Should You Pursue a Ph.D. in an Era of AI?

Thinking of starting a big, new project? You may ask yourself, how did I get here?

Erik P.M. Vermeulen, PhD
5 min readJun 14, 2024
Photo courtesy of author

Big life decisions rarely come with a second chance. They have a “now-or-never” quality, which makes it imperative that we get them right.

But the biggest decisions inevitably have big consequences and involve a leap into the unknown — placing ourselves at the mercy of something bigger than ourselves.

Perhaps that’s why we call them opportunities — from the Latin “ob portum veniens” — literally, “coming toward a port,” which refers to a favorable wind blowing ships into the harbor.

How, then, do we make such difficult choices? How should we decide?

Sometimes, we make decisions in the spur of the moment, based on intuition and feeling. It could be a no-brainer or simply something we must do. Other times, we make them calmly and with great deliberation.

But as I get older and think about some of the big life decisions I have made, I’m not sure either of those descriptions fully captures the essence of a life-changing choice. Of putting ourselves at the mercy of favorable winds that will bring us safely home — to a place where we are supposed to be.

Is there a doctor in the house?



Erik P.M. Vermeulen, PhD

Prof (law) exploring the collision of life, work, and technology, with a current project in the works - a sci-fi novel.