AI is a Phantom Limb I Never Knew I Needed

How AI became my unseen, indispensable companion

J.J. Pryor

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A robot in love
Created by Author

I hated my university’s slogan. It was something along the lines of “Thinkers. Leaders. Doers.” It just rubbed my brain’s edges in all the wrong ways.

Doers.

Blegh. I’ve never been a doer. I’ve definitely been a thinker, though. Some might even call it chronic. “What are you thinking about?” is a phrase I’ll hear at least thrice a week. Sometimes even when I don’t leave my cave. Although those moments have the mirror worrying a bit more than usual.

On a recent trip with friends, I confessed I had been thinking about where to park before we even left 2 hours prior.

“I don’t think like that,” was the reply.

“Hmm. I do. It’s the only way I can.”

But if I had to say I’m good at something, it’s conceptualizing. Organizing. And never getting around to fucking doing it. If someone gave me $1 million to make “Procrastination” my middle name, I’d chase after a blue car before they finished the question.

I mean hell, did you see the cool white stripes on it?

Then last week I listened to an episode of one of my favorite podcasts, You Are Not So Smart, and went down yet another fun rabbit hole.

The guest was a wonderfully accomplished woman named Temple Grandin, whose list of feats is no less than incredible:

  • She has a degree in psychology and a PhD in animal science.
  • Authored/Co-authored over 60 academic papers.
  • Time 100 named her as one of the 100 most influential people in the world under the “heroes” category.
  • She never spoke a single word until the age of 4. At 2, she was (falsely) diagnosed with brain damage.
  • She was later identified as an autistic savant and has been a successful advocate for autism and neurodiversity rights.
  • She even had a movie made about her life.

She truly sounds like an incredible person.

But the part of that episode that intrigued me was her theories about how people’s brains work. Her idea is that some people intuitively…

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J.J. Pryor

3.01 Mil reads | Ex-pat | Ex-Head Product | Ex-cuse Me | PB&T creator | Top 100 Writer | jjpryor.substack.com