As AI continues to advance and its potential risks are highlighted by prominent figures in the field, businesses are actively seeking ways to leverage the technology for their benefit.
Geoffrey Hinton, a former Google employee and a prominent figure in the field of AI, has raised concerns that AI chatbots could surpass human intelligence in the near future. This has led many business executives to prioritize the deployment of ChatGPT-style technology throughout their organizations, making it a prominent topic of discussion in board meetings.
“Recently, I witnessed the CEO of a major consumer-oriented company in the UK utilize ChatGPT for an intriguing task. He inputted the transcript of a customer complaint call into his computer and requested ChatGPT to summarize it. Additionally, he devised impromptu rules for ChatGPT to generate a response to the complaint.”
Within a minute, ChatGPT provided an impressively plausible response without requiring any coding. The outcome, reportedly around 85% accurate, fell slightly short of the performance of human call center agents. However, the cost of deploying ChatGPT was only a fraction of a percentage compared to employing staff. The positive aspect is the significant boost in productivity if the entire staff now concentrates on addressing the remaining 15% of cases that AI cannot handle. Moreover, there is potential for further reductions in staff, indicating the possibility of even greater cost savings.
AI Large Language Models continue to gain power and sophistication, rapidly approaching the level of intelligence exhibited by knowledgeable adults. The rate of progress is exceeding expectations and may soon enter an exponential growth phase. Given the swift pace of advancements and widespread adoption, there is a potential for an economic and employment upheaval to occur as early as this year.
Once AI surpasses the intellectual capacity of even the most brilliant individuals, we may enter a phase of “runaway capability” where AI advancements outpace human comprehension. This concept, known as the “singularity,” has been described by experts like Ray Kurzweil. It begs the question: are we currently witnessing the onset of this exponential transformation?
With smartphones providing instant access to a wide range of content through streaming services, our leisure time has become more enjoyable. However, the impact on our productivity during working hours is a different matter. As one policymaker aptly pointed out, while innovation has eliminated boredom as a human experience, it raises the question of whether it has truly made us more productive in our professional lives.
AI has the potential to revolutionize sectors of the economy that have traditionally resisted productivity enhancements due to their time-consuming and knowledge-intensive nature. These sectors, which were previously impervious to significant improvements, can undergo a transformation with the integration of AI technology.
One of the remarkable revelations has been the applicability of these technologies in commercial settings, extending beyond their traditional use in automating low-cognitive and repetitive tasks. The real surprise lies in their adaptability to highly creative and high-value work, which was previously considered less susceptible to competition. This unforeseen capability has challenged the notion of certain jobs being protected from automation and opened up new possibilities for leveraging technology in diverse domains.
Even Sam Altman, the founder of OpenAI and ChatGPT, has expressed astonishment at the current applications of AI. Notably, AI has demonstrated its potential in expediting the initial stages of the creative process, such as generating a “blank page” draft for writing copy, creating visuals, composing music, or coding programs. What used to take weeks of briefing and refining can now be accomplished within seconds, even with AI systems that are not yet as intelligent as adult humans. This presents a promising opportunity for many coutries, as the rapid deployment of this technology, outpacing the rest of the world, could potentially address the country’s longstanding productivity crisis.
The concerning aspect is the potential rapidity of AI’s advancement, which could outpace the ability of workers to adapt, leading to social and economic crises. Similar to the upheaval experienced in the coal mines during the 1980s, we may witness similar disruptions in call centers and creative studios in the 2020s. This has prompted some individuals in Silicon Valley, who were initially skeptical about the role of government, to suggest the necessity of a basic income provided by the state. Techno enthusiasts respond with the mantra that individuals won’t be replaced by AI, but rather by those who possess the knowledge and skills to effectively utilize AI. However, this challenges the conventional wisdom that everyone should learn how to code, as it may no longer be the most reliable career advice in the face of advancing AI technologies.