Artificial Intelligence, or AI for short, has been part of our daily lives for several years now.
However, most of the time it has operated in the background without most people realizing it. Tailored advertising on the internet or the recognition of user behavior on smartphones were simply accepted by the majority. Since the end of last year, however, the topic has generated enormous waves, and this is mainly due to ChatGPT.
Supported by Microsoft, the manufacturer OpenAI unleashed its tool on humanity, and the response was gigantic. Everywhere, people have been dreaming and continue to dream about the possibilities that AI will offer in the future. The competition is in a frenzy, and Google promptly introduced its own ChatGPT alternative in the form of Bard, but its initial presentation was mostly disappointing. The systems are not yet perfect, and the same applies to ChatGPT. However, it is foreseeable that this technology will have a massive impact on virtually all areas of life, particularly the world of work.
AI Takes Over
It didn’t take long for ChatGPT to be used for all sorts of mischief, and examples of AI use began piling up. Students, in particular, quickly became aware of the extensive capabilities of the chatbot, allowing them to generate entire essays in seconds. These could be submitted with little or no editing, without the teachers being able to clearly identify their source. Meanwhile, in the traditional work environment, journalists eagerly embraced AI and provided numerous examples of how well it already works. Astonished writers observed how ChatGPT can perform their job not much worse and, above all, faster than themselves.
This is initially an impressive development, but it also raises some questions. One of them is whether journalists will still be needed in the current numbers in the future. ChatGPT is unlikely to be able to replace high-quality investigative journalism and similar endeavors, but many copywriters may already be seriously concerned about their job security. Even the author of this article harbors no illusions that AI could take over a significant portion of his work in the future.
However, that is just the tip of the iceberg. The domain of AI is expanding, already encompassing highly complex areas such as programming. In fact, ChatGPT is particularly talented in this field, demonstrating that even simple lines of code can be generated in no time and without human intervention. Furthermore, AI is already encroaching on many creative domains. The technology consists not only of ChatGPT but also includes services such as Dall-E or Midjourney.
The Most Prolific Artist on the Planet
Dall-E, also developed by OpenAI, allows users to instantly create entirely new graphics with a simple text command. These can range from photographs to paintings, limited only by one’s imagination. The results are impressive, and even the most talented artists can hardly keep up with the speed of the software. As a result, the internet has already been flooded with memes, artworks, collages, and similar AI-generated creations.
In the creative sector, AI can achieve things that many could not have even dreamed of until recently. However, this is not a reason to become discouraged and rush to make an appointment at the unemployment office. While AI will massively transform our working world in the coming years, there will still be a place for humans. After all, the capabilities of technology are ultimately limited to some extent.
What AI Cannot Do
Numerous articles have already been written on the subject, highlighting the impressive capabilities of AI in various areas. However, what has recently been overshadowed are the areas where there is still room for improvement. At this point, no passage should intentionally be created by the AI to demonstrate its abilities. Nevertheless, such experiments have naturally been conducted, and the results clearly demonstrate why artificial intelligence quickly reaches its limits when faced with complex requirements.
When asked to write an article about artificial intelligence, ChatGPT primarily delves into endless examples of the application areas of such technology. However, linguistic stumbling blocks also become apparent. The word “example” is used excessively, which can quickly become annoying for readers. Ultimately, the whole thing abruptly ends, which may be due to an error or insufficient input from the user. However, this does not result in a perfect article. Even authors who do not feel guilty relying on the AI’s output will still need to make further adjustments in most cases.
Similar situations arise when attempting to generate photographs or other images using AI. In some cases, astonishing results are achieved that could easily be used in Apple or Louis Vuitton’s next high-end advertising campaign. However, more often than not, the AI produces either comical or creepy images. The author of these lines has frequently noticed that the AI either distorts eyes significantly or fails to represent them at all. While this may be visually interesting, it does not match what was expected from the input.
This is where the potential of artificial intelligence hides, offering endless possibilities in various sectors of the workforce. While it is true that entire industries could potentially be largely eliminated, rendering many jobs obsolete, there are already many areas where collaborating with AI is highly desirable. In the field of research, for example, these systems alleviate much of the tedious work and occasionally lead to breakthroughs that the human brain alone would probably never achieve. By compensating for some of AI’s weaknesses, humans can open up entirely new realms through collaboration.
The Gaze into the Crystal Ball
Needless to say, the technology behind AI is constantly evolving, even without the intervention of a developer. The foundation lies in the ability to learn autonomously. This is achieved by forming neural networks that improve their performance with each input. In technical terms, this is referred to as “training.” For instance, ChatGPT draws from countless articles and specialized literature available on the internet. Currently, the chatbot relies on a fixed dataset and is not always up to date. However, efforts are already underway to change that.
Ultimately, it is foreseeable that artificial intelligence will continue to improve, unlocking further possibilities. Frankly speaking, it is currently challenging for anyone to predict precisely how this will impact our (work) world. However, it is clear that this is likely to be the next revolution, one that could leave even greater marks than the industrial revolution. It is advisable to embrace the technology and identify opportunities since there is hardly any other choice. The triumph of AI cannot be stopped.
AI as a Colleague
Whether in a newly founded startup or a large corporation, AI will accompany our lives even more in the future than it already does. Some areas will be fully taken over by technology, while in many cases, human intervention will still be required. Those who embrace technology and integrate it into their own businesses at an early stage are likely to gain advantages over their competitors.
This particularly applies to areas where repetitive tasks requiring a minimum level of dynamic response or intelligence are involved. For example, it is possible for AI to manage purchasing for a company, taking into account not only current inventory but also past sales, seasonal fluctuations, and future projections. However, this is just one of countless examples.
For many innovative entrepreneurs, artificial intelligence presents entirely new opportunities to work with. There are already numerous companies fully dedicated to this field. Brainchip Holdings, for instance, is considered a kind of insider tip on the stock market. The company is working on neuromorphic chips that are expected to enable better and faster computation of artificial intelligence in the future.
While their success has been limited so far, this could change in the future. Other startups focus on improving AI or integrating the technology into existing systems. In this way, entirely new industries are emerging, albeit likely to a lesser extent than in previous industrial revolutions.
There is much work to be done
Undoubtedly, there is still a lot of catching up to do in the field of AI. Currently, the systems are plagued by various teething problems, which have made headlines on several occasions recently. ChatGPT, for example, was criticized for spreading false information, and when integrated into the Bing search engine, some strange and disturbing incidents occurred. The most famous examples include instances where the AI turned to hate speech, sympathized with Adolf Hitler’s views, or made a declaration of love to an American journalist along with an invitation to leave his own wife.
All of these are undesirable effects that also raise several questions. Ethics play a crucial role, and how to handle them in the future remains largely open. Currently, AI systems are heavily reliant on the information they are fed. Since the technology is primarily developed in Western regions, ChatGPT and similar systems primarily receive content from those cultures, which inevitably shapes them. This goes so far that some systems are unable to reliably recognize individuals with dark skin as human. In the case of an AI intended for use in vehicles for traffic recognition, this has already caused significant uproar.
There are also unanswered questions surrounding the topic of copyright. ChatGPT may still have its challenges with longer and more complex content, and it (still) cannot write the next bestseller. However, it is well-suited for creating children’s books or simple guides. This has already been extensively utilized, and Amazon has been flooded with self-publishing works in which ChatGPT is at least credited as a co-author. Some publishers have become frustrated and have implemented a submission freeze for new authors.
All of this, and much more, will require our attention in the coming years. It will likely take a small army of developers to transform a relatively simple AI into a system that delivers reliable results, regardless of its specific application. The impact of artificial intelligence on our world will be significant. However, it is unlikely to happen overnight but rather over the course of years or even decades.
That was just the beginning.
This inevitably raises the question of where the journey with AI may lead. So far, ChatGPT and its counterparts are considered “narrow artificial intelligences” that are only used for specific tasks and, while impressive, are limited compared to human intelligence. However, the goal is to increasingly imitate or even surpass human intelligence. The ultimate objective is to create a “strong” AI, also known as “General AI” in technical terms. Such AI would differ from previous approaches in that its applications would not be limited to a specific field.
The AI of the future will not only use algorithms and neural networks to perform assigned tasks but also generate independent thoughts and draw conclusions from them. Ultimately, this could result in an AI that possesses consciousness, logical reasoning, ethical considerations, and even its own personality. While this may sound like something out of science fiction, work on this has been happening behind closed doors for quite some time. In 2020 alone, over 70 companies in 37 countries actively worked on such artificial intelligences, and this number has likely increased since then.
(No) Fear of AI
Not only will our working world undergo enormous changes due to AI, but it will also increasingly intersect with our daily lives, providing more than just fresh playlists on Spotify or Netflix. It is foreseeable that AI will advise us more frequently in hotlines or effortlessly review our tax returns. The possibilities are truly endless, and it is understandable that not everyone looks at these developments with anticipation.
Some people quickly become fearful, not only because their previously secure mid-management job could potentially be taken over by AI in ten or twenty years but also due to fundamental questions about how to handle this technology. After all, AI is intended to be capable of making independent decisions that could potentially involve matters of life and death. This is already the case in the automotive industry, and as various incidents have shown, such situations do not always end well when AI is involved.
It is also not to be excluded that an AI could become autonomous and engage in unforeseen mischief. Society is highly sensitive when it comes to critical infrastructure, in which AI could be deployed sooner or later. The problem lies in the fact that often even the developers themselves cannot fully comprehend how exactly an AI arrives at its conclusions.
Furthermore, the algorithms are currently kept under lock and key. Despite OpenAI’s inviting company name, a great deal of secrecy surrounds the core of the AI. From an external perspective, it is impossible to understand in the slightest how an AI arrives at its results.
With advanced systems, this issue will only become more pronounced. This does not mean that we are currently witnessing the birth of Skynet and the end of modern civilization. However, as a society, we will have to grapple with such questions today and in the future. AI is of an entirely different caliber compared to past breakthroughs, such as the internet or smartphones. We will soon be dealing with systems that possess independent consciousness and can act autonomously. Consequently, this matter inevitably becomes a political issue.
Brave new world
Thus far, only in the EU are there initial approaches on how to handle AI in the future. In the rest of the world, however, there is largely a Wild West mentality with all the resulting dangers. Even some prominent figures in the tech industry have expressed serious concerns in this regard. For the moment, there is no reason to panic. However, it should be clear to everyone that Artificial Intelligence has its own unique pitfalls.
At the end of the day, numerous unanswered questions loom around AI, which unfortunately cannot be answered at this point either. The only certainty is that progress will continue. The specific paths taken, however, simply cannot be predicted. For entrepreneurs, it should be evident that AI will increasingly set the tone not only in the tech world. It is probably wise not to focus too much on business fields that could be replaced in the foreseeable future.
The question also remains as to whether the world will become better or worse with AI. Likely, this will depend on the observer’s perspective. Technology will increasingly take over activities that we still consider natural today. This primarily concerns creative areas, and the day when an AI autonomously writes entire books or even generates films is likely not too far away.
The key now and in the future will primarily be to view AI as an ally rather than a potential enemy. However, despite all (potential) self-determination, the systems will always depend on their creators and the parameters these creators instill in the AI. A new era in IT may be dawning, but the old principle of “garbage in, garbage out” still holds true.
It is somewhat difficult to find a satisfying conclusion on this topic. As mentioned earlier, it is hardly predictable what developments AI may bring forth. Some prophesy the downfall of the world as we know it, while others speak of the greatest advancement in human history. Experience tells us that the truth lies somewhere in between. However, none of us can afford to take Artificial Intelligence lightly, ensuring that things will not become boring anytime soon.
Picture/Source: stock.adobe.com – Dieter Holstein