Over the last few years, we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of brands and companies which are adopting artificial intelligence (AI). Now in 2023, it seems every brand is using AI to remain ahead of the curve and keep their apps and services evolving with the current rate of technological advancement. We have seen the rise of chatbots such as ChatGPT and image generators which have been sparking crazes online. However, the topic of artificial intelligence has always come with a surrounding debate on the role that AI is playing in our lives personally and across wider industries. In recent months, we have seen many of the top players in the world of AI step down from roles or speak out on how they think AI has gone too far.
So, what is artificial intelligence? Very simply AI is best understood as a machine learning technology where computer programs are given lots of data which the programme will look through for patterns in response to a set of requests or instructions. Sometimes the results aren’t exactly what was requested, and so with this feedback, the computer programme can learn from these responses to improve future requests. Therefore, AI can be given huge amounts of information and be trained to recognise patterns, which it can adopt into its system to make predictions, solve problems, and even learn from its own mistakes.
In theory, programmes such as these provide great excitement as many can respond almost as if they were human, with programs such as chatbots, or large language models (LLMs) to be exact, putting words and phrases together in learnt combinations to form intelligent responses to questions or requests. A popular example of this is the development of ChatGPT, which interacts with its users in a conversational way. The programme allows users to refine, and steer conversations towards desired lengths, formats, styles, levels of details and language used. ChatGPT saw great interest on apps such as TikTok where users were using the software to ask questions to the chatbot or get it to write funny stories for them using details input by the user. However, with the rise of the app allowing users to ask the technology to write at length for them, it was quickly used by students across the world to write homework or essays for them. Whilst the software is not perfect and results in essays being poorly researched and incorrectly referenced, it raised concerns over the use of it in education to plagiarise work.
The possible dangers of AI don’t stop there, as even the UK’s government has established a task force to help build the next generation of safe AI. The software and programs come with concerns over privacy, transparency, discrimination, and job displacement. It is feared that as the data or source material behind these AI models is being taken from somewhere, often from online data, it can result in biases and discrimination being present in the responses which obviously leads to inaccurate and offensive responses.
A big concern is the role that AI will play in the job market if these technologies begin taking over the jobs of humans, and whether it results in a society where human responses can be replaced entirely with AI-generated ones. A key concern is in the arts industries, where AI picture generation models are using images found online and adapting them with other images to produce new pieces of art. However, this has led to people searching artists’ names in the AI system to produce artwork which is in a similar style. Many artists have noticed how these AI models have made works so similar to their style that some artists have joint lawsuits against AI imagery generators such as Midjourney over copyright claims. If the same is to take over in script writing, who’s to say that the entire arts sector can’t be overrun with AI technology making the necessity for the artist, writer or creative’s input no longer needed? However, this does seem to be a push – while AI is impressive, it is not without its faults and so the need for the arts sector I believe is well and truly safe.
While AI has become ever present in our daily lives from chatbots, personalised Spotify playlists, Snapchat and maybe a little helping hand whilst writing essays, its role has not yet become so significant that it looks like the AI vs. Human war is going to begin anytime soon. Whilst the speed and breadth of knowledge with which AI can learn compared to a human is remarkable, and will aid in the efficiency of our daily lives and the future of many industries, AI does not seem to have captured the nuance and emotionality of the human experience – and for that reason, AI remains a remarkable and intricate tool, but not one set on destroying all of humankind…well not yet anyway.