How should be feel about AI?
AI has dominated the early part of this year’s TED conference in Vancouver, with talks highlighting both the exciting promise and potentially apocalyptic future that the technology could portend.
OpenAI co-founder Greg Brockman showed a series of demos of what’s coming in the near future. In one, ChatGPT suggested a post-TED meal, used a DALL-E plug-in to visualize the meal, created a shopping list on Instacart and then tweeted out that list. In another example, ChatGPT dissected a spreadsheet to suggest several ways to display data within the program, and then graphed them.
On the opposite side, Eliezer Yudkowsky argues modern AI development needs to be shut down, highlighted the existential threat posed by the imminent arrival of machines built by humans that can have superhuman intelligence and act in ways humans don’t fully understand. Could such systems cause human extinction (he says the risk is high) like the films the Matrix?
“I suspect we could figure out with unlimited time and unlimited retries,” he said, but insists that’s not the situation. “We do not get to learn from our mistakes and try again.”
University of Washington professor Yejin Choi argued that AI systems need to be re-architected and taught both common sense and human values, both of which she said are severely lacking in even the latest large language models.
Choi believes that building ever bigger models alone won’t solve these fundamental limitations. “You don’t reach to the moon by making the tallest building in the world one inch taller at a time,” she said.
Can AI go to war for us?
ScaleAI CEO Alexandr Wang made an impassioned case that U.S. and its allies must harness AI for military use faster than its adversaries. AI, he said, is already changing the nature of warfare, from weaponizing drones to enabling disinformation and cyberattacks on infrastructure.
“The AI war will define the future of our world,” Wang said. “We cannot sit on the sidelines and watch the rise of an authoritarian regime. We must fight for the world we want to live in.”
What about my job?
How AI will impact jobs or the potential for it to disproportionately advantage the already powerful and wealthy while doing harm to those already marginalized.
People in the field say they share both the optimism and fears being voiced. “We hear from people who are excited. We hear from people who are concerned,” Brockman said. “Honestly that’s how we feel.”