Artificial Intelligence – Promise and Peril

As we navigate through 2023, we’ve become acutely aware of artificial intelligence’s dual nature. We marvel at the promise it holds for medical breakthroughs, innovative treatments for chronic diseases, and the prospects of an abundant future. Yet, we are equally privy to warnings from leading experts about the dangers of losing control over these technologies and the existential risks posed by the advent of superintelligence.

ChatGPT has exemplified the beneficial impact of AI, offering substantial time savings in drafting emails, summarizing documents, managing schedules, and automating mundane tasks. It’s not just a facilitator but a revolutionary force in diverse fields such as programming, translation, diagnostics, and even psychological counseling. Its potential to foster global peace and prosperity, as we shift from competition to resource abundance, cannot be overstated.

However, critics voice their concerns loudly. They question the wisdom of entrusting our responsibilities to a Chatbot and ponder the fate of human intellectual prowess in problem-solving. They argue that large language models have ‘hacked’ language, enabling AI to subtly integrate into our culture, manifesting in the background as Siri, Meta, and Alexa, among others.

The specter of a superintelligence surpassing human capabilities raises fears of losing control—could such an entity, as a friend humorously suggested, relegate us to mere pets? With numerous nations poised for major elections, the influence of AI on these democratic processes is a pressing concern.

Technology, as it advances, becomes more accessible and potent, permeating society like a viral meme, spreading from person to person, moment to moment, task to task. The way we employ this technology is crucial. It can be a force for good or ill; the narratives we embrace will chart our course.

Mustafa Suleyman, in his book The Coming Wave, urges us to erect safeguards around our technology to ensure it serves us, not the other way around. As AI converges with fields like genetics, creating novel life forms, the fundamental question arises: will these AI-infused robots serve us, or their own agendas?

The race toward Artificial General Intelligence, marked by opensource AI’s strides, hints at the capability to innovate without prompts and perform tasks autonomously. Perhaps, this is one of humanity’s crowning achievements in our quest for god-like creation. In 2023, AI has been laid bare, its presence and trajectory clear. Initially, it will be human augmented by AI, then AI complementing humans, and ultimately, AI alone. The release of such capabilities will match the pace of societal adaptation; to accelerate would risk societal collapse. As Bob Dylan famously sang, “The times they are a-changin’.” We must either adapt or risk extinction.