AI hesitancy

I’m 48 years old. If you start counting with my paid internship in college, I’ve had a roughly 30-year career in the software industry, give or take a year. I feel extremely lucky that the web came along just as I was getting my feet wet as a developer. World-changing technologies are rare.

Timing matters. This is part of what Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers is about.

As I get older, I’m increasingly aware of how easy it is to become bitter and set in my ways. There are many episodes of Core Intuition where I complain about Swift or SwiftUI. Why do we need a new programming language when the old one is still perfectly fine? 🤪

The tech and startup world has had no shortage of over-hyped sidetracks. Blockchain is the most recent flop. Just because a technology is novel, doesn’t mean a practical purpose and business model will emerge.

I almost never jump on trends because you can waste so much time chasing productivity gains that you actually end up going backwards. I run my servers with old tech. I use tried and true programming languages and frameworks. I am not cutting edge.

Some people think generative AI is in the same line as other problematic new technologies, fads that come and go, leaving a string of wrecked businesses and broken apps in their wake. I understand the hesitation. We have been inundated with tech companies that don’t care about data privacy, don’t care about how energy use affects the climate, and don’t care as much about user control as they do about profit.

It is with this backdrop that I get to the point: this AI shit is real. It will change almost everything. I’m not expecting to see another truly game-changing technology for the rest of my career. This is the one.

That doesn’t mean we should move fast and break things. I’m trying to be thoughtful about this. The new photos search and accessibility feature we introduced in today is a first step, and perhaps we won’t take the next step for another year or longer. It’s useful today, as a tool to help people do more with their time, and that’s enough for now.

Manton Reece @manton