Although our age is defined by humanity’s disproportionate influence on the planet, we ourselves are undergoing profound changes. Tasks that previously could be accomplished only through human labor are increasingly being performed by machines, including many tasks that rely on creativity. Far from a distant theoretical possibility, artificial intelligence has arrived — and it is here to stay.

In considering AI’s potential, it can be tempting to channel the techno-optimism of the 1990s, when IBM’s Deep Blue triumphed over the world chess champion, unleashing a wave of interdisciplinary interest in how AI might be deployed and commercialized in other domains. But it can also be tempting to adopt the opposing view and insist that AI will become an intolerable threat to most people’s livelihoods and perhaps even to human existence itself.

Both reactions are not new: they have often accompanied the emergence of major innovations. They also make similar mistakes, because both treat technological progress as if it were something separate from us. Nowadays, the optimists fixate on what AI might do for us, while the pessimists worry about what it will do to us. But the question we should be asking is what AI will do with us.