The promise and risks of AI dazzle and concern at Davos technology

The astonishing development of Generative Artificial Intelligence is a transformative force of significance and risks impossible to measure, but it shows signs of becoming one of the most revolutionary leaps humanity has ever made. Despite terrible wars demanding attention, political, business and opinion leaders have paid attention…

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The astonishing development of Generative Artificial Intelligence is a transformative force of significance and risks impossible to measure, but it shows signs of becoming one of the most revolutionary leaps humanity has ever made. Despite the terrible wars that demand attention, political, business and opinion leaders addressed the issue at the Davos Forum, including its economic dimensions (with increased productivity and effects on the labor market), regulatory (about how Have paid a lot of attention to what to do). emphasizing security or innovation), geopolitics (as one of the decisive elements in defining the balance of power) and scientific (with the opening of borders that were previously unimaginable). An area full of uncertainty and dilemmas, in which the only certainty is a level of transcendent importance, made explicit in speeches, panels, hallways, and private meetings.

Uncertainty about which way this technological revolution will go is huge, and Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, the company that created ChatGPT, himself predicted this in a public session. “This technology is very powerful and we can’t say for sure what will happen. This happens with all great technological revolutions, but especially with this revolution it is easy to imagine how big an impact it would have on the world and how much could go wrong. We are moving in a technological direction that we believe is safe, but I am sympathetic to the concerns,” said Altman, a reference in the field. Altman warned that “tensions will increase as we get closer to AGI, artificial general intelligence, which is not only capable of performing specific tasks like language models, but that can learn any intellectual task.

Given this scenario, the regulatory debate is one of the most delicate. At the same Altman panel, Jeremy Hunt, British Chancellor of the Exchequer, was in favor of “light touch” regulation, thus placing himself at the pole of those who believe that regulatory frameworks are areas with enormous potential to improve productivity. Stifle innovation. And enable decisive possibilities even on the scale of geopolitical competition.

AI is undoubtedly a central element in defining the forces of the future. The European concern about being left behind in this revolution has come to the fore in the Davos work. The EU is a regulatory pioneer, but it is not at the forefront of leading companies in this area.

The balance of forces that define AI is measured in terms of business economic benefits, but also in its ability to ensure the least disruptive potential change to the labor market. An IMF report published on the eve of the Forum’s launch indicated that up to 60% of jobs in advanced economies could be affected by the emergence of AI, half of which would be negatively impacted.

Many jobs will be lost. Others will appear, but not necessarily at the same time, and certainly not necessarily to the same people and in the same places. Mitigating the harmful effects of revolution would be one measure of the cohesion and stability of future societies.

The promise of scientific advancements underpinning the AI ​​revolution is also huge. Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla made this clear in Davos. “This revolution is changing the biological field,” he explained. “We use AI very intensively. With this we get better and faster results. Previously, the drug discovery process typically took four years. We will synthesize millions of molecules. Now, with AI, we have moved towards drug design. We create about 600 molecules, selected with tremendous computational power, and those most likely to work. The process of years has now turned into months. “This is something that saves lives,” he said.

On the side of concerns, without reaching the apocalyptic vision of computer systems of superhuman intelligence taking control, there are much closer and more real risks. One of them is the possibility that this technology will lead to an increase in disinformation activities, for example in electoral processes.

According to a report published by the World Economic Forum on the eve of the Davos meeting, disinformation and the threat it poses to democracies have emerged as one of the two biggest threats facing the world. Generative AI can cause harm in two ways: one quantitative, allowing mass creation of content without a human being; Another qualitative, with fakes of such extraordinary quality that the capacity for persuasion is complete. In discussions on the forum, for example, concern about the video version of this risk has become clear.

According to the newspaper, this fear is in sufficient quantity financial Times A week ago, US experts – including experts on open AI – and China held two secret meetings to address the risks of disinformation and the threat to social cohesion.

If one considers that the United States and China are constantly competing in technological matters and especially AI, which is a source of serious friction between them, then this news becomes exceptionally disturbing. Washington is maneuvering to restrict exports of the advanced microchips that are needed to move forward on that path, and for which China does not have the autonomous capacity to produce. Washington alleges it is justified in preventing Beijing from using Western technology to promote military and security programs with very dubious motives.

In Davos, Chinese Prime Minister Li Qiang railed against these maneuvers, trying to draw a connection between them and the United States’ attempts to maintain a privileged position and complicate emerging countries’ access to key technologies. Made a general effort. US national security adviser Jake Sullivan responded that this is not a general blockade, but only a specific measure.

That the contact as described has taken place amidst the tension between the two powers foot He is very eloquent.

Another issue that emerged at Davos is the challenge of the impressive levels of energy consumption that new computing systems require. An estimate published last year calculated that by 2027 AI servers could consume as much energy annually as countries like Argentina or the Netherlands do in a year. This increases demand and leads to more CO2 emissions in countries where the level of green energy production is not good.

The AI ​​revolution will touch almost all aspects of life, possibly including, as historian Niall Ferguson pointed out in a recent interview with this newspaper, our cognitive abilities, which may be affected by the machine’s continued search for solutions in the future. Of my own thoughts.

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(TagstoTranslate)Technology(T)Davos(T)Artificial Intelligence(T)Sam Altman(T)ChatGPT

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