There is currently a surge in public interest in artificial intelligence, or AI for short.
This was sparked by the mass availability of two generative AI programs, both developed by the company OpenAI and backed by Microsoft.
Inputting some specs into Dall-E will generate an image of your choice. Chat GPT A mostly useful essay will be written on a given topic, tailored to the instructions received.
Google is developing a replacement for ChatGPT Call Bud. There is also a program called Jukebox that generates “new” songs.
Not surprisingly, all this AI is spooking some graphic designers, writers, and musicians, who fear they’re about to be replaced by machines that can do what they do better, faster, and cheaper.
AI will certainly cause considerable displacement in the workplace, after all printing means many scribes are out of work, cars have almost replaced horse-drawn carriages, and calculators have replaced counting offices.
There is no evidence today that computers equipped with artificial intelligence will outwit or replace our species unless we ask them to.
AI is not real intelligence. It doesn’t think creatively for itself. It may never do so. It is limited in that the word “artificial” in both the senses “made by humans and not occurring naturally”, and “fake or counterfeit”, which is only a substitute for the real thing, like a plastic flower.
AI Programs Are in Trouble
The old adage of computer data – GIGO, Garbage In Garbage Out – still applies. Image-making and prose-writing programs are only as good as the instructions they receive from people and the raw material humans create, converging at the speed of electrons, much faster than we can.
AI programs can’t think for themselves, and they’re already stuck because of the imperfect minds of the human resources they exploit.
Alphabet, Google’s parent company, just paused the rollout of Bard after a trial run. It repeats what many mistakenly believed, namely that NASA’s James Webb Telescope was used to take the first pictures of planets beyond our solar system.
In 2016, Microsoft hastily shut down the Twitter chatbot Tay after it began posting sexist and racist messages. Where could it possibly get these ideas now?
Meta, the owner of Facebook, was embarrassed when Blenderbot joined many recovering doomscrollers in lamenting “my life is better since I deleted Facebook.”
Some worry, or hope, that ChatGPT will end homework because teachers won’t be able to tell if students are using AI to cheat. Proctored written exams will soon end this situation.
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It turns out that AI is a mediocre student
Homework aside, occupy relatively basic rungs on the learning ladder.
In college and graduate school, AI is a mediocre student. It earned a low passing grade of C+ on tests administered by the Minnesota School of Law. Wharton’s B grades are slightly better, but still hover around the average.
A little concerned, newspaper columnist Hugo Rifkind asked ChatGPT to write an article in his style on a given topic. To his relief, the initial effort was illiterate and unusable.
Then he nominated some quotes and jokes for inclusion. On the basis of additional input, the second effort is capable, but nowhere near the standard of his own work, nor worthy of a Times appearance.
AI is already taking over some of the drudgery, though it still needs people to tell it what to do.
Those few journalists tasked with simply rewriting press releases may be an endangered species. It will be a long time before digital associate editors can produce reliable and acceptable pun headlines. Graphic artists who create standard images for advertisements can be replaced. There is already intense debate over the copyright of the original images and written material that inspire new works.
It may be cheaper and less risky to hire someone to do the work.
It always runs according to the instructions set by humans
AI has indeed brought enormous benefits to humanity. It can process data with speed and accuracy that we can’t match. More than 200,000 delegates were recognized at this week’s massive LEAP technical conference in Riyadh. They’ve heard that AI can save at least 10% in electricity consumption just by monitoring equipment and plants and being able to switch them off when not in use.
Likewise, self-driving cars that are being planned, whether on the road or in the air, can only operate safely because the AI can absorb myriad inputs from the monitoring systems in the vehicle itself, other vehicles, and surrounding infrastructure.
None of this means that the AI is “thinking for itself.” It always operates according to the instructions and parameters set by humans. Clearly, there are dystopian potential implications, such as computers delivering justice based on input evidence; machines programmed to kill autonomously; or the suppression and efficient surveillance of people.
But all these malicious tools are driven by bad actors in the first place.
We are still a long way from the so-called “singularity,” a hypothetical point envisioned by philosophers and science fiction writers, when machines will be programmed to make better machines, replacing humans and other carbons. base life form. It may never happen.
Some technologists think we’re all on the way to being laid off. Last year, Blake Lemoine, a software engineer working on Google’s LAMDA (Language Model for Conversational Applications), claimed to have gained the equivalent of a seven or eight-year-old child’s consciousness, fear of death, and awareness of its “rights.”
He subscribes to a simplistic view of human nature—that we too are just machines that respond to stimuli, unable to do something truly novel, but just, like AI, processing existing stimuli.
Musk talks about enhancing the human brain with microchips
This approach seems to be overshadowed by the unexplained and hitherto unreproducible phenomenon of evolution, true creative intelligence, consciousness, and life itself.
Novelist Philip K. Dick’s Dreams of Electric Sheep?
Those of you who have seen the Blade Runner movies inspired by this book will remember that the most precious things in Dick’s dystopia are creatures.
Elon Musk has talked about enhancing the human brain with microchips. This may soon be possible on a limited scale. Philosopher Susan Schneider, founding director of the Center for Future Minds at Florida Atlantic University, advises caution.
If you could actually upload the contents of your mind to a microchip, either in your skull or in the cloud, she points out that you too would die. True human intelligence has many lives left.