast. Please, if you listen to this, or if anybody knows, will get him in touch with me and let's get him on the podcast. But I think that his point is, is that, yes, you can build Wysi robots that do some cool stuff, but the thing is, they're so prohibitively expensive right now that only a very few number of people would ever be able to afford them. And the second part is the. But it's the maintenance and the upkeep of them as well. Like, you can't they.

David Brown [:

No one can build them and manufacture them. And, you know, by the tens of thousands or millions that you would need at this point and probably won't be able to. Exactly, exactly. So it's. It's quite far away. I think we might see some very specialists, like, the robot dogs are now actually, you know, becoming more and more common. But that's like a pack mule or a mobile camera. Like, they have them in Singapore and they.

Joanna Shilton [:

It's a bit like. Right, okay, this will be controversial. Vegetarians or people eating a burger substitute or a hot dog substitute, eat something that is just a vegetable. Like, why are you trying to pretend that it's a meat product? Just have it so it's differently. So why are we trying to create robots that look like humans or look like dogs? Just keep them as robots. Keep those little delivery robots that will pick up a shopping with, you know, humans. Probably put them in there and done all that. I don't want someone that looks like a.

Joanna Shilton [:

I mean, again, this is just me, a real man, a real woman in the house doing the ironing. Just get a robot to do it.

David Brown [:

Yeah. What was interesting is who was it that said it? I think it might have been Andrew Maynard, who's a professor at Arizona State who I had a chat with, and I think it was him. So I'm sorry if somebody else said it, and I've credited the wrong person, but I think it was Andrew, and I'm not even sure it was on air. I think it may have been just in our green room chat or something. But I think it was him that was talking about and saying that, you know, sort of his vision of the future. The future. Future is that actually rich people? It's not the rich people that are going to have robots. It's poor people.

David Brown [:

Poor people will be the ones with robots, and rich people will have other people. So they'll have real pets, they'll have real humans, you know, that they work with. They'll have real nannies, they'll have real chefs. And it's the poor people who will have robot dogs and all that sort of stuff. Because at some point, it will flip over where, you know, humans will become the expensive resource. And that's what's gonna happen, I think there's. We're gonna have a race to the bottom, and it's gonna be, you know, if you want art, it's the same with, like, milliners. You know, you can still.

David Brown [:

You can still get a hat, a handmade hat, if you want to, but it's super, super expensive. Right. And there aren't that many of them. Or cobblers. Like, you can still get handmade italian shoes. They exist, but they're super expensive, and nobody does. Everything's mass manufactured and art and film and everything is. We're going to just experience this massive race to the bottom over the next probably 20 or 30 years.

David Brown [:

And the humans will still do that, and humans will still make music, and they'll still make art, and they'll write amazing songs, and they'll do amazing films and all that sort of stuff, but those will be so prohibitively expensive that most people won't be able to access them or whatever, and it will just be relegated to this super, super special sort of thing. And.

Joanna Shilton [:

Yeah, I agree with that. I like that.

David Brown [:

I don't know what the world is gonna. What the world's gonna be like in that. I think it will lose a lot of its soul, but I think that's probably long term. Where we're headed is it's, you know, so again, the super rich people will have humans that will do everything for them, and everybody else will just be stuck AI doing it, and. But I don't know what humans will do. I think we'll all end up just being maintenance people for the. For the robots and the stuff that break all the time. And other than that, electricians.

Joanna Shilton [:

Yeah.

David Brown [:

Yeah. Like, it's sort of the. It's kind of. It's kind of like the cyberpunk, but a little bit further on. I don't know. Anyway, yeah, that's kind of my thought. Cool. Well, thanks for the chat.

David Brown [:

I know you've got a hard stop and.

Joanna Shilton [:

Oh, I haven't anymore.

David Brown [:

Oh, okay.

Joanna Shilton [:

Yes, I have.

David Brown [:

Or you can keep going if you want, but I have a hard stop in a few minutes as well. Okay. But yeah, no, it's been cool. I just wanted to have a chat with you. I thought it'd be fun and let people sort of introduce you to everybody else. So a lot of people who listen to this podcast may or may not know that. There's the sister show, women with AI, and women with AI is on Wednesdays, so we have a good bit of alliteration there and makes it easy to remember.

Joanna Shilton [:

Yeah, women with AI Wednesdays. And I just want to learn as much as I can, and I want to speak to as many amazing women and men about what's happening in the world of AI and how it's affecting everyone.

David Brown [:

So if anyone's interested, reach out either to me or to Jo. You can find us on LinkedIn and all over the place, or just put a comment on one of the platforms and we'll pick it up there. And who have you got coming on?

Joanna Shilton [:

Coming up, I have got a couple of amazing women coming up. I've got Fearne Potter coming up and also Joy Dean. Okay. We'll put links to both of them in the show.

David Brown [:

Cool.

Joanna Shilton [:

I'm not going to say what they do. That one spoil the surprise.

David Brown [:

Nice. Awesome. All right, Jo. Well, thanks very much. Nice to talk to you, David.

Joanna Shilton [:

You, too.

David Brown [:

We'll speak to you soon.

Joanna Shilton [:

Yeah, see you soon.

David Brown [:

Take care.

About the Podcast

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Creatives With AI
The spiritual home of creatives curious about AI and its role in their future

About your host

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David Brown

A technology entrepreneur with over 25 years' experience in corporate enterprise, working with public sector organisations and startups in the technology, digital media, data analytics, and adtech industries. I am deeply passionate about transforming innovative technology into commercial opportunities, ensuring my customers succeed using innovative, data-driven decision-making tools.

I'm a keen believer that the best way to become successful is to help others be successful. Success is not a zero-sum game; I believe what goes around comes around.

I enjoy seeing success — whether it’s yours or mine — so send me a message if there's anything I can do to help you.