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Friday, May 24, 2024

AI went to Washington and here’s what you need to know about this mind-blowing technology

On Tuesday, May 16, Mr. Altman went to Washington. And today, the world feels a little scarier. 

There’s so much movement, so much talk, and so much concern around the rapid surge of Artificial Intelligence (AI) into every area of our lives. There’s rarely a day when we don’t hear some new report about the groundbreaking impact – and potential danger – of this technology. Large learning models like ChatGPT have caught the world by surprise based on the speed of their learning and what they are now able to do.  

So, it was only a matter of time before the government stepped in. Anything moving this fast, with this much of an impact on society, will inevitably face questions around risk and regulation. That’s why this week, Sam Altman, the CEO of ChatGPT, went to Washington, to testify at a hearing about congressional oversight and regulation of generative AI. 

‘IT’S ALL GONNA TAKE OVER’: AMERICANS REVEAL FEARS OF AI IMPACTING EVERY DAY LIFE

OpenAI's ChatGPT chatbot co-wrote an episode of the TV show South Park in March 2023.

ChatGPT co-wrote an episode of the TV comedy series South Park in March 2023. (Marco Bertorello/AFP via Getty Images)

But in the heat of the moment, amid the concern and fear, let’s not lose sight of the exciting potential for AI. Whether you love it, loathe it, are excited by it, or afraid of it, AI is here to stay. And it’s already touching your life in one way or another. 

In the wake of Altman’s visit to Capitol Hill, it’s a good moment to rethink and possibly reframe some perceptions and positions around AI, without arguing that it needs regulation. Here are four quick things to consider, or potential ways to reframe the debate about this mind-blowing technology: 

  • AI: a danger or a welcome innovation? Throughout history, every century has a revolution that spurs us forward. The printing press. Manufacturing. The internet. Now there’s AI. We can frame it as a threat to free speech or humanity in general. Or we can embrace it as an amazing new frontier and do what America does best: lead the world in innovation.
  • Is it coming after us or making life easier for us? There’s no doubt that generative AI will impact the labor market significantly. According to Goldman Sachs economists, “the labor market could face significant disruption” with as many as 300 million full-time jobs around the world potentially automated in some way by the newest wave of AI like ChatGPT.

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  • Finally, don’t be dismissive of the technology: Remember that we are basically still at version 1.0 of AI, hard as that is to believe. As with so many emerging technologies and breakthroughs, there are many weaknesses that exist today that will not exist tomorrow. We can focus on those current flaws, or we can frame the technology as an astonishing work in progress, something that’s here to stay, and will keep getting better, fast.

In our own firm, we’re exploring ways to use generative AI to support and enhance our work. And we’re already seeing great potential for it to improve our productivity. Instead of being afraid of it, we need to embrace it. And our language should reflect that shift in mindset. 

Lee Carter is the president and partner of maslansky + partners, a language strategy firm based on the idea that “it’s not what you say, it’s what they hear” and author of “Persuasion: Convincing Others When Facts Don’t Seem to Matter.” Follow her on Twitter on @lh_carter

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM LEE CARTER

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