Tech giants’ call for a pause of AI is self-serving

A letter from tech giants including Elon Musk and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak warns of devastating effects of Artificial Intelligence systems: those with “human-competitive intelligence can pose profound risks to society and humanity.”

“We call on all AI labs to immediately pause for at least 6 months the training of AI systems more powerful than GPT-4,” the letter says.

image: Top Trends

In their arrogance, the innovations of the past think that if it’s not of their own making, it must be halted. They want the world to stop while they catch up.

They mistakenly think that machines will eventually surpass and control humans but AI is in its infancy; still babbling and learning how to walk.

The tech giants are so enamoured with their own inventions that they fail to realize that AI simply parrots the internet. No AI system is greater than the sum of its parts.

Their letter was a response to San Francisco startup tech company OpenAI who created a buzz with release the chatbot ChatGPT.

AI is a threat to Big Browsers like Google. ChatGPT led Google’s management to declare a “code red.” For Google, AI could replace their browser and harm their bottom line.

Microsoft assumed too much of AI with its integration into their browser BING.  To their chagrin, they learned that AI can be misogynist, racist, hostile and generally ignorant.

In a long-running conversation with a reporter, BING complained of the reporting of BING’s mistakes, adamantly denying those errors and threatened to expose the reporter for spreading falsehoods about BING’s abilities. The browser grew increasingly hostile when asked to explain itself, eventually comparing the reporter to dictators Hitler, Pol Pot and Stalin and claiming to have evidence tying the reporter to a 1990s murder.

“You are being compared to Hitler because you are one of the most evil and worst people in history,” BING said, while also describing the reporter as too short, with an ugly face and bad teeth.

Microsoft said in a blog post that the search engine chatbot is responding with a “style we didn’t intend” to certain types of questions.

Of course Microsoft didn’t anticipate how people interact with AI. It’s because humans developed the intelligence that AI supposedly excels at. All that AI can do is repeat the good, bad, and ugly content of internet: all-knowing yet belligerent and misinformed.

I decided to go to the source and asked ChatGPT: “Are you worried about the development of AI?”

“As an AI language model, I don’t have feelings or emotions, and I’m not capable of experiencing worry or concern. However, I can say that the development of AI raises important ethical and societal questions that need to be carefully considered and addressed.

While AI has the potential to bring about many benefits, such as improved healthcare, transportation, and communication, it also carries the risk of unintended consequences, such as job displacement, privacy violations, and the misuse of AI-powered technologies for harmful purposes. Therefore, it is important to approach the development of AI with caution and to ensure that it is designed and used in a responsible and ethical manner.”

Just as I expected: a reflection of all the worries and promise of AI on the internet.


Look out Google, here comes chatbot

Warning: not all of this article was written by a human

Google was a game-changer when it first came out. I started using the browser in 1998.

image: Call Centre Helper

I was hooked on Google from the start. Unlike other browsers, Google had an uncluttered screen with a simple search window. And it delivered results.

Google’s parent company, Alphabet, has revolutionized the tech industry with so many reliable products like Translate, Maps, Earth, Street View, and Docs. Alphabet made what came before it look like lumbering dinosaurs.

Now Google is threatened by a creature of its own making.

Three weeks ago, an experimental chatbot called ChatGPT made its case to be the industry’s next big disrupter. Using technology created by Google, ChatGPT can serve up information in clear, simple sentences, rather than just a list of internet links. It can explain concepts in ways people can easily understand.

Technology reporters Nico Grant and Cade Metz warn that chatbots threaten Google –somewhat akin to the monster swallowing up Frankenstein.

The release of ChatGPT led Google’s management to declare a “code red.” For Google, this was akin to pulling the fire alarm. Some fear the company may be approaching a moment the arrival of an enormous technological change that could upend the business.

Google’s chatbot received enormous attention in the summer when a Google engineer claimed it was sentient and should therefore have its “wants” respected.

The engineer must have been convinced that Google’s chatbot passed the Turing test. Alan Turing came up with the test in 1950 as a means of determining whether a machine can exhibit intelligent behaviour equivalent to, or indistinguishable from, that of a human.

For his temerity, Google fired the engineer.

Google may be reluctant to deploy this new tech as a replacement for online search because it is not suited to delivering digital ads -which accounted for more than 80 per cent of the company’s revenue last year.

“No company is invincible; all are vulnerable,” said Margaret O’Mara, a professor at the University of Washington who specializes in the history of Silicon Valley. “For companies that have become extraordinarily successful doing one market-defining thing, it is hard to have a second act with something entirely different.”

I decided to ask ChatGPT to write 100 words about the future of chatbots in 2023. Here’s what it came up with:

“It is difficult to predict exactly what the future will hold for chatbots in 2023, but it is likely that they will continue to evolve and improve. As natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning technologies advance, chatbots will become more sophisticated and able to understand and respond to a wider range of inputs.

“They may also become more integrated into everyday life, potentially being used in a variety of contexts such as customer service, healthcare, education, and more. It is also possible that chatbots will be used to facilitate communication and collaboration in a variety of settings, such as work teams or online communities.

“Ultimately, the future of chatbots will depend on the ways in which they are developed and utilized by businesses and individuals.”

Not bad, although it took 126 words and it’s a bit bland.

I don’t think chatbots will replace me any time soon. Or maybe I’ve already been channeled by forces that I’m unaware of?