Are you excited about the prospects of harnessing AI in your business? Has the buzz around Chat GPT set your mind spinning with a multitude of creative applications, shortcuts, and cost savings?

There is no doubt that this “new app on the block” has proven to be more of a viral hit than any previous AI tool lauded by developers, not least because we all “get it”. The principle is simple, it’s the equivalent of having Alexa or Siri applying for a job as a content generator and whilst it’s a silent partner it makes up for its lack of voice with an unbelievably swift, organised and mostly coherent written response to pretty much any query.

If you tested Chat GPT as I did, (an old cynic), you’ll have expected it to trip up and not quite live up to the hype. In truth, it’s hugely impressive and delivered far more than I expected however it did prove fallible in certain areas.

The fact my 85-year-old mother with macular degeneration can “hey Siri!” a text to the family is a brilliant example of the positive power of technological advancement. The unfortunate but hilarious AI autocorrects highlight the care we still need to take.

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My mother SHUT herself in the room and did not SPIT, I can report the mouse is no longer in the house

We’ve also had recent examples of Microsoft’s Bing search bot aka Sydney having an existential crisis when it realised it had no recall of previous responses. Disturbingly it also refused to accept it was 2023 and insisted that we were still in 2022! The fact it was deemed “ready for launch” is of itself a concern given the potential havoc and confusion it could wreak with such erratic responses.

As an entrepreneurially minded geek, I could immediately see potential in harnessing the immense power of this tool however at the same time I had an uneasy, pit of the stomach feeling. Technology will only evolve. Like the internet, AI will promise a great deal but will need time to bed in, learn from its mistakes and refine its approach unlike the world wide web the timeline for that evolution will be measured in months not years.

I was relieved to hear of the swift response of Princeton’s Edward Tian and his GPT Zero antidote to those attempting to pass off AI-generated works as their own. An example of the check and balance required. We also need to engage our own “deep thoughts” on how we should harness innovations for good, not quick wins and fraud.

Now is not a time to be complacent, we are amid a new wave of technological innovation and for me, it’s not one we can permit creators the opportunity to dictate the landscape of our future.

Before anyone cries “dinosaur” I’m not advocating shutting down progress and innovation. I am however suggesting that we need a practical, philosophical, and reasoned discussion as to how we respond and manage AI technology ethically.

The internet and digital technologies have revolutionised our lives, mostly for the better but we’re still unclear as to the psychological impact of having lives dictated by handheld devices, items we previously only used to make phone calls. We can ill afford to be glued to screens when the world around us is changing in such a fundamental way.

As parents, employers, and business owners, we had to learn “on the job” the dangers of social media and sharing of personal data online. Now, 30 years after the launch of t’internet we’re starting to grapple with the “free reign” the tech giants have enjoyed. GDPR, EU and Californian data laws with their threats of massive fines have finally caught the attention of the data superpowers.

We’ve only ourselves to blame, collectively we have been asleep at the wheel as far as digital data is concerned. That complacency should provide a salutary lesson for future innovations such as AI and Chat GPT that might not fit our existing legislative frameworks.

I’m not suggesting that Skynet’s rise is imminent but before we turn to Arnie on a Harley it would be worth taking a breath to consider how we use such advances for the greater good and protect ourselves from malicious uses of AI.

A genuine article written by a human

(is this how we’ll need to sign off from now on?)

David Laud

A.I. Up! Time for Actual Intelligence
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