It’s a new year!
In the past, you’d be feeling renewed by the fresh start of a new beginning. Does that hold up this year? What does the new year hold? It seems to me we are in an era that is difficult to predict. There is such chaos around us. New things flow from chaos but so does destruction. Let’s review some items from the end of the year to see what possibly lies ahead.
2023 had some medical headlines among its top stories.
- CRISPR gene editing was approved by the FDA to treat sickle cell disease.
- Deep Brain Stimulation promising in studies on depression and traumatic memory loss.
- Brain-reading devices continue to improve and in two separate studies allow paralyzed people to talk using their thoughts.
Advancing technology is the theme here. These stories show clearly the promise of what can come in the technological age. Embedded there is also the peril. Who will be reading our thoughts in the future? These headlines point to a closely related story that is sure to affect our lives majorly. It’s the story of our generation if not of the century and beyond. Machine learning and AI are ready to change life as we know it.
Artificial Intelligence and the New Year
Machine learning chatbot launched at the end of ’22 and implanted itself in 2023. This is a game changer that doesn’t need time to implement. It implements itself. Remember the ten years that the internet needed to work its way into relevance? Not with AI. The hype and the phenomenon are here all at once. Rumors are that AI has already taken leaps that we weren’t sure it would or we wanted it to. The promise and the peril are real.
Yes, 2024 has a different feel to it.
AI is a real game changer in medicine. There are point-of-care AI apps now for physicians. “Please hold on while I ask AI about your medical condition.” It makes sense. Why search websites when you can let AI scan massive data and give you a report, in 2 seconds? It’s been established already that AI is better than radiologists at reading MRIs. Complex puzzles that had been unsolved are being tackled… and solved by AI. People are saying the “cure for cancer” will be found by AI.
It’s the same across society. Journalism is already infiltrated with AI-generated articles. Productivity in the creative fields skyrockets with AI. AI-generated books are now a “thing”. Music, photographic images, and art are all being generated by AI and competing with human creation. The financial sector, academia, and law enforcement all are reeling with big questions. More and more careers will become obsolete, and it’s all moving very fast.
What’s more? Justice Roberts chose to write about AI and the changing landscape of the judicial system in his year-end review. Deep fake is getting deeper and more fake. We are all at risk of being manipulated by the new technology. World leaders know whoever controls AI will wield power over others. (Can anyone control AI?)
So now what?
Not to worry. Even if this chaos only encouraged you to focus on your own inner game, we’d be sitting pretty. I’d argue that it’s all you can do anyway. I have a short list for you.
- Fearlessness: a truly revolutionary act. Follow my lead on this. Be alarmed and aware but don’t be fearful. Know that technology is reaching a new realm and we have entered a time unlike any other in history, but fear is the enemy… always. Practice equanimity.
- Live well. Technology is bringing its A-game. Respond by building your mental capacity. Take your humanity seriously. It’s all you’ve got. You know the approaches: meditation, visualization, good self-talk, gratitude, prayer, and myofascial work to name a few. This is complemented by a good routine, adequate sleep, whole food, exercise, and a detox lifestyle. Practice positivity.
- Be in Flow. Whatever worked last year or 2 minutes ago or for previous generations won’t necessarily work going forward this year. Be in flow or suffer. There is a blessing in that. Be responsive to what is here. Stay awake. This is a time of continual questions. The answers change and you can capture them if you keep listening for answers. Practice Openmindedness.
These are three inner standpoints that are so vital for the coming year. I say, train them. This is all part of a practice of self-mastery. Anyone can take steps in this: self-control in what we think, our emotions, and our actions. Look at these 4 rules I came across this week:
- Thoughts impact our emotions.
- Emotion impacts physiology and behavior.
- Belief systems, past experiences, and other things all influence our thinking.
- We can have control of our thinking. With sustained effort and practice, we can control our thoughts and thereby emotions and actions.
Follow the rules. Manage your mind. That’s the answer to the chaos of 2024. Make it a regular practice; don’t forget, the main thing support is to carve out some silence daily.
Embrace what’s unfolding in this new world of 2024 — don’t get left behind, but also unplug with regularity. That’s a few ideas to get us started on a healthy foot in the new year!
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