Is AI Dumbing Us Down?

AI and Intelligence

Yes. It's Costing Us Money, Too.

At first AI sounded great. What an extraordinary chance to put me ahead. Now everyone wants to use it… so back to the leveling field.

I am receiving more AI-generated spam than ever. I’m sure that’s due, in part, to all the AI vendors who are promising higher open rates. But their pitch is only partly true: While the emails do get opened because the first line is convincing (AI finds something about you on LinkedIn and spits out an opener), the rest of the email is about as unconvincing as a politician’s forced smile. It’s all noise.


Phishing attempts are also increasing. AI is smart enough to discover names of people in your organization. Legitimate-looking emails come in with the line, “see attachment” — which, when opened, launches malware. Others request sensitive business information or for you to fill out an RFP behind a password. I wrote back to one such bot, and it responded so convincingly I almost fell for it. Be very careful — two friends lost between $4k and $7K at work through such an attack. Only one was reimbursed.

Some AI bots even clone the voice of a trusted contact and create deepfake voicemails that sound like a higher-up requesting an urgent bank transfer. That’s scary stuff for any business, but especially so for a nonprofit whose reputation is also on the line.

And all of this adds to overhead. Businesses and nonprofits alike must deal with these attacks, and time is money. And now couple that with inflation and legal liabilities …

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it may be time to stop and reflect.

I think Twain was on to something here.

When the majority follows a shiny star, they are the first to panic when an emergency occurs. I have seen fundraisers spend countless hours attending bitcoin classes and other conventions revolving around the next shiny star — and it costs nonprofits a fortune. And now we have AI to contend with. I contend that the majority of these shiny stars are driven by PR firms contracted by venture capitalists with one goal in mind: move the masses in return for money. I have no issues with making a profit — you just need to be aware of the marketplace and act accordingly.

Some points to ponder:

  • AI translation is quite pedestrian by today’s standards.
  • Human interpretation will adapt to it over time.
  • This means many (but not all) will adapt to an inferior way of writing, speaking, and comprehending.
  • Eventually humanity will reach a level at which that inferior standard will be the norm.
  • Do we really want to lower our collective IQ even more?

AI is too ubiquitous (and dangerous) to ignore, but too unpredictable to use without serious checks and balances. It’s going to bring bigger insurance premiums, tie up your IT team for more billable hours, and require more legal overhead. AI was intended for advanced business and scientific purposes — let’s keep it for that.  

Forget trying to grab at the shiny star. Focus on the tried-and-true fundraising methods; real human interaction, and real human-written content. All the hype over AI is just noise, noise, noise that’s meant to distract.  

If you don’t mind socializing intelligence, AI is for you. But be ready to serve those who take a different stance.

All of our blogs, products and services are proudly conceived, created, reviewed, and disseminated by real humans — not A.I. (artificial “intelligence.”)

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