If you haven’t heard about ChatGPT in the last few months, you must be taking a break from the media. ChatGPT has already changed the world and it hasn’t even been six months since its launch. This artificial intelligence can automate the ordinary tasks, leaving human employees for the more complex work. But it also comes with a host of ethical questions about how it can be used. So, what can ChatGPT do? Just type in a question and ChatGPT will automatically create a response: whether email, a law brief, an essay, or a long list of other written projects. This sounds like a positive, to be able to automate tedious tasks or to churn out reports more quickly. But ChatGPT is rife with moral, ethical, and economic questions that are puzzling experts and citizens alike.
A Positive at First Glance
OpenAI, an AI research lab based in San Francisco, created ChatGPT. What started as a non-profit meant for collaboration with researchers and other institutions, has grown into something much larger than itself. Originally funded by entrepreneurs like Elon Musk and Peter Thiel, Open AI became a for-profit company in 2019, currently led by CEO Sam Altman. Powered by Nvidia’s GPUs, it runs on Microsoft’s Azure system infrastructure. Launched in November of 2022, ChatGPT is a more improved version of GPT-3, which was launched on March 15, 2022. Prior to that, the forefathers of GPT-3 did not get much exposure.
ChatGPT, which stands for Chat Generative Pre-Trained Transformer, is a natural language AI chatbot. Rather than a simple voice assistant such as Siri, it was created on an LLM (Large Language Model.) Therefore, the network trains on a myriad of web content including news articles, books, websites, and social media. What makes ChatGPT different is that it also trains with humans.
Launched in November 2022, ChatGPT’s following grew to over 100 million users by January 2023, which qualifies it as the most quickly-adopted tech software ever made. From lawyers writing briefs, to teachers creating lesson plans, to business associates creating emails, the ramifications of using ChatGPT have already made a profound impact on the working world.
Too Much of a Good Thing?
Not everyone is so fond of the new technology. Because ChatGPT is so interactively human, there are many concerns. The worry is so large that thousands of tech leaders and prominent public figures have signed a petitionthat asks developers to slow down in their development. Italy has already banned the use of ChatGPT, due to privacy issues and complaints from the FTC.
There is a moral component to the worry, that the machines might eventually take over. And with ChatGPT pulling from a wide variety of sources, whose agenda is at play? Already, AI chatbots are mimicking real people, and the line between reality and virtual reality is becoming blurred.
New York Magazine says, “AI chatbots and voice imitators are already realistic enough to convince impressionable old folks that they’re speaking with their kidnapped grandkids. AI-generated “deep-fake” videos are already being used in Chinese state propaganda. And these models are getting better at breakneck speed. Investment is pouring into AI, and firms the world over are racing with each other for shares of a vast pool of capital.”
Goldman Sachs economists worry that ChatGPT is capable of taking as many as 300 million full-time jobs around the world. This amounts to 18% of work globally, focused mostly on white-collar jobs in advanced economies. Currently in the United States and Europe, approximately two-thirds of current jobs “are exposed to some degree of AI automation,” and up to a quarter of all work could be done by AI completely, the bank estimates. The labor market could face serious disruptions if things continue in this direction.
The Future is Questionable
Although some tech leaders are worried about the ramifications of ChatGPT, others see it as the natural order of things. Tech executive and author Justin Bean said, “If the first industrial revolution decoupled physical work from the muscle of human beings and animals, this AI-driven industrial revolution will decouple cognitive work from the brains of human beings, allowing us to have a machine handle this work for us, and nearly free, yet again making us vastly more productive and efficient at what we do.”
ChatGPT-4 is already in the works, and will affect the situation even more. New York Magazine reports that “Start-ups are using GPT-4 to, among other things, instantly draft lawsuits against tele-scammers, teach foreign languages, and describe the world for blind people. Meanwhile, computer programmers are using the model to automate the more menial and time-intensive parts of their jobs, enabling them to churn out simple apps and video games in an hour or less.”
Part of the problem also stems from the fact that people don’t fully understand what a good and appropriate use of ChatGPT would be, and people are already using this in a long list of inappropriate ways. “For example, Vanderbilt University’s Peabody School was recently under fire for generating an email about a mass shooting and the importance of community. In addition, JPMorgan Chase is restricting the use of the AI chatbot for workers, especially for generating emails.” One of the biggest controversies to date is that of ChatGPT passing the Wharton MBA exam. According to the school, the computer provided “excellent” answers.
ChatGPT will be integrated into a wide variety of other applications, and Microsoft reportedly made a multibillion-dollar investment in ChatGPT, which is already starting to pay off. Teams Premium is involved, and Microsoft 365 Copilot integrates ChatGPT natural language prompts into Office apps like PowerPoint, Outlook, and more.
It is clear that ChatGPT is here to stay, but experts and citizens alike need to tread carefully in this brave new world. The ramifications of artificial intelligence at work are far-reaching and of great ethical consideration. The stakes are high, and experts know that now is the time to consider the ramifications of letting computers do too much. Losing millions of jobs to ChatGPT is a huge hit. But many people worry that we could also lose our souls along the way.
I like to spend my time giving back with organizations that focus on mentoring aspiring entrepreneurs. I have supported after school programs that focus on entrepreneurial and global initiatives in local primary schools. I recently extended my mentoring to include students at Case Western Reserve University.