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Who’s afraid of big bad AI?

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I am getting more and more blown away by AI these days. Not only is ChatGPT able to write my blogs, but relationships are now run by deep fake robots.

In a recent experiment, the US medical council did a blind test of patient treatments, where patient questions were answered by human doctors but, also, by ChatGPT. After comparing doctor and AI responses to nearly 200 medical questions, a team of health care professionals concluded that nearly 80% of the answers from ChatGPT were more nuanced, accurate and detailed than those shared by physicians.

I’ve also noticed more and more youtube videos created by AI. Here’s one that was written AND directed by ChatGPT

… and, perhaps more unnervingly, trailers and adverts where even the actors are AI generated!

The outgoing Chief Scientist for the UK Government, Patrick Vallance, believes it will be transformative. “There will be a big impact on jobs and that impact could be as big as the Industrial Revolution was,” Vallance told the Commons science, innovation and technology committee. “There will be jobs that can be done by AI, which can either mean a lot of people don’t have a job, or a lot of people have jobs that only a human could do. In the Industrial Revolution the initial effect was a decrease in economic output as people realigned in terms of what the jobs were – and then a benefit,” he added. “We need to get ahead of that.”

I'm not sure we will. If anything, we will see similar outcomes as those when any other technological revolution took place.

200 years back, people tried resisting textile machinery. There was a five-year long movement against the use of machines in industry, remembered as the Luddite movement. A century ago, people resisted automobiles. They called it a noise machine polluting the environment. 25 years ago, there were attempts to ban software phones. Now there are calls to abandon AI projects, but we see a plethora of tools being introduced daily and can we really stop innovation? (thoughts expressed by Danish on LinkedIn).

Of course, it’s early days still, but some of what's happening does seem a little scary. By way of example, how about an AI created chat with the late Steve Jobs about the impact of COVID on Apple …

… as well as a lot more.

No wonder some people are nervous. In fact, the people who are creating AI are nervous. People like Elon Musk and Geoffrey Hinton, the Godfather of AI! In the latest MIT Technology Review, Mr. Hinton outlines why he is scared of the technology he himself created:

“Sometimes I think it’s as if aliens had landed and people haven’t realized because they speak very good English”, he says. In trying to mimic what biological brains do, he thinks we’ve come up with something better. “It’s scary when you see that. It’s a sudden flip … our brains have 100 trillion connections,” he continues. “Large language models have up to half a trillion, a trillion at most. Yet GPT-4 knows hundreds of times more than any one person does. So maybe it’s actually got a much better learning algorithm than us.”

The article is well worth a read, and I particularly liked Hinton’s assertion about how knowledge is networked amongst these systems.

“If you or I learn something and want to transfer that knowledge to someone else, we can’t just send them a copy. But I can have 10,000 neural networks, each having their own experiences, and any of them can share what they learn instantly. That’s a huge difference. It’s as if there were 10,000 of us, and as soon as one person learns something, all of us know it.”

Maybe all those scary films about Skynet, Cyberdyne Systems, exMachina, Transcendence and more are coming true? In fact, don’t even get me talking about when AI is integrated with robotics …

Metalhead, Black Mirror, Season 4, episode 5

Having said that, The Father of AI disagrees. Jürgen Schmidhuber, a scientist who worked on neural networking in the 1990s that is the basis of a lot today's AI, believes that, "in 95% of all cases, AI research is really about our old motto, which is make human lives longer and healthier and easier.” So maybe the future is more like this:

It's only worth it if you can enjoy it ...

 

Postnote:

I enjoyed this commentary from contributor to Digital for Good Roland van der Vorst (Head of Innovation at Rabobank):

“The speed at which artificial intelligence is developing is staggering. First, the machine shows signs of human imagination. Just a little while later and the machine will tell us real stories. The second is that the way AI solves things is becoming less and less transparent. We don't know how it got its answers.

“In the meantime, it sometimes seems as if our own thinking is moving in the opposite direction. Under the influence of devices, we increasingly focus our thinking on what is directly in front of us: the next suggestion or stimulus. Instead of telling and coming up with big stories, we are trained to respond to the quick answer. Our main orientation increasingly seems to be the next step, rather than the broad vista ... we tend to focus on how good the machine becomes at human actions, but let's not forget to also look at how we are gradually denying traits that define our humanity: the ability to look beyond the next step.”

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Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, TheFinanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal's Financial News. To learn more click here...

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