Top of Mind Thursday – March 30, 2023: An Intelligent Way to look at AI Bots

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***No AI tools were used in the preparation of this message.***

With all the attention around AI tools like ChatGPT, will this disclaimer be required on content that was generated the old fashioned way–by regular ordinary humans?

The answer to that depends on how you define artificial intelligence. There are some who worry about machines taking over the world and displacing the human race. Others say whole classes of jobs may be eliminated by AI algorithms. Still others say these tools open up whole new horizons that weren’t available before.

Now, a group of industry luminaries is proposing that AI tool development be put on hold for six months to review the potential disastrous impact on the human race. It’s too late to try to put the genie back in the bottle, so why raise these issues now?

That brings us back to the question of what exactly is artificial intelligence. Thirty years ago, I worked with a startup that had an AI-based tool that wouldn’t even cause a second look today. I’ve also seen blockbuster AI technology come and go with merely a whimper. That’s because AI is nothing more than technology and algorithms that do things we haven’t seen before and therefore didn’t think were possible.

Not that long ago, Siri and Alexa and the algorithm on Netflix that recommends your next movie at one time would have all been considered advanced AI. Today, ChatGPT allows a bot to create fairly good content with little human interaction. What I’ve seen so far, though, is usually grammatically correct, somewhat sterile, and often more fiction than factual.

I have no doubt these tools could write a play in the style of Shakespeare or the next book in the Harry Potter series. That’s because they analyze existing content and use that to guide their output. But could an AI bot create the first work of Shakespeare or envision Hogwarts if JK Rowling hadn’t done it first? Highly unlikely.

Technology by itself is neither good nor evil. Every tool known to man can be used to help mankind or hurt it. Rather than focus on what these tools shouldn’t be allowed to do, a more effective approach is to consider how to use them effectively and ethically.

What guidelines do you have for adopting new technology? Don’t wait for a bot to write these for you.


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