Meet the Zebulls- Talking [Artificial Intelligence (AI)] With [Henry Hankin][Co-Founder & Chief Branding Officer]
This discussion is going to get progressively more controversial as we move through the five levels. Some of these questions were written by AI, and some by our creative team. Level five was created by continually asking ChatGPT, one of the most advanced and accessible AI tools developed this far, to be ‘more controversial’ in its suggestions.
We’re pleased to be joined by Henry Hankin, Co-founder at Zebu Digital. Before we dive into AI, Henry is going to introduce himself and how he ended up working at one of the most badass Web3 companies the world has ever seen (and will ever see).
“I was living with my friend Harry at university in Exeter in 2012. We were fast friends and often talked about web3 and crypto, even back then. As the years went by, crypto became more and more of a phenomenon. I was just a casual investor, but Harry was much more involved in the industry. I went on to spend the best part of a decade working in AAA video games development and publishing, but always kept a keen eye on crypto.”
“In late 2019, my wife and I found out that we were unexpectedly pregnant with twins. It was a stressful time, but Harry reached out to me and asked if I wanted to join a DeFi protocol that he and his brother Jolyon were building. I was hesitant at first, but ultimately decided to join them on their journey.”
“We worked hard, and in 2021, we founded Zebu, a marketing company for the Web3 space. It's been a wild ride, but I'm glad I took the chance to join Harry and Jolyon on their journey. We haven't looked back since.”
Very interesting! Now, let’s get into AI. Starting at level one with something nice and easy…
Level 1: If you could outsource one part of your life to AI, what would it be?
“If I can couple that with an actual mechanical robot then I would 100% outsource all housework to a machine. Given that I’m a parent of young twins, we have a lot of laundry and constantly battle with the encroaching tidal wave of chaos and mess they bring with them.”
Level 2: If AI was truly sentient, would you accept AI as a friend?
“Depends on its personality. It could be sentient, and still be an asshole. But, in principle, yes.”
Level 3: A self-driving car is hurtling down the hill, the brakes have failed, and it’s headed towards a group of 5 people. AI has the option to swerve and kill just one person. Should it?
“This is a tricky one, and one that is actually being programmed as I type by self-driving AI engineers. Naturally, the correct answer is the good of the many over the few. I think where it becomes interesting is if the “one person” is the driver, and the car has the option to swerve and kill the driver, sparing the crowd. In this instance, again it feels the answer is obvious - but would you buy a car that you know is programmed to sacrifice you to save pedestrians? What about when the car is able to scan people and understand things about their lives and perceived value to society and make life or death decisions based on those parameters - saving a young person by killing an old person, or saving a doctor by killing a criminal. What was once reserved to the realm of lofty thought experiments is fast becoming real engineering problems we have to solve.”
Level 4: Is it taboo to talk about AI as a marketing agency that is experimenting with it?
“Naturally. The advent of ChatGPT and Midjourney has the potential to be one of the most disruptive technological advancements since the industrial revolution. It feels that everyone is using AI in some capacity, and few people are talking about how they build it into their processes. Where the topic does become taboo, I feel, is where it relates to what you tell your clients, and how it affects pricing. Agencies price based on value, but also on covering overheads. If I’m saving 4 out of 5 man-days by getting a free AI to write content for me (I’m not, yet!) then should that bring the price down? Even if the output quality is the same, or higher? The mind boggles.”
Level 5: Do you believe that AI advancements could lead to a singularity event where machines become smarter than humans and redesign themselves in a recursive loop of ever-increasing intelligence?
“This is certainly not outside of the realms of possibility. AI will continue to be an increasingly important part of modern life as time goes on, the question is whether this AI will harbour hostility towards its forbears, or whether it will be able to increase the quality of our lives in a harmonious manner. It’s easy to look around and think of technology as the pinnacle of the downfall of society, but in reality, I believe technology is the only thing that makes our lives easier on a day-to-day basis. From the dishwasher, to your spectacles, to your smartphone (social media notwithstanding), technology allows us to live better lives, be more productive and more connected. I find this reassuring and for one, welcome our robot overlords. “
A big thank you to Henry for being the first in this “Meet the Zebulls” series, where we learn about the Zebu team, how they got into Web3, and ask them thought-provoking questions that provide more value than “what’s your favourite crypto”.