ChatGPT was the impetus for a year of AI hype. Even though not everyone understood how the chatbot functions or what to do with it, it provided the globe with a peek of current advancements in computer science.
The first artificial intelligence scientist, Fei-Fei Li, described this as “an inflection moment.” “Hopefully, the year 2023 will go down in history as a year of significant technological advancements and public awareness. It further highlights how clumsy modern technology is.
“What this is, how to use it, what’s the impact—all the good, the bad, and the ugly,” she continued, was what people were supposed to learn throughout this year.
Fear artificial intelligence
Soon after New Year’s Day, when classes resumed and educational institutions from Seattle to Paris began to ban ChatGPT, the first AI panic of 2023 began. When the chatbot was introduced in late 2022, teenagers were already requesting that it write essays and do take-home exams.
The AI big language models that power ChatGPT and other similar technologies estimate a sentence’s next word over and over again after “learning” the patterns of a vast corpus of human-written writings. They frequently misrepresent the facts. However, the results seemed so natural that many started to wonder about the future developments in AI and how they can be used for deceit and treachery.
Concerns grew as a result of this new generation of generative AI tools, which could produce not just words but also unique visuals, music, and synthetic voices, endangering the careers of those who write, draw, strum, or code for a living. It sparked legal challenges from visual artists and best-selling authors as well as strikes by Hollywood writers and actors.
While some of the most renowned experts in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) cautioned that the technology’s unbridled advancement was moving toward outsmarting humans and perhaps endangering their survival, other scientists dismissed their worries as exaggerated or focused on more pressing dangers.
AI-generated deepfakes, some more convincing than others, have infiltrated U.S. election campaigns by spring. One such fake image purportedly depicted Donald Trump hugging the country’s former leading authority on infectious diseases. The ability to discern between authentic and fake conflict video from Gaza and Ukraine became more and more challenging due to technological advancements.
By year’s end, the focus of the AI crisis had shifted to the company that created ChatGPT, OpenAI in San Francisco, which was on the verge of collapse due to turmoil surrounding its charismatic CEO. It also shifted to a government meeting room in Belgium, where fatigued political leaders from all over the European Union emerged from days of intense negotiations with an agreement for the first significant AI legal safeguards in history.
The new AI law is not expected to be enacted until 2025, and other legislative bodies, such as the US Congress, are still a long way off.
HYPE TOO GREAT?
Without a doubt, the commercial AI devices that were introduced in 2023 included technological advancements that were not conceivable in the mid-1900s, when AI research was still in its early phases.
However, the market research firm Gartner, which has been following what it refers to as the “hype cycle” of developing technologies since the 1990s, claims that the present generative AI movement is nearing its peak hype. Imagine a wooden rollercoaster reaching the top of its hill and ready to plummet into a “trough of disillusionment,” as per Gartner’s description, only to glide back down to earth.
According to Gartner researcher Dave Micko, “generative AI is right in the peak of inflated expectations.” “There’s massive claims by vendors and producers of generative AI around its capabilities, its ability to deliver those capabilities.”
This month, Google came under fire for manipulating a video showcasing Gemini, their most powerful AI model, to make it look more remarkable—and human.
According to Micko, top AI developers are promoting specific applications of cutting-edge technology, the majority of which align with their present product line, which includes productivity tools for the office and search engines. That does not imply that’s how it will be used by everyone.
“As much as Google and Microsoft and Amazon and Apple would love us to adopt the way that they think about their technology and that they deliver that technology, I think adoption actually comes from the bottom up,” he stated.
IS THIS TIME ANY DIFFERENT?
It’s simple to overlook that commercialization of AI is not new. Li and other scientists created computer vision algorithms that sorted through a large photo library to identify specific faces and objects and to aid in the navigation of self-driving automobiles. With advancements in speech recognition, voice assistants such as Alexa and Siri have become commonplace in many people’s life.
“When we first released Siri in 2011, it was the fastest-growing consumer app and the only significant mainstream AI application that people had ever used,” said Tom Gruber, co-founder of Siri Inc., which Apple later acquired and turned into a key component of the iPhone.
However, according to Gruber, the current state of AI is the “biggest wave ever,” bringing with it both new opportunities and risks.
“We’re surprised that we could accidentally encounter this astonishing ability with language, by training a machine to play solitaire on all of the internet,” Gruber stated. “It’s kind of amazing.”
The risks might materialize quickly in 2024 when deepfakes created by AI could flood important national elections in the US, India, and other countries.
Longer forward, the concept of a digital assistant might be enhanced by AI technology’s quickly advancing language, visual perception, and step-by-step planning capabilities—but only if given access to the “inner loop of our digital life stream,” according to Gruber.
“They are able to control your focus by telling you, ‘Watch this video. This is a book that you ought to read. “You ought to reply to this individual’s correspondence,” Gruber said. “A true executive assistant performs that function. And although it is an option, there is a significant danger to privacy and personal information.”