OpenAI’s artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot ChatGPT was unleashed onto an unsuspecting public exactly one yr ago.

It quickly became the fastest-growing app ever, within the hands of 100 million users by the tip of the second month. Today, it’s available to greater than a billion people via Microsoft’s Bing search, Skype and Snapchat – and OpenAI is predicted to gather more than US$1 billion in annual revenue.

We’ve never seen a technology roll out so quickly before. It took a few decade or so before most individuals began using the online. But this time the plumbing was already in place.

As a result, ChatGPT’s impact has gone way beyond writing poems about Carol’s retirement within the type of Shakespeare. It has given many individuals a taste of our AI-powered future. Here are five ways this technology has modified the world.

1. AI safety

ChatGPT forced governments all over the world to clever as much as the concept that AI poses significant challenges – not only economic challenges, but additionally societal and existential challenges.

United States President Joe Biden catapulted the US to the forefront of AI regulations with a presidential executive order that establishes recent standards for AI safety and security. It looks to enhance equity and civil rights, while also promoting innovation and competition, and American leadership in AI.

Soon after, the United Kingdom held the primary ever intergovernmental AI Safety Summit in Bletchley Park – the place where the pc was born in World War II to crack the German Enigma code.

And more recently, the European Union has gave the impression to be sacrificing its early lead in regulating AI, because it struggled to adapt its AI Act with potential threats posed by frontier models resembling ChatGPT.

Although Australia continues to languish towards the back of the pack when it comes to regulation and investment, nations all over the world are increasingly directing their money, time and a focus towards addressing this issue which, five years ago, didn’t cross most individuals’s minds.

2. Job security

Before ChatGPT, it was perhaps automobile staff and other blue collar staff who most feared the arrival of robots. ChatGPT and other generative AI tools have modified this conversation.

White collar staff resembling graphic designers and lawyers have now also began to worry for his or her jobs. One recent study of an internet job marketplace found earnings for writing and editing jobs have fallen greater than 10% since ChatGPT was launched. The gig economy is likely to be the canary on this coalmine.

There’s huge uncertainty whether more jobs get destroyed by AI than created. But one thing is now certain: AI might be hugely disruptive in how we work.

3. Death of the essay

The education sector reacted with some hostility to ChatGPT’s arrival, with many colleges and education authorities issuing immediate bans over its use. If ChatGPT can write essays, what’s going to occur to homework?

Of course, we don’t ask people to write down essays because there’s a shortage of them, and even because many roles require this. We ask them to write down essays since it demands research skills, improves communication skills, critical considering and domain knowledge. No matter what ChatGPT offers, these skills will still be needed, even when we spend less time developing them.

And it isn’t only school children cheating with AI. Earlier this yr, a US judge fined two lawyers and a law firm US$5,000 for a court filing written with ChatGPT that included made-up legal citations.

I imagine these are growing pains. Education is an area through which AI has much to supply. Large language models resembling ChatGPT can, for instance, be fine-tuned into excellent Socratic tutors. And intelligent tutoring systems will be infinitely patient when generating precisely targeted revision questions.

4. Copyright chaos

This one is personal. Authors all over the world were outraged to find that many large language models resembling ChatGPT were trained on a whole lot of 1000’s of books, downloaded from the online without their consent.

The reason AI models can converse fluently about all the things from AI to zoology is because they’re trained on books about all the things from AI to zoology. And the books about AI include my very own copyrighted books about AI.

The irony isn’t lost on me that an AI professor’s books about AI are controversially getting used to coach AI. Multiple class motion suits are actually in play within the US to find out if this can be a violation of copyright laws.

Users of ChatGPT have even identified examples where chatbots have generated entire chunks of text, verbatim, taken from copyrighted books.

5. Misinformation and disinformation

In the short term, one challenge which worries me most is using generative AI tools resembling ChatGPT to create misinformation and disinformation.

This concern goes beyond synthetic text, to deepfake audio and videos which can be indistinguishable from real ones. A bank has already been robbed using AI-generated cloned voices.

Elections also now appear threatened. Deepfakes played an unlucky role within the 2023 Slovak parliamentary election campaign. Two days prior to the election, a fake audio clip about electoral fraud that allegedly featured a widely known journalist from an independent news platform and the chairman of the Progressive Slovakia party reached 1000’s of social media users. Commentators have suggested such fake content could have a cloth impact on election outcomes.

According to The Economist, greater than 4 billion people might be asked to vote in various elections next yr. What happens in such elections once we mix the reach of social media to with the facility and persuasion of AI-generated fake content? Will it unleash a wave of misinformation and disinformation onto our already fragile democracies?

It’s hard to predict what’s going to unfold next yr. But if 2023 is anything to go by, I suggest we buckle up.

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