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The Future of AI - a SXSW 2023 Experience
By Nickie Jedlo
March 27, 2023

During SXSW 2023, I was inspired by talks on ChatGPT and, specifically, the future of AI. 

In 2015, OpenAI Cofounder, Greg Brockman had dinner with Elon Musk, Sam Altman, and Ilya Sutskever.  AI was usable then, but Brockman wondered how it could become more usable. He asked the dinner party a question: "Is it too late to start a lab for this?”  He knew making a machine that could support us and solve problems would be  transformational. Now, ChatGPT is accessible through a simple interface and is free to anyone. Incredibly, ChatGPT is the only platform that has reached 100 MM users within 2 months.

Disruptive use Cases for AI 

Brockman believes AI should be an endeavor of humanity that builds incremental value. Brockman states, “Technology in search of a problem doesn’t work. Every business is a language flow and adding value to that is what’s exciting.” Some of the disruptive use cases for ChatGPT, in Brockman's mind, are helping low income abuse survivors in court. For instance, ChatGPT could write legal documents one would normally need to pay a lawyer for, helping those in need. It can also assist with medicine, though they are being very careful around that topic. Brockman shared a personal use case: when his wife had a mysterious ailment, four different doctors couldn't diagnose it. However, when he typed a description of the ailment into ChatGPT, it knew what it was immediately. In the future, Brockman even envisions ChatGPT being used for interactive experiences in entertainment.

When it comes to the future of work, Brockman believes ChatGPT has the potential to amplify what humans can do. It can act as an assistant 24/7, helping with writing, coding, and business tasks. Jobs that involve cognitive labor will become more efficient, because AI can read through thousands of words of content in a matter of seconds. Content moderator jobs might be the most at risk, but the need for prompt writers is already increasing. Brockman also believes the future is a place where humans will be able to focus on more ambitious tasks.

In Pursuit of Ethical AI

There are ethical considerations to be made with ChatGPT. OpenAI is constantly analyzing what it’s being used for, and if people are using it for good or bad. For individuals, the problem could be overreliance, especially when ChatGPT’s results are wrong. AI can be used to create spam and misinformation. Open AI also weren’t fast enough to address biases in ChatGPT and people were right to criticize it. 

Kevin Kelly, Sr Maverick at Wired, explained in his session that AI is as imperfect as all humans. They can be racist, sexist, and mean. Programming ethical guidance into AI models is being worked on; however, as they are being programmed, it’s clear there’s not a cohesive standard for what ‘ethical’ looks like. It’s believed that the process of creating an ethical AI will cause an identity crisis. Who are we? Who decides what we should aspire to through AI? I think the purpose of this process is to help us become better humans. 

You May Enjoy:

SXSW Session Greg Brockman & Laurie Segall- Open AI Co-founder on ChatGPT, DallE, and the Impact of Generative AI

SXSW Speaker Kevin Kelly- The Universal Intern and Partner: How Generative AI is Changing How we Work