Artificial intelligence is the hottest thing to hit the market since the cryptocurrency craze.
It wasn’t long ago that stock values increased just by tacking “blockchain” on to their name: like when Long Island Iced Tea Corp. changed its name to Long Blockchain Corp. and their stocks quadrupled in value.
image created by DALL-E
Or when Eastman Kodak Co., the camera maker, announced that it would go into crypto mining and their stocks tripled in value.
“Then there were the outright scams,” says business reporter Ethan Lou. “The infamous OneCoin raised US$4-billion, but there is no evidence it had even developed a digital currency based on blockchain technology (Globe and Mail, May 6, 2023).”
Now companies are jumping on the latest craze by tacking “ai” on to their names.
A London-based startup company, Engineer.ai, attracted US$30-million after it claimed to use artificial intelligence to build apps. The Wall Street Journal discovered that Engineer.ai’s AI claims were greatly exaggerated – actual humans in India were building the apps.
The value of BigBear.ai Holdings Inc., an information technology services company, is up about 250 per cent this year.
The hype over AI goes beyond the stock market.
If you ask ChatGPT for a definition of something that doesn’t exist, it can, rather convincingly, give you one complete with made-up footnotes. AI developers call these glitches “hallucinations.”
“No one in the field has yet solved the hallucination problems,” Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google and Alphabet, said recently.
Alphabet is into the AI craze with a chatbot called Bard. They didn’t want to be left behind after Microsoft developed an AI-assisted Bing.
Alphabet is moving cautiously after Bing produced hallucinations. When I tried to access Bard, I received a message: ”Bard isn’t currently supported in your country. Stay tuned!”
Naomi Klein finds the hype a bit much. She’s an author, columnist, and Professor of Climate Justice at the University of British Columbia. Klein says:
“Generative AI will end poverty, they tell us. It will cure all disease. It will solve climate change. It will make our jobs more meaningful and exciting. It will unleash lives of leisure and contemplation, helping us reclaim the humanity we have lost to late capitalist mechanization. It will end loneliness. It will make our governments rational and responsive. These, I fear, are the real AI hallucinations and we have all been hearing them on a loop ever since Chat GPT launched at the end of last year (Guardian, May 8, 20223).”
Not only is AI fueling stock market hype and promoting exaggerated claims, it is a ripoff.
Generative AI takes content created by artists and writers, and mashes it together in a novel way to simulate creatively. It could even use images of my house created by Google’s Street View.
“Now the same thing that happened to the exterior of our homes is happening to our words, our images, our songs, our entire digital lives,” says Klein. “All are currently being seized and used to train the machines to simulate thinking and creativity.”
I haven’t given permission to Generative AI to use my photos, my paintings, my writing, for some machine to claim as original.
It’s theft of intellectual property.