Cart 0

The Dawn of An Idea

Artificial Intelligence

<Hello world>

My name is Ciara Griffin and this is a very exciting day...

Today is the day that I begin working on Digital Horizons Barcelona, after the idea was only born fully formed in the last 48 hours.

Over the past several weeks, due to interesting global and industry circumstances that I'm sure I will discuss in more detail at a later stage, I realised that it was time to do something new, the prospect of which had intrigued me for quite some time. 

Today was really a day of laying foundations for the very first thing that I needed to do in the interests of achieving my overarching aim: and that first step was to create a website. In fact, this is the very website you are reading, and it's probably still in the process of creation as you read these words.

Building websites is not an unfamiliar territory for me, as I have trodden on entrepreneurial paths before. Moreover, I have dedicated seven years of my life to immersing myself in the realm of entrepreneurship while working for Shopify, a tech giant whose sole purpose is to help entrepreneurs build websites. 

What became immediately interesting to me as I began was that this process of building a website, now, in the summer of 2023, was that the landscape is rather different, and this work naturally seems to invite the development of a rather intense relationship with various forms of generative AI. 

Building a digital presence online is an even more fascinating and exciting journey now than it was even a few years ago. This is all even more exciting for me right at this moment, considering the aims of the business I am building, or, what the tech world might describe as its "mission" (more of which later).

It feels as though AI has suddenly stepped up as the creative partner that we never knew we needed. In these very early stages of this journey for Digital Horizons Barcelona, AI immediately started to become, among many things: a sounding board, a slightly dim business partner, a very corporate artistic director, and a content-writer with little imagination and a love of too many adjectives and adverbs. AI became all of these things, and more, all at the same time.

As we hear so often in the space, it's fascinating to realise that this is the worst the technology will ever be, it's only getting better and better. Even as it is, AI offers us an awful lot that can and will raise the bar in all domains.

It still blows my mind that a mere eight months ago a colleague and I were starting a machine learning project in a completely different world. As Data Scientists and Business Intelligence Analysts at Shopify, our goal was to train models around internal Shopify data so that we could generate all kinds of insights and optimise lots of different internal processes. It was exciting and had not been done in our area of the Shopify product before.

This was less than a year ago. And now? Since the launch of Chat GPT in November 2022 and in the wake of all the subsequent proliferation of language model development, all bets are off. Now there is no point whatsoever in engaging in such work, because no matter what you can build from the ground up, it will never come anywhere close to catching up with the sophistication of the large language models (LLMs) that have already been built. My colleagues and I never started the work due to various internal reorganisations, but if we had, all of that work would have been entirely for the scrap heap by now.

Do you know what else blows my mind? That I spent a large chunk of my pre-Shopify life (around ten years or so) as an academic, working on a PhD in the Philosophy of Technology.

That, naturally, is not itself what I find mind-blowing--it is after all, simply my own biography. Rather what is mind-blowing is that now AI. is part of our everyday workflows, and that we have the privilege to now watch its rapid acceleration and growth in these early days of its nascent mainstream usage.

For someone who has spent a lot of time thinking about what technology means for us, and about who it helps us become, the idea of taking my former theoretical frameworks into a reflection on what AI might mean for us, is one that intrigues my brain so much that I'm surprised that I can sleep.

Deploying such technologies from the very first steps of building a website, is proving to me, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that AI changes everything.

The birth of this website, therefore symbolises a fusion of areas in which I am an expert in, at the nativity of so much revolutionary AI-innovation. And as I think of all the serendipity that enables the creation of Digital Horizons Barcelona, I am reminded of the incredible potential that lies before us, waiting to be democratised, mined, and unleashed.