Jack Uldrich’s “Future Friday 5:” March 17, 2023
(Editor’s note: As a futurist, I am comfortable with uncertainty but I will admit that the dizzying advances in artificial intelligence have left me grappling to understand the implications of this technology. I fear that no one–not even the developers of AI nor the world’s brightest people–understand where all of this headed. It may not feel like it, but we are living in unprecedented times and it behooves all of us to spend a lot of time thinking about the wisdom of rashly deploying artificial intelligence.)
Think: This article, A Conversation with Bing’s Chatbot Left Me Deeply Unsettled, left me unsettled. The following quote from the article offers two very important reasons why we must all think deeply about this technology: “I worry that the technology will learn how to influence human users, sometimes persuading them to act in destructive and harmful ways, and perhaps eventually grow capable of carrying out its own dangerous acts.” (Note: Just as social media had a great many unintended consequences on the mental health of its users, I fear AI may have many more.)
Think Bigger: GPT-4 is big and better than ChatGPT–but OpenAI won’t say why. If anything, artificial intelligence must be able to communicate to its users how and why it comes up with the answers that it does. Failing this, I don’t think any of us should be willing to trust the technology. (I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on AI–positive, negative, somewhere in between?)
Think Different: Artificial intelligence will require most to unlearn some of the things we think we know about how the world works. The following isn’t the most serious example but in a world where cars are controlled by AI, it is possible that car manufacturers will soon be able to repossess a car by simply commanding it to drive itself back to the dealership. This is one reason Ford just filed a patent to create a car that can repossess itself. (Let me ask you this: Do we really want to live in a world where the Repo Man isn’t needed?)
Think Again: Are you in either the banking or architecture industries? If so, AI is already transforming your business as these two articles attest: Architects Replaced by AI: Why AI is Set to Radically Affect Practice and Morgan Stanley is Testing OpenAI Chatbot for 16,000 of its Financial Advisors.
Think the Unthinkable: AI, as I have written before, could create a number of positive developments. One area AI is speeding up things is in the creation of enzymes. Recently, researchers in Australia discovered an enzyme that converts air into energy. If AI can help further refine the enzyme, it could help society by producing an unlimited amount of affordable clean energy.
Afterthought: “Learning and innovation go hand in hand. The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow.“–William Pollard