Earlier today Google released Bard – a Artificial Intelligence (AI) driven tool that will blend the capability of search engine and felicity of human conversation. 

Bard immediately reminded me of William Shakespeare.  Literary ‘bard’ means  a tribal poet-singer skilled in composing and reciting verses on heroes and their deeds. 

Year 2023 has started with a spate of AI releases. Interesting is not just the release of the AI tools, but what we are experiencing is Consumerization of AI. The fast adoption by consumers of the AI tools is driven by both human curiosity in AI as well as the high degree of humane quotient that these tools are being built with. 

ChatGBT, supposedly the most powerful AI tool publicly available was launched by Open AI towards the end of November 2023 and now has an active user base of 100 millions. Other popular AI tools like DALL.E and MidJourney already have a million users. There are other tools being adopted like GFN-GAN (image restoration), Notion.ai (copywriting), Copy.ai (copywriting), JADBio — AutoML (knowledge extraction), Lumen5 (video creation), Lalal.ai (audio stem editor), Deep beat (lyrics writing), Deep Nostalgia (animate humans in a photos) and Generative Engine (image created from text description). 

All of this is possible because of the incremental work done over the last decade in the field of natural language generation, speech recognition, image reading, virtual agents, biometrics, machine learning, robotic process automation, peer-to-peer network and deep learning platforms.

The scorching pace and pressure on the technology organisations to put AI in the public space carries the risk of overriding or overlooking the potential impact of these tools on individuals, classrooms, teams and society. 

Though some research on the wider impact of AI is being carried out, it is largely by the teams who are developing these tools. There is a need for independent groups and organizations of ethicists, racist specialists, culture competency experts and policy researchers to bring greater mind-space and investigation to better understand the impact of these AI tools on the education ecosystem, shaping of human consciousness especially of the younger generation and the society at large. 

Age of Bardization is a work of speculative fiction written by Albert Waldo Howard under the pseudonym “M. Auberré Hovorré.” The book was a part of a utopian and dystopian literary wave that spawned in the final decades of nineteen century and carried the attributes of speculative human future and altered reality and appealed to the readers. 

Though such work whether in fiction or AI provide insights on the possible directions for humans. We as a human community need to be aware that we stay clear from metamorphosing into a  society of bards and chatbots.

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