AI is our Destiny. But where does our Industry stand?
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I believe that, before we delve into the potential applications of generative AI in our industry, we should take a step back and consider the bigger picture by defining artificial intelligence.
It can be a complex task, as experts often have different interpretations. In a nutshell, AI involves machines replicating cognitive functions that were once considered unique to humans, animals, and even plants. While the question of whether machines can truly think remains a topic of debate among philosophers, linguists, and entrepreneurs, the field has seen rapid advancements that hold great promise.
The term "artificial intelligence" emerged in 1956, but the cultural origins of AI can be traced back to the Aristotelian syllogism, which laid the groundwork for machines capable of logical operations. However, it was only in the 1990s that AI experienced exponential growth. In 1997, IBM's Deep(er) Blue defeated world chess champion Garry Kasparov, marking a significant milestone for AI and chess enthusiasts. More recently, Google's AI system triumphed over the extremely complex game of GO. IBM's Watson won two episodes of Jeopardy!, claiming a million-dollar prize donated to charity, etc.
The applications of AI extend far and wide and go beyond games, reaching sectors such as the military, security, self-driving cars, and even the stock market. The versatility of AI knows no bounds, finding applications in diverse fields like healthcare, finance, transportation, and, of course, video games. This expanded scope is largely due to the scalability of cloud computing, the explosion of Big Data, advancements in machine learning and neural networks, improved global internet coverage, and overall technological progress.
Despite AI's significant role in our lives, concerns persist within the scientific community regarding its inherent risks. Eminent theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, for example, has issued grave warnings, suggesting that AI could potentially lead to the demise of humanity. Other influential figures, such as Swedish philosopher Nick Bostrom and visionary entrepreneur Elon Musk, share these apprehensions, emphasizing the need for careful consideration and ethical development of AI technologies. On the other hand, machines, free from the prejudices and biases ingrained in humans, have the potential to make fairer and more impartial decisions, and it may become desirable for humans to step back from certain judgment domains. Estonia, for example, has recently embarked on an experiment employing robot judges to resolve minor civil disputes, effectively addressing a significant backlog. However, this vision of utopia can quickly transform into a dystopia.
ChatGPT has played a significant role in bringing AI to the attention of the masses. We could say that, just as the web became synonymous with the Internet, ChatGPT is now synonymous with AI. While discussions about the Internet began in the 1970s, its accessibility was initially limited to the military and academic circles, and it truly took off in 1993 with the introduction of Mosaic. ChatGPT, developed by OpenAI, made its debut in November 2022, propelling OpenAI's valuation to approximately US$29 billion. ChatGPT is a versatile chatbot capable of performing various tasks such as coding, composing music and essays, answering test questions, translating text, and simulating chat rooms and games. Additionally, OpenAI has recently introduced plugins to further expand its capabilities, including web browsing, code interpretation, and external plugins developed by companies like Expedia, OpenTable, Zapier, Shopify, Slack, and Wolfram.
Opinions about ChatGPT have been mixed, to say the least. OpenAI CEO Sam Altman has expressed both optimism about AI's benefits and concerns about its dangers. In one of his podcast episodes, Joe Rogan likened ChatGPT to revolutionary inventions like Gutenberg's printing press, recognizing its profound impact. Whether viewed as good or bad, ChatGPT's cultural impact is undeniable. Competitors have emerged in response to its success. For example, Google introduced the experimental service Bard, based on its LaMDA large language model, and Meta released LLaMA for research community use. Other companies, including Baidu, Naver, and Yandex, have also announced plans to launch their own ChatGPT-style services. In an effort to promote transparency and inclusivity, Hugging Face has launched HuggingChat as an open-source alternative.
Whether we envision a utopian or dystopian future, it seems that AI is our destiny. So, before we dive into the details, the main question we should ask ourselves is: where does our industry stand? Who do we want to be in this AI-driven landscape? Will we be the innovators, the early adopters, the early majority, the late majority, or the laggards?
Ultimately, the decision lies in our hands. By understanding the broader context of artificial intelligence, the advancements made, and the concerns raised, we can make informed choices that align with our goals and values. Embracing AI responsibly and ethically, while staying attuned to the potential risks and benefits, will be crucial as we navigate the future of our industry.