The A.I. Generation

Overhyped? Perhaps we aren’t hyping A.I. enough.

Recently, I’ve noticed a flood of “A.I. is overhyped” articles. Here. And here. And here. Even A.I. investors are saying it. Even Open AI CEO Sam Altman is saying it.

The counter-reaction is expected: after six months of "ChatGPT will change everything” and “A.I. is the future talk,” I can’t blame anyone for A.I. burnout. But the burnout from the constant waves of A.I. news obscures a more important reality: A.I. has ALREADY kicked off some dramatic behavior change, especially among Gen Z.

The consequences of AI’s impact on the next generation will transform our society and behavior as they begin to enter the workforce. We won’t be saying A.I. was overhyped a decade or two from now.

The Next Generation Is Learning to Use A.I. To Help Solve Their Problems

In a recent edition of The Daily — the New York Times’ must-listen podcast — audio producer Stella Tan interviewed students and teachers on the impact of A.I., especially ChatGPT, on their education and lives.

Go listen to it when you get a chance. I’ve pulled some quotes from the students interviewed for The Daily that emphasize the rapid behavior change among active students. Here’s one student explaining how ChatGPT helped her solve a complex math problem:

“I had this exam to study for, I'm not very good at math and I was like, maybe this thing can explain to me how this math is working right now. So I gave it all of the stats and immediately it populated a step-by-step process of how to do the division, what everything meant. And I was like, wow, this was so, so, so helpful.”


This student, when faced with a difficult math concept, turned to A.I. to get the answer. It happened instantly and was immediately helpful to her studies. Now the next time she encounters a complex math problem, the first app she will open will be ChatGPT.

What she said next was just as insightful.

Interviewer: “How would you have handled that situation before ChatGPT?”

Student: “To be so honest, I probably would've just had to muster up the courage to just ask a classmate. But it kind of eliminated that awkward step.”

NYT’s The Daily

Multiple students interviewed by NYT said the same thing — in the past, they would have found a classmate or ”try harder” to help solve a hard-to-crack school problem. Now? Students can get instant answers with ChatGPT and avoid awkward interactions.

And to be clear — the students, while praising the upside of using ChatGPT to solve their problems, were cognizant of the long-term pitfalls of what they were doing:

I think the downsides of constantly going to ChatGPT would be that you missed that one-to-one connection that you could be having with a classmate — that you could be having with a professor and really connecting and bonding over the material that you're discussing.


This knowledge, however, isn’t stopping any of the students interviewed from using ChatGPT to augment (or, in some cases, replace) their schoolwork. For these students, the upsides of A.I. far outweigh the downsides.

One student interviewed by NYT said their ChatGPT-written sections got more praise and fewer corrections than their hand-written section. Another said that, if GPA is the main requirement to get a job or survive in the workforce, then why should he feel bad about using A.I. to help him get by in our credential-driven society, especially when so many others have wealth or connections to help them out?

Do you see the massive change in student behavior yet? This is just a small sample, but these students are becoming AI-native. They know A.I. can help them solve their problems faster — much like the calculator or the computer — and they aren’t feeling “burned out” by it.

A.I. Is Underhyped

For all the consternation around A.I. hype and startup valuations, a key fact is being missed: A.I. will be a permanent part of our society because the next generation will have grown up with it. If you learn from a young age to solve homework problems with ChatGPT, you will do the same thing when you enter the workforce.

A.I. is actually underhyped because it’s a fundamental societal change, not a short-term fad that can or will ever go away.

It reminds me of the early news reports of “The Internet” — an “information superhighway” only used by a few people, but growing in popularity. News reports of the time were in awe of the technology but were skeptical it would be used by more than the elites. Some reporters at the time didn’t think it could ever take off.

Of course, the Internet did take off and it is a fundamental part of our society. I suspect there’s a trove of pitch decks from the 1990s hailing the Internet as the next great investment opportunity. And of course, those pitch decks were entirely right. Now Google, Apple, eBay, Amazon, Intuit, and literally millions of businesses after them are based on the technology of the Internet.

The reason the Internet ended up being underhyped is that nobody could see the fundamental shift it would cause in the average person and their life. Just how useful and ingrained the Internet would become was not evident in the 1990s — and thus anyone’s predictions for where it would go at the time ended up not going far enough. The Internet has changed elections, wars, information, knowledge, human interaction — even how we think.

A.I. is the same. We’re already seeing it happen in education, but that’s just the beginning — we’re seeing A.I. change the way people work, the way they write, and the way they access information. And, to use a baseball analogy, we’re only in the top of the first inning of the A.I. revolution.

For now, ChatGPT is the primary tool students use, but they’re already starting to adopt A.I. in everything from their social apps to the workplace. When something changes the behavior of students, it changes the behavior of the world.

A.I. is underhyped. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

~ Ben

P.S. If you’re new to A.I. and trying to upskill, I suggest checking out the Coworking with AI course my co-founder Matt and I have developed on Maven. We go through the fundamentals of using A.I. in the workplace and how to become A.I.-native.