Is the future of AI already written?
8 min read | Tim Olsen | Article | Job searching Market trends
The artificial intelligence programme, ChatGPT, has many considering what the future of their job – or their business – might look like.
The highly sophisticated chatbot was released in late 2022 by OpenAI, the intelligence research firm whose founders include Elon Musk. More than a million users signed up to ChatGPT within its first week of launching, and Microsoft recently invested $1bn (£808m) behind the project’s owners. But what separates ChatGPT from other AI models, and why has it caused such a seismic shift in the tech sphere and beyond?
The short answer: finetuned training and huge amounts of data. ChatGPT is a natural language processing (NLP) system that uses a form of artificial intelligence called a generative pre-trained transformer (GPT) to generate conversations with users. This chatbot is considered far more advanced than previous iterations because of its use of NLP rather than rules-based answers. Some experts have compared ChatGPT to predictive texting, but on a vastly more complex scale.
What is generative AI capable of?
Within moments of typing in a question, ChatGPT can give a comprehensive and humanlike response. So far, the technology’s use cases have commonly been grounded in the context of research and essay writing, with users exclaiming the AI-powered tool’s ability to write content capable of passing law school exams, or offering convincing responses to job applications. Predictably, the technology has been tested in other imaginative ways: from writing poems about Disney movies in Latin, to explaining Karl Marx’s theory of surplus in the style of Taylor Swift – often with unnerving ease.
However, generative AI has the scope to go far beyond fast academia or amusing verbiage –
it has the power to act as a catalyst for productivity, saving time on repetitive tasks and allowing people to explore unfamiliar areas of expertise. For example, ChatGPT’s ability to auto generate code not only augments the skills of professional developers, but essentially democratises software development for the masses, allowing even non-technical users to become involved in the coding process. It’s this accessibility that may prove to be one of ChatGPT’s most impressive feats; never before has the public had access to AI tech with such far-reaching capabilities.
What concerns does the technology give rise to?
As with all technological leaps, ChatGPT is not without its red flags. Not least of these are the ethical and intellectual property ramifications, which will only become clearer as time passes. The potential for the technology to undermine people’s livelihoods has also caused concern – not merely threatening job security, but even a wider sense of purpose. If AI can create art, oversee the law, or diagnose medical conditions, where does that leave us? Existential questions such as this are nothing new, but the emergence of more advanced AI models has brought them into sharp focus.
Perhaps a more pressing issue, however, is ChatGPT’s ability to serve up incorrect information with absolute confidence – OpenAI itself cautions that “ChatGPT sometimes writes plausible-sounding but incorrect or nonsensical answers". Additionally, the tool has only been trained on data up until the end of 2021, so has no knowledge of events that happened in 2022/23. And while guardrails have been put in place to prevent the technology from developing bias or leaning towards contentious topics, the vast amount of data it draws from leaves many uneasy.
Both organisations and professionals looking to implement ChatGPT, or any AI model, need to consider the inherent risks involved. However, the task of identifying those risks goes beyond just the IT team. It needs to involve legal, security, analytics and even manager involvement across the entire business – potentially opening up a range of new responsibilities.
Can people and AI work in harmony?
So, will AI be taking over our jobs? For now, it would appear not. There’s still a human element required to properly leverage and govern tools like ChatGPT, and the technology hasn’t yet reached maturity. However, at a time when staff shortages are still being acutely felt across many industries, the ability to amplify productivity at little-to-no cost is hard to ignore.
Many professionals and creatives alike are already using ChatGPT as the starting point for their work, such as writing SEO-geared emails subject lines, generating tailored workout plans, or debugging code during software development. While for others, the technology’s limitations pose an opportunity. Some predict a sudden deluge of poorly written articles, which offers brands and skilled writers the chance to stand out and gain trust.
Rather than taking jobs, it may be the case that those who use – or at least have an awareness of – ChatGPT and other comparable AI tools, will simply have an advantage over those who don’t.
What’s the next chapter for ChatGPT and generative AI?
As expansive as ChatGPT’s functionality already is, it’s only the beginning. The chatbot’s current platform, GPT-3.5, relies on 175 billion machine learning parameters. OpenAI plan to launch GPT-4 in the next few months, which is expected to have a staggering 100 trillion parameters – a quantum leap ahead of the current computing capability. While we can’t be certain the impact this will have (size isn’t everything when it comes to AI), we can reasonably expect a comprehensiveness never publicly witnessed before.
It's impossible for leading tech organisations to ignore ChatGPT now it’s out in the wild, and with Microsoft planning to embed ChatGPT into its Bing search engine, Google has been forced to make a move. The tech giant is developing ‘Sparrow’ – their own generative AI model – in order to compete. The race is afoot.
With the accelerated maturity of AI technologies, ChatGPT can be seen as a gateway development, taking us out of AI obscurity and into a phase where the tech becomes widely available and accessible by the general public. The result? A huge surge of interest and investment that only pushes the bounds further.
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Making Intelligent Automation scale, consultant, futurist, influencer and speaker, Emposo