I was in my early teens and my dad drove me up to some electronic store in Fairfield NJ. We came home with a Franklin Ace 1000. It was an Apple clone, how my dad even knew about it, or knew what this purchase would lead to is beyond me. Not only did he get me the 1000, but somehow, we ended up getting a modem (hard to remember I think it was a micromodem ][ or something.) I was one of the few people in the early 80s (Think it was 1983) to have a computer.
I was 15 or 16 at the time and had no idea what the digital divide was. I knew I was one of the few people in my town that had a computer, and in those days your town was the world. Communicating with people across town, let alone across the country or in other countries was not the norm. It didn’t take long for me to figure out how to use the modem and connect to BBS’s. Yeah, for you youngsters there was something before the internet. I won’t go into GENIE, Prodigy and other internet services that are for others to chat about.
What I didn’t know was I was splitting away from those who didn’t have access to one. That my career was right in front of me. What I thought was cool was that a few of us had started what would be the first digital divide. As I got older and had kids of my own, my kids got laptops at a young age continuing to add to the advantage. I knew it was an advantage and being a good parent, I wanted my kids to have one.
During my adulthood I was involved in the second digital divide; high speed internet (or even internet at all.) For those who had it got access to information that others struggled to get. Free internet at libraries does not equate to those who had it at home. Even during 2019-202x during Covid – that families that had high speed internet at home got access to schools and materials at home that others didn’t. Some were even fortunate they could work from home.
But now I see one coming. Learning how to use Generative AI tools. From what appears to be a parlor trick and something to write cool wrap songs in Shakespeare format G-AI tools seem to be the in thing. Some people seem afraid of what it is going to do and want a pause, others saying we need to “understand” it before we let it out, G-AI will take our jobs and even more fear mongering.
But what I see is how I interact with it. If you ask simple questions, you get nonsense, but if you learn to ask the right questions with enough detail the answers get better. If you play with other tools like Codeium or github Copilot start to see that it increases productivity. To the point I may not be a developer, but assembler of code snippets that the tools suggest. This is the new divide (well it is in two parts.)
First you need to know how to ask questions. For Chat-GPT (or any other G-AI Tool) the better you ask your question the better the response. If you learn the right way to put data together and ask for the analysis or response you will get one that is better than someone asking a simple question. For developers it is how you phrase a comment, or name something and Codeium/CoPilot takes over. Developers who know the business can ask the right questions do not have to be the best coders. It almost becomes who asks the right questions, who can direct the tools will be the most productive. Those who don’t have command of the language or see G-AI as a parlor trick or as something going to take their job will be left behind.
Second, companies that do not look at ways to get these tools in. Oh, I know there are risks of sending data out and code leaks hence the ‘look at ways’ to get these tools in well they may get left behind. Companies need to look at ways to use their data, their information, or information they can ingest to gain an advantage. Things like a G-AI wont replace a Dr. Companies can’t be like Samsung and issues like this one. Companies that don’t figure it out may be left behind. Just like those less fortunate to learn how to interact with it, the 3rd Divide is upon us.
The Skillset of the future is knowing how to interact with G-AI as well as how to get to the right data set in the G-AI that you are using. If not, others will.
This opinion is mine, and mine only, my current or former employers have nothing to do with it. I do not write for any financial gain, I do not take advertising and any product company listed was not done for payment. But if you do like what I write you can donate to the charity I support (with my wife who passed away in 2017) Morgan Stanley’s Children’s Hospital or donate to your favorite charity. I pay to host my site out of my own pocket, my intention is to keep it free. I do read all feedback, I mostly wont post any of them
This Blog is a labor of love, and was originally going to be a book. With the advent of being able to publish yourself on the web I chose this path. I will write many of these and not worry too much about grammar or spelling (I will try to come back later and fix it) but focus on content. I apologize in advance for my ADD as often topics may flip. I hope one day to turn this into a book and or a podcast, but for now it will remain a blog.