Monday, April 10, 2023

If we don’t master AI, AI will master us - A brief list of articles by prominent intellectuals.

With technology companies now choosing speed over caution in the race to develop the dominant A.I. Chatbot application,  I’m using this post to save for myself the links to a few influential recent cautionary articles by the likes of Noam Chomsky, Yuval Harari, Ezra Klein and others, and pass them on in case a few MindBlog readers might find them useful. I have asked ChatGPT to summarize the messages of the first two articles in 300 words. In the second Gogggle's Bard gives a more balanced version than ChatGPT.

 This changes everything - Ezra Klein

In 2018, Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, described artificial intelligence (A.I.) as "the most important thing humanity has ever worked on," and suggested it would have a more profound impact than electricity or fire. The author of this New York Times opinion piece suggests that Pichai's comment should be taken seriously, as A.I. is set to transform the world in unimaginable ways.
The author acknowledges that the term A.I. is loose, and refers to a world populated by programs that appear intelligent to us, such as ChatGPT, which already exist to a significant extent. However, the author argues that what is coming will make these systems look like toys, and that the improvement curve for A.I. is hard to appreciate. Some experts believe that A.I. could transform the world in just a few years or even months.
The author notes that A.I. experts were asked in a survey about the probability of human inability to control future advanced A.I. systems causing human extinction or similarly permanent and severe disempowerment of the human species. The median reply was 10 percent, a figure the author finds hard to fathom.
Despite the potential risks, the author argues that many A.I. researchers feel a responsibility to usher in this new form of intelligence into the world. The author suggests that while it may be tempting to dismiss these researchers as "nuts," their proximity to the technology may give them a unique perspective on its potential.
The author concludes by asking whether A.I. could usher in a new era of scientific progress, such as the recent advance in predicting the 3-D structure of proteins. Ultimately, the impact of A.I. on humanity is yet to be fully understood, but it is clear that the technology will have a significant impact on our lives in the coming years.


  Our New Promethean Moment - Thomas Friedman

In his article, "The Age of Artificial Intelligence Has Arrived," Thomas Friedman shares his experience with Craig Mundie, who demonstrated GPT-4, the latest version of the artificial intelligence chatbot ChatGPT developed by OpenAI. Mundie told Friedman that "this is going to change everything about how we do everything. I think that it represents mankind’s greatest invention to date. It is qualitatively different — and it will be transformational." Mundie explained that large language modules like ChatGPT will steadily increase their capabilities and take us "toward a form of artificial general intelligence," delivering efficiencies in operations, ideas, discoveries, and insights "that have never been attainable before across every domain." Mundie demonstrated GPT-4's ability to summarize Planet Word, a museum's mission statement in multiple languages and in different verse forms with stunning creativity. Friedman observes that the technology behind GPT-4 and other advanced artificial intelligence is rapidly changing how we live and work, and it is driving the most significant change since the industrial revolution. He describes it as a Promethean moment, one of those moments in history when certain new tools or energy sources are introduced, and we can't just change one thing, we have to change everything. Friedman calls this era "The Age of Acceleration, Amplification and Democratization." More people than ever before have access to increasingly cheap tools that amplify their power at a steadily accelerating rate. The technology behind GPT-4 has the potential to solve seemingly impossible problems such as human biology, fusion energy, and climate change. The recent use of AlphaFold A.I. system by DeepMind, an A.I. lab owned by Google parent Alphabet, to solve protein folding is an awe-inspiring example of how this technology can accelerate the ability to understand diseases, create new medicines, and otherwise probe the mysteries of life on Earth.
Google's Bard gives a less positive and more balanced assessment of Friedman's piece:
Thomas Friedman's article, "The Age of Artificial Intelligence Has Arrived," is a timely and important piece that explores the potential impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on our lives. Friedman argues that AI is a powerful technology that has the potential to change everything about how we do everything. He cites the example of GPT-4, a large language model developed by OpenAI, which can summarize Planet Word, a museum's mission statement, in multiple languages and in different verse forms with stunning creativity. This is just one example of the many ways in which AI is already changing our lives, and Friedman argues that we need to be prepared for the even more profound changes that are to come.
Friedman also discusses the potential risks of AI, such as the possibility that it could be used to create autonomous weapons or to create a dystopian society in which humans are subservient to machines. He argues that we need to be careful about how we develop and use AI, and that we need to put in place safeguards to prevent it from being used for harmful purposes.
Overall, Friedman's article is a thought-provoking and important piece that raises important questions about the future of AI. It is a must-read for anyone who is interested in the impact of technology on our lives.
Here are some additional thoughts on the potential impact of AI:
AI has the potential to revolutionize many industries, including healthcare, transportation, and manufacturing.
AI could help us to solve some of the world's most pressing problems, such as climate change and poverty.
However, AI also poses some risks, such as the possibility of job displacement and the misuse of AI for malicious purposes.
It is important to develop AI in a responsible way that benefits all of humanity.

And here are some more skeptical and cautionary pieces:

 The Data Delusion - Jill Lepore

 The False Promise of ChatGPT - Noam Chomsky

 You Can Have the Blue Pill or the Red Pill, and We’re Out of Blue Pills - Yuval Harari et al.

  A skeptical take on the A.I. revolution. - Ezra Klein and Gary Marcus 

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