April 24, 2023

All Hail the Text Input

Let’s talk about a thing we interact with daily but often overlook—the text input field. That little box we usually design with a nice gray border, a soft corner radius, and some cushy padding around it. We type into that box without giving it a second thought, and as we do, it corrects our grammar and makes suggestions for whatever stupid thing we are trying to do. Well, that simple box is quietly but quickly becoming the most important part of the user interface. Why? Well, it's how we talk to our friend ChatGPT and to AI in general.

While AI is disrupting industries and our daily lives at an accelerated pace, UI text inputs have become more powerful than ever. We type our wishes, questions, newsletters (lol), dreams, fears, and the AI takes care of the rest. It creates a surreal video, an ultra-realistic image, a luring essay, and a conversation that deceitfully feels human. That little text box has turned into a tool that can be used in a million different ways.

I predict that text and voice inputs might be all we need to create anything from now on. A few words to an AGI (Artificial General Intelligence) could design a website, organize a party, plan our wedding, or end our civilization. How wonderful!

Oh, yeah. In case you haven't seen all the warnings, experts fear that AGI might probably decide we’re, well, kind of useless. Our robot overlords could realize that eliminating humans would lead to a more efficient use of resources. Or, they might see us as a threat to their existence, so they could disable or destroy our infrastructure, manipulate human behavior, influence elections, or even hurt us—Terminator-style. Or it could be something as simple as a misunderstanding. For example, if we wrote in that text input to make the most paperclips possible, it could turn everything, even people, into paperclips. Clippy is back with a vengeance!

So, our beloved text input could be the very thing that brings us down, as payback for all the times it fixed our terrible grammar.

So the next time we type in that little box that doesn't seem like much, we should remember that we're shaping our future. Let's use it wisely and hope that when AI takes over, it will be kind.

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