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Artificial Intelligence

Staring into the crystal ball can be a dangerous past-time, although arguably, with some of the recent advancements, there are some safe bets which are clearly are here to stay. Dangerous or not, we thought we would share our top technology predictions for 2023 over a number of different articles. These technologies are advancing so quickly, strap in, we are in for some high speed change.

I am going to start in the same place that everyone else is starting this year; and that is with Artificial Intelligence, but more specifically the exciting glimpse into the future that ChatGPT has given us. For parents of teenage kids trying to invest in a quality education, it may be scary but for the rest of the world, who have been patiently waiting for the guest of honour to arrive at the biggest ball of the 21st century; the entourage has arrived. Stay tuned for the main event.

If you have not had a chance to experiment with ChatGPT, I suggest you do so soon. Not just because it is likely to become a paid service very soon but also because it allows you to understand the capability that exists, and start to imagine the role that this kind of technology can play within our technology stacks; and probably more importantly, within our customer value propositions. I spent some time seeing just how far I could push Cathy (anything this amazing must be assigned an identity). Could she write my son’s chemistry essay; yes, without even missing a beat. It was delivered within a couple of seconds, with nonchalance that seemed to ask – “Is that all you have?”. Next, I thought I would ask her to create me a database, and I continued to ask this of her, together with a detailed description of what I wanted. Once again, this was no problem and the code was produced with academic perfection, accompanied by instructions on how to run the code. All in a days (minutes) work. I thought I would then give her one last challenge, and this time it was a creative one. I wanted her to write me a script for a video advert and I proceeded to provide her with the ask. I was surprised by the fact that what I got back was not quite what I had imagined in my mind. I thought for a second that I had won my first battle over this giant of a lady but as I reflected, I realised I had been a poor project owner and had provided her only with vague requirements. For there to be any glory in the victory, I needed to provide a proper brief. I even asked her to add some humour to the script. The challenge was accepted and masterfully completed.

On more of a serious note, this is a big step forward in broad-basing the use of Artificial Intelligence, making it accessible to the public community. But I do think that there is still a lot of runway for this type of technology to mature. You can have a conversation or even a debate with her, all her arguments are right and always grounded in fact but what makes vigorous discussions interesting is people’s passion and emotion. It is debatable if AI will ever be able to emulate this. It is like telling a narcissist they need to care more about others. They will pretend to do it, and they will be good at pretending but intuitively we know that something is not quite right, we can sense it. Pretending to care and actually caring are worlds apart. This is what will continue to differentiate man and machine.

I have a son who is in Grade 10 and approaching the point in his life where he will need to decide what to study at university as a pre-cursor to choosing a career. As I guide him through this process, I will encourage him to ask of himself the traditional questions. Will I enjoy this? Are my grades good enough to be accepted? Will I be good at this? I will also encourage him to add one more questions to the list. Can ChatGPT do this? If the answer is yes, he should know and understand the implications. The weaknesses in Artificial Intelligence provide the opportunities for the next generation but they will need to choose wisely.

Overall ChatGPT deserves the attention it is getting; it is a masterful piece of software which is still in its infancy. Like a human being, as she grows up, she will continue to learn and correct the mistakes she makes. She can only get better from here, but continuing on the analogy of humans; as is true with all AI, the environment in which they are metaphorically raised, provides them with the value system that will carry them through life. For her family, no one says it better than spiderman – “With great power comes great responsibility”.

Penny Futter




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