When AI says that it’s OK to race skeleton, be very afraid

Edward Johnson
2 min readJan 26, 2023

Relax: ChatGPT does not yet fully understand your rationale for sprinting downhill and jumping head-first face-down onto a wheeled piece of fibreglass for a twisting trip accelerating over 140km/h in a high walled iced track for a few minutes. How could it?

You are determined to go as fast as possible.
You have no brakes and no steering wheel.
Your protection is a lightweight helmet and an ultra thin lycra onesie.

You are not being forced to do this.
You are not being paid to do this.

This is the winter sport known as “skeleton”.

I haven’t raced skeleton myself, but I did have the privilege to go down the most famous tobogganing track in the world, the St Moritz Cresta Run, albeit protected in a monobob somewhat akin to a high-speed racing bathtub on razor blades. Semi-crazy.

What does this have to do with AI?
Well, we have seen that ChatGPT has caused a storm of excitement, fear, and rush of the word “game-changer”. It has been a real shaker for multiple organisations and institutions to question how and why they do the things they do.

Thankfully there are different kinds of AI.
ChatGPT is very much text and data driven. It models and guesses.
It has biases. It isn’t perfect. It cannot advise you to decide to do skeleton, or any other dangerous winter sport. Arguably it has no idea that the sky is blue…. instead it calculates that “the sky is blue” is a statistically correct concept unless some event is causing a weather distortion.

Of course ChatGPT can advise you on the best equipment to wear and recommend that you carefully review your decision to do the sport. Based on what has been trained using the various input datasets, parameters and the maturity of reinforcement learning the model has iterated through.

But we are nowhere near the all-knowing and over-reaching AI state known as “General Artificial Intelligence” yet, which fully understands the human brain processes at speed.

When AI does actually reach that state, you can be afraid because it may be predicting that you will be the next person to skeleton tomorrow morning.

Where is your lycra?

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Edward Johnson

Ikinique Ltd — Passionate about data science, mentorship, fintech, blockchain, Hyperledger, AI, Ethics ,…Agile… MIT Future Commerce…#IKEAization