Don't Become The Hallucination

Don’t Become The Hallucination

Disclaimer: This is a 100% bonafide human-written article. No AI was used in the writing of this piece. Hehehe.

It’s common sense to see that in the next 5-10 years, significant portions of the workforce will be affected directly by productivity improvements driven by AI. According to McKinsey, up to 30% of the global workforce could be automated in some form by 2030.

Augmenting Skills

Let’s look more closely at how this could actually pan out. The next generation of the workforce - the people who are currently in schools and universities - are growing up in a unique age where everything is at their fingertips through natural language. We’re in a golden age of creative expression, where you can imagine something into being, using generative AI. Even games like Roblox are positioning themselves to harness this in the next few years. This era of information availability is set to have an impact comparable to the dawn of the internet or the widespread adoption of the TV. The wealth of information hosted on the internet is now generally queryable with natural language.

We can, therefore, assert that people will be augmented by this technological advancement. More specifically, the apparent skill level of the average person in a particular skill, such as coding, will rise. This naturally translates to a more productive society and will result in subsequent economic gains and advancements in virtually every field. However, this rise in average skill level, this augmentation, is also not without its dangers. Let’s illustrate this through Bob.

Let’s suppose that Bob is in university, studying Computer Science. Bob has a programming assignment due, and as such, Bob produces some excellent code with the help of AI tools like Github Copilot or ChatGPT. Bob graduates with flying colours and enters the workforce. But what happens when Bob encounters a problem that cannot be solved with AI? Bob asks his coworkers for help. His coworkers also graduated from university in a similar manner. It’s a crisis - no one knows how to tackle this problem! Bob and his coworkers may be more productive employees than their predecessors, but this augmentation has come at a price. The average skillset has been diluted. We are beginning to depend on AI. AI isn’t going to suggest the optimal solution, either. Bob may successfully solve the problem with the help of ChatGPT, but it won’t necessarily be the best solution to the problem.

When we talk about “10x devs”, we aren’t just referring to the people who are 10 times more productive than most people. We’re also referring to the individual expertise of these people, the people who can solve the problems in the code that no one else can solve. We’re referring to the people who can come up with the best solutions.


This won’t be a problem forever. There will eventually come a time when AI will far exceed human ability in this regard. However, as we know, nothing is that straightforward, and adoption of this technology will take time. I’d imagine that this will be a problem for at least 5-10 years. And yes, you can reach optimal solutions using ChatGPT, but only a small subset of people can actually wield generative AI that effectively, let alone judge that the solution is indeed optimal. For most of us, we’re in for a purgatory of mediocre but functional solutions.

Let’s look at this issue from a more abstract angle. Advances in convenience are contributing to a general decline in critical thinking skills. As we read less, our critical thinking skills also suffer. As we enter a world where misinformation will be commonplace, this is laying the foundations of a societal crisis. The knock-on effects of this convenience have profound effects on our daily lives, especially in areas such as politics.


These aren’t preventable problems - instead, we will be forced to adapt to this new environment. Here’s what I think we can do:

  • At an individual level, it will pay off to be an expert. Be the person who can do things without relying on AI too much. Allow AI to augment you, but don’t depend on it. I’m already guilty of this, and I’m trying to take steps to stop depending on AI so much to write code.

  • Learn to use AI properly. Become as literate as you can in your preferred language, so you can prompt LLMs more effectively.

  • Ensure that you can successfully distinguish good solutions from mediocre solutions.

  • Read often to maintain critical thinking skills and increase literacy.

You may point out that you’re able to distinguish good code from mediocre code, and that AI is making you far more productive. That may be true - but do you really think that this will hold true for someone who has used AI from day one of their coding experience? Unless they took steps to learn the fundamentals correctly using AI without taking shortcuts, I’d argue not.

Creativity in Skillset Dilution

As stated earlier, we’re entering a golden age of creative expression. AI can only approximate this type of new idea generation for now, due to a lack of factors such as spontaneity and intentionality. It’ll pay off to be an expert in the medium-term (5-10 years) but eventually, AI will catch up in most cases. We’ve always had to stay ahead of the game in the tech industry, but this will only accelerate. Don’t be fooled into thinking that AI will make you more productive. Since the dawn of performance tracking, productivity has been a relative concept. As companies around the world become more productive, the goalposts will move. The “new productive” will arrive. The skillset of using AI effectively will become a necessity to keep up with these shifted goalposts, and if you don’t keep up - someone will take your place. Creativity will become the key to avoiding this. Those who are creative will, for now, escape the new standards of productivity and output.

Key Takeaways

Now, more than ever, we need to ask ourselves how we can protect and nurture the pieces of us that make us human. We need to safeguard core skills like critical thinking, literacy and creativity. Let’s not lose sight of the very things that allow us to bring new things into the world, and not just recycle existing content. Augment, but don’t depend. Don’t neglect your base skills, or they’ll become hallucinations of skills.