Process vs. Result

Yesterday, while talking with a friend who works in AI (NLP) about the astonishing capabilities of ChatGPT, I was struck by how it evolves and upgrades like a monster. No matter what kind of question you throw at it (except for those heavily subjective), it can respond convincingly, and the better your prompt, the more accurate its answer. A few days ago, I upgraded to version 4.0, which supports online document reading, images, etc., and it has already started becoming more ecosystem-like. I realized that much of my work will be replaced by it. I jokingly said that if I keep using it, I might become a person who has lost the ability to think independently. However, I also noticed that while its answers are good, I don’t get that exhilarating feeling of having truly achieved something.


When my friend said:


"ChatGPT, to a large extent, uses human feedback reinforcement learning through dialogue, which diminishes our direct experience of achieving something."


I suddenly remembered a quote:


もちろん肉体的には苦しかったし、精神的にへこんでしまいそうな局面も時としてあった。でも「苦しい」というのは、こういうスポーツにとっては前提条件みたいなものである。もし苦痛というものがそこに関与しなかったら、いったい誰がわざわざトライアスロンやらフル・マラソンなんていう、手間と時間のかかるスポーツに挑むだろう?苦しいからこそ、その苦しさを通過していくことをあえて求めるからこそ、自分が生きているというたしかな実感を、少なくともその一端を、僕らはその過程に見いだすことができるのだ。生きることのクオリティーは、成績や数字や順位といった固定的なものにではなく、行為そのものの中に流動的に内包されているのだという認識に(うまくいけばということだが)たどり着くこともできる。


— Haruki Murakami, "What I Talk About When I Talk About Running"


The quote suggests that the quality of life is not in the fixed outcomes like grades, numbers, or rankings, but in the dynamic essence within actions. Taking learning as an example, when I want to learn something, I collect information from various sources, link or integrate this information to form knowledge, then practice continuously, correcting mistakes and discovering insights for future learning. This process is truly wonderful. The dots gathered during this time (seeking information, linking information, struggling, correcting mistakes, etc.) are likely the indescribable dynamic elements Murakami refers to. My friend's point about GPT weakening this human feeling suddenly made sense to me.


It's akin to knowing that everyone will ultimately face death. If we assume we know this final outcome, does it mean we shouldn't live well? Because the result is already determined. Although everyone may interpret this differently, I think not. In my view, living is about experiencing and discovering those dynamic elements. If you focus only on the result, your feeling of living as a human being will be diminished. It's like the difference between working hard to reach the highest level in a game and directly cheating to get there. I believe the experience and feelings from the former are unparalleled.


So, which is more important, the process or the result? I think, since our ultimate result is predetermined, why not enjoy the process of living, focusing on the feelings and experiences of being alive?

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Two Changes

Systematic Thinking: A Thought Model