What are we going to do about AI and what’s it going to do about us?

What are we going to do about AI?  It’s all over the press and I wouldn’t be surprised if ChatGPT is named the New York Times person of the year. ChatGPT, however, is far more modest. When asked to predict who might be named, it doesn’t speculate much, and instead reminds me of Capt. Kirk asking Dr. Spok a cheeky question about kissing Lt. Uhura: 

As an AI language model, I don’t have the ability to predict or determine who will be named the New York Times Person of the Year for 2023 or any other year. The selection process for the Person of the Year is conducted by the editorial staff of the New York Times, and it typically recognizes individuals or groups who have had a significant impact, influence, or prominence during the year.

While AI and technology have the potential to shape and influence society in various ways, it is difficult to speculate on the specific likelihood of ChatGPT being chosen as the New York Times Person of the Year. Factors such as societal impact, cultural relevance, and the achievements of individuals or groups involved in AI development and application would likely be considered in the selection process. Ultimately, it would be up to the New York Times to decide who they believe deserves the title for that particular year.” 

Despite me trying to ignore AI and thinking that it was all just a bit of a new name for regression analysis, I have been quite shocked at how clever the generative results appear to be. So in Q2, after finally accepting we might be part of the ‘99% of people who are using ChatGPT all wrong’, we decided to ask a number of members of the Bestem Network to consider what the implications of AI could be and what the heck we can do to prepare.  The conclusion was that we should consider five areas in the immediate future: 

  • The impact of AI on industries and their workers; 
  • The interplay between climate change and AI; 
  • The implications for cybersecurity as AI becomes more important;  
  • AI and the battle for truth; and 
  • The impact of AI on wider society. 

Over the next few weeks we will publish four posts summarising our findings. Without spoiling the surprise, whilst humanity has faced plenty of disruptive phase shifts in the past, from ice ages to plagues and empires collapsing, it looks increasingly like this one could determine our long-term future. And to make it work, we’re also going to need to invent a whole new level of international collaboration, one that makes our existing nuclear proliferation treaties look amateur. 

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