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‘AI will solve all our problems/cause the end of humanity!’

Updated: Sep 5, 2023

Historically, humans have not been particularly good at predicting the aftermath of major disruptions to the economic and social order. We tend to forecast major overnight transformations while tending to miss gradual changes to our society that take place over time. This is a symptom of a common psychological bias that causes us to think that the outcome that most easily and quickly comes to mind, is the one that is most likely to happen. AI is certainly at the forefront of everyone’s minds at the moment.

Back in 1969 with the excitement of the Moon Landings, a number of predictions were made about how life would change by the end of the century. It was thought that mankind would next reach Mars (during the 1970s in fact) and humans would be resident Martians by 2020. It was predicted that life expectancy would be over 100 and domestic animals would be trained to clean our house and drive us around as chauffeurs. The world was shocked by Winston Churchill’s election defeat straight after the end of WW2. Blinded by the euphoria of victory, many failed to forecast the huge change in social attitudes that had taken place quietly in society during the duration of the war.

Too often it seems that technology like Chat GPT is offered as an alternative to real human connection and creativity. Want to write a blog to share ideas with others? Don’t bother, just get chat GPT to draft it instead. Need help with your car insurance, talk to our automated chat. Don’t search for art as Spotify, Netflix and Amazon will tell you what to watch instead.

In Group Exercise, studies show that our perception of the experience is dominated by the interaction we have with both the Group Exercise Instructor and the other participants in the room. This engaged interaction is caused by shared physiological and neurological signals. In the presence of an instructor and other class participants, we frequently move into a state of physiological alignment, with synchronicity of heart-rate, tone of voice, gesture, blinking and even perspiration.

Direct eye contact in particular causes us to have a more rewarding experience, as an appropriate amount (i.e not too much, not too little) leads us to believe someone is more honest, attractive and friendly. This is true both for face-to-face classes and on digital.

The rapport building and human interaction that occurs in a Group Exercise setting can relax the parasympathetic nervous system, allowing us to engage with the experience on a deeper immersive level. Humans typically form closer bonds after shared experiences such as laughing, singing and exercising. Not all workouts can be on the beat, yet many studies show that moving in unison causes us to have more empathy and positive regard for those around us.

AI has a long way to go before it can replace the Group Exercise instructor, as the art of teaching sits very much in a sweet spot between science and art. The language prediction processes of AI means an algorithm can predict what someone is most likely to say in a particular situation. But the words will be generalised and non-specific. What it cannot do (currently) is to use judgement, empathy and emotional intelligence to find the most charismatic and inspiring thing to say in a unique situation.

Let’s not get carried away with the AI as the next big thing, just because it’s at the forefront of our minds!

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