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What’s All the Fuss About AI (Artificial Intelligence)? And Why Should You and I Care?

By Barbara Lewis May 17, 2023 Lifestyle

The abbreviated answer to the above question is that most of us are already deeply involved with at least some aspects of AI, from our smartphones, security cameras and the heated seats of our cars, to the questions you ask of Siri or Alexa about weather, flowers or restaurants.

But new, more powerful versions of AI are pouring into our culture at a dizzying pace. And that is why it is important to learn even more about it. There may be many “pros” to some of these advances. Especially for those of us who are in our 60s and beyond. But there are also many cons. And the changes are coming fast. 

How Can We Keep Up with This?

Writing about AI is a bigger challenge than I imagined when I suggested the subject to Sixty & Me about two months ago. My attempt to grasp the sense of it has felt at times like trying to zoom in on a fast-moving target with cloudy-lensed glasses. 

I have read numerous articles and watched long interviews with several of the founders of AI. I’ve listened to radio clips and perused helpful “guides” about how we older humans will benefit from this technology as it relates to health issues, mental health challenges, daily tasks assistance and even creative ventures. The exploration has been intriguing – even jaw-dropping – but, a bit scary. 

Have Fun with ChatGPT!

The most interesting part of these two months of research has been working daily and personally with what has become the most famous “AI bot” called, ChatGPT. (By the way, “bot” is short for robot.) I think that this is where YOU also can begin to have some fun with AI. Your efforts will put you more in the flow with these momentous cultural changes. And since this is the world your grandchildren will inherit, why not learn what you can?

Just so you understand better what this tool can do for you, here’s a nutshell description of AI from ChatGPT itself:

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a branch of computer science focused on creating machines and software that mimic human intelligence, learning, problem-solving, and decision-making. It can assist seniors with healthcare management, daily tasks, social connectivity, mobility, cognitive stimulation, and provide companionship, enhancing independence and quality of life.

Make Music or Write a Poem in Minutes!

Other ways of accessing AI are fast becoming available. For example, Google’s new “Bard” and Microsoft’s “Bing” are the newest go-to search tools. But ChatGPT was the most talked-about tool as I began my journey a mere two months ago. And after using the free version for awhile, which is where you could start, I signed up for the paid version of it called, ChatGPT4 (at about $20 US a month).

As a singer and vocal coach, my greatest interest was to learn what the new technology could offer musical artists and other creative folk. I began by asking ChatGPT4 to walk me through various AI tools that were available to easily create music.

It was close to Valentine’s Day. I thought it would be a lark to offer a newly composed AI song to my husband, John. In about 30 minutes, I had that new song. (You can, too!) The words of the song are a little too personal to share here. So I created a new song for this article using the easy-to-negotiate tool called, SoundRaw. Here’s my new tune about my playful black cat named, DD.

You may not be interested in making a song. But the variety of creative things you can do with AI tools is mind boggling. Ask ChatGPT about your area of interest. Do you need help wording a letter to a grandchild? Or would you like to write a personal poem to a loved one? Just ask! You can even get specific: “Write a birthday poem, in the style of Shakespeare, for my 43 year old daughter who is a dentist.” The possibilities are endless. 

Try ChatGPT here.  

But There Is a Big “BUT” with AI

Keep in mind that these are early days for AI. The tools are being test-driven by those of us who explore them. People are using it to save time in their writing ventures and in creating code for the internet, among many other uses. But if you are doing serious research, ChatGPT can take you down a faulty path. Don’t rely on the bot’s answers for things that could affect your health, for example.

I asked ChatGPT4 how it would caution users of this young technology. This is a much-shortened version of what it told me:

AI is trained on data, and if this data is biased, the AI can make biased decisions or recommendations. It’s important to be aware of this and question the AI if its suggestions seem off. In general, as with any technology, the key is to approach AI with a healthy amount of skepticism and caution. It’s a powerful tool that can greatly enhance quality of life, but it should be used wisely and safely.

That’s putting it mildly. 

There are many concerns about how AI will affect humankind. A group of well known, AI-savvy people including Twitter’s Elon Musk and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, have signed a public letter that asks that we step back from “the dangerous race to ever-larger, unpredictable black-box models with emergent capabilities.”

But the cat is out of the bag, so to speak. My gut feeling is that AI will continue to spread fast and furious whether we like it or not. I think it behooves us all to learn more about both its benefits and its dangers. 

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Have you tried ChatGPT? What have you asked it about? Have you been intrigued by it? Did it give you satisfactory responses? Do you think there is future for this kind of artificial intelligence?

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Thank you for this article. It certainly is terrifying and I fear for our children and grandchildren.


I hear you, Christine. And for myself, I want to know as much as I can about what’s coming. But that is timing consuming. Not everyone is going to want to do it. But I think we need to know just a little bit about AI so that we can make some smart decisions about it, if only for ourselves, in future.


Just today 10,000 jobs lost in postal service .Call centres manned by AI jobs gone.
I am glad l have lived and am living the best of my life.
I fear for my grandchildren replaced by AI jobless, unable to afford their own homes or a future.
AI is Pandoras box ,God help mankind!

Rosemary Dill

I totally agree. My 13 year old athletic grandson worried that everyone will sit around and get fat!


yes, it’s certainly going to be a new world for our grand children. That’s why I am encouraging people to get to know about AI and all its pluses and great minuses. It’s hard to know how to manage something that we haven’t spent any time with.


AI will be the downfall of mankind. Period!


Absolutely agree! As I keep repeating…I’m glad I’m old.


I have several concerns about AI. First of all, have seen and read way too many sci-fi scenarios where the AI decides the only logical course is to kill all the “organics”. That’s enough to turn me off to the idea completely!
But besides that —- art, music, literature, all creative human endeavors, require heart and soul. AI has neither. There was an episode of Star Trek Voyager where the Doctor (AI hologram), who had programmed himself to sing all the operas of the galaxy, was being lionized by a civilization that had previously not had music. And then they made their own AI singing hologram, programmed to produce sounds beyond what human vocal cords could produce (which didn’t sound very good!). But now that hologram was the star and the Doctor was left in the dust. And he bemoans the fact that what they’re so impressed with is just mechanical sound, with no heart in it. ….
So is music or art produced by AI really music? Or art?
(And I just had to go through TWO verifications to prove I’m NOT a robot in order to post this comment 😂😂😂 Can AI do better?)

barbara lewis

Yes, I remember that episode of Star Trek, Margaret. I think it’s hard for us to imagine a machine being able to create emotionally rich music or art. But this is very early days for AI. I see the possibility for this: 1. Bots learn more about how to create more “human” art. And 2. People who grow up with AI (our grandchildren…) will come to enjoy the music of BOTS without knowing what is missing. What the answer? For me, it is to learn more about AI. Use it. Raise my voice about the dangers, however and whenever I can. Keep making my very human music. Hope for the best.


The Author

Barbara Lewis is a Montreal-based singer, speaker and inspirational vocal coach who offers concerts, talks, voice lessons (in a Montreal studio and online). Barbara believes that “Singing is a powerful doorway to our happier, more peaceful selves.” Her concerts and teaching are central to this understanding.

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