Padma Ravichander, CEO, Tecnotree
Just as the invention of the web browser or the mobile phone created a fundamental shift in the way we interact with the world around us, so will Artificial Intelligence (AI). Since the advent of ChatGPT in particular and its worldwide accessibility online, we are seeing leaps and bounds in how AI has started to revolutionise the way we experience day to day life – from healthcare to finance and working practice. Its use, especially in combination with machine learning, has created tremendous buzz everywhere, in all walks of life.
Although it’s clear to all that AI is a game changer, few agree on its future or exactly how it might change the world as we know it today. While some believe it will deliver Utopia, where everyone will have all the time and money needed, others believe the opposite and prophesise a robots takeover, and others maintain that technology could never be that powerful. Sam Altman, founder and CEO of Open AI – the company behind ChatGPT – has stated the technology could solve some of the most pressing problems facing us; increasing quality of life and finding better uses for human will and creativity. When asked if a machine could do everything a human brain could do, eventually driving the price of human labour to zero, Altman demurred that he could never imagine a world where the human brain is useless.
A Promethean Moment?
Whether or not Altman is proved correct, this could well be that Promethean moment in history, when new tools and ways of thinking represent a dramatic departure from what has existed before to transform a particular aspect of how we live and work. Applying artificial intelligence and machine learning to all facets of life will be truly transformational, changing everything we think, we know and everything we currently do and how we value it. AI platforms and applications using AI will steadily increase their capabilities towards general intelligence and deliver far more efficient and informed operations, ideas, discoveries, and insights that have never been attainable in any domain before. It will change the way we work, collaborate, compete, learn, govern, and even how we lie, cheat, commit crimes and fight and win wars.
Promethean moments happen once in 600 years. From the invention of the printing press to the scientific, agricultural, industrial and nuclear revolutions, all bringing us to the current era of personal computing and the internet – and now to this AI moment.
AI will bring about an age of acceleration, amplification, and democratisation, and it may well transform the meaning of wealth and money. Never have we been exposed to accessing more information with cheap tools through a technological advancement super-cycle, helping us accelerate our ability to digitise, process, learn, share, and act. And this will be available to all humans, and will pervade everything we live with, use and process every day – from our cars, phones, homes, machines and more.
Challenges to face
But the challenge with AI and the speed of change it is engendering is as powerful as the challenge we faced when we created nuclear energy – it could be used to power a whole country or destroy the planet. While nuclear energy was created by governments, with clear systems and rules and policies of control, AI is being built for profit and by private industry, meaning that it could be a tool or weapon, in every domain.
Already, AI advances have garnered considerable concern around potential use for malicious purposes, the way in which it could reinforce discrimination – only being as good as the information it is fed with – and its potential to render many jobs redundant. Unease around national and cyber security risks is also much discussed. We therefore require AI governance as a combined goal of business, government, society, educators, and moral philosophers. We need these diverse groups to come together to define the rules of engagement and usage, determine the best and worst of AI and build trust and transparency into AI-led decisions and conclusions. The goal of AI regulation should not be to stifle innovation or progress, but to provide a framework that promotes responsible and ethical AI development and use.
While there is a growing consensus that AI regulation is a necessity, there is still much debate about how to navigate the tricky path. Some contend that AI should be regulated as a separate category of technology, while others maintain that existing regulations can be adapted to AI-specific concerns. There is also discussion about the extent to which AI regulation should be mandatory or voluntary.
What is clear is that there is a growing recognition that AI regulation is essential to ensure that the technology evolves and can be harnessed for the advantage of society as a whole. As AI becomes steadily more intuitive and more integrated into our daily lives, the need for responsible and ethical AI development and use will only become more urgent. The buildout of effective AI regulation frameworks will be a fundamental step on the road towards this goal.