The AI Genie Is Out of the Bottle: Now What?

June 08, 2023


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The AI Genie Is Out of the Bottle: Now What?

AI or artificial intelligence and machine learning, are making headlines. One example of AI is a free software program you can download to your computer called ChatGPT. Five days after it was introduced to the public, it was being used by one million people per day. Now hundreds of millions of people are using it each day. It’s used to write emails, short stories, academic papers, as well as create art and music. It even passed the bar exam! Each day it’s used by more and more people which means each day brings new and incremental advances and risks in every area of our life. Not just language and writing, but medicine, science, manufacturing, finance and more.

What AI/machine learning does in my simple amateur understanding is to take data, not just numbers or numeric data, but voice and video data – and boy do we have tons of data – analyzes the data for patterns. Pattern recognition can lead to predetermined probabilities which can create efficiencies and suggest improvements which build upon each new efficiency and improvement.

Nvidia, a company that makes computer chips which help run AI technology, announced its earnings two weeks ago and the stock price rose 24% in one day. This means the company is now worth a trillion dollars, which makes it more valuable than all but five publicly traded companies. This is a company that didn’t exist before 1993.

I’m not a modern-day Paul Revere virtually shouting “the robots are coming, the robots are coming!” I am saying the robots are already here. In manufacturing, Amazon robots have been picking up items and putting them in shipping boxes since 2015. Auto makers have been using robots for years in car production. In a blog I wrote back in July 2017 and on our website entitled Technological Advances That Could Change ourLives,July 2017 Newsletter I described a division of Google called Waymo which has been developing self-driving cars and trucks. Driverless /Robot taxis are currently being used in Phoenix and San Francisco. Austin and Los Angeles are next. Stay tuned as they are coming to a city near you.

AI is helping doctors make better diagnoses by analyzing x-rays, MRI’s, and CT Scans. I did say helping doctors, not replacing doctors or human radiologists. It’s doing the same for pathologists too. If AI helps to recognize cancer sooner, think of the thousands/millions of humans that will benefit.

AI and machine learning will truly be revolutionary. However, not all aspects of revolutions are good. Revolutions by definition cause change and disruption. The industrial revolution displaced many people, many jobs were initially lost. In 1860, two-thirds of all US workers were employed in agriculture. Today that figure is 9%. That’s revolutionary, right?! All those jobs gone, right? This certainly sounds so much worse than the 25% unemployment rate during the Great Depression. Well, we now know that the Industrial Revolution created many more jobs than it destroyed. I suspect the AI revolution will do the same. Of course, there will be winners and losers. We need to be cautious but I don’t think we need to act like Luddites, a term for people resistant to technology. The original Luddites were members of the 19th century group known for sabotaging English textile mills as those mills transitioned production from skilled labor to machine looms during the beginning of the industrial revolution.

While we can’t put the AI genie back in the bottle, we do need to be mindful in its use and development. I believe many medical and technological advances often outpace our ethics. Ethical concerns surrounding AI must be debated now. Surveys by Goldman Sachs and the Pew Research Center show 37% of US adults are more concerned than excited about the increased use of AI. An additional 45% said they are equally concerned and excited.

AI must never be left to grow untethered to human beings. We humans must manage AI in ethically responsible ways. We have laws that govern human behavior and protect us from bad human beings. We must develop laws that protect us from bad bots! And there are bad bots out there.

According to Impervia, a company that provides cyber security and data protection, humans account for just 52.6% of all internet traffic. That means 47.4% of all internet traffic is conducted by bots or software applications that run automated services and searches. You might have interacted with them as a customer service chat bot on your computer. They are also on social media sites. They can scrape data, and some are used for criminal activities such as attacking company servers, selling people’s private data and taking over financial accounts.

Did you get shut out of buying Taylor Swift or Beyonce concert tickets? Blame the bots that are programmed to buy up those tickets for later scalping.

AI does give scammers a new set of tools. If it can replicate my son’s voice from an audio sample, it could make a fake phone call to his grandmother’s cell phone asking her for money. And of course, pleading with her not to tell anyone.

Some 350 tech executives and AI scientists, including Sam Altman, the CEO on ChatGPT signed a statement released by the Center for AI Safety saying that the technology poses an extinction risk as great as pandemics and nuclear war.  The Biden administration has said AI poses threats to public safety, privacy, and democracy but it has limited authority to regulate it.

This discussion is just beginning and certainly needs to continue. We at New England Capital will be watching the developments very closely and will continue to keep you informed.

So many financial reports, documents and articles have lengthy disclosures at the end. I thought I’d end this blog with my own disclosure: I, Chris Beale, researched and wrote this blog without the use of any AI tools. I may not be able to say that for future blogs. . .

As always if you have any questions or concerns, give us a call at New England Capital and talk to a real person.


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