Don’t be sucked in by AI’s head-spinning hype cycles • TechCrunch

Last year was a roller coaster ride in the world of AI, and certainly many were stunned by the amount of advances and reversals, the constant hype, and the relentless fear. But let’s take a step back: AI is a powerful and promising new technology, but conversation isn’t always authentic and it generates more heat than light.

AI is interesting to everyone from PhDs to elementary school students for good reason. Not every new technology makes us question the fundamental nature of human intelligence and creativity, and allowing us to create countless species of laser-fighting dinosaurs.

This widespread appeal means that debate about what AI is, and what it is not, may or may not spread from trade conferences like NeurIPS to specialized publications like this one, to the front pages of news magazines about impulse purchases at the grocery store. The threat and/or promise of AI (in a general sense, lack of specificity is part of the problem) seems to have become a familiar topic overnight.

On the one hand, it has to be authentic for researchers and engineers, who have struggled for decades in relative obscurity about what they feel is an important technology to see it widely considered and commented upon. so widely. But just as the neuroscientist whose paper leads to a title like “Scientists have pinpointed the heart of love” or the physicist whose ironic name is “the magic particle” leads to a life of love. debating theology, certainly the job of a bouncer is also frustrating. hovering among the hoi polloi (i.e. unscrupulous scholars, not innocent laypeople) like a beach ball.

“AI can now…” is a very dangerous way to start any sentence (although I am sure I have done it myself) because it is difficult to say for sure what the AI ​​is actually doing. It can certainly beat any human in chess or Go, and it can predict the structure of protein chains; it can answer any question with confidence (if not correctly) and it can very well imitate any artist, living or dead.

But it’s hard to pinpoint which of these things matter, to whom, and what will be remembered as living room diversions in the next five or 10 years, like so many of the innovations we’ve seen. We are supposed to change the world. The capabilities of AI are widely misunderstood because they have been actively misrepresented by both those who want to sell or push to invest in it and those who fear or underestimate it.

There’s obviously a lot of potential in things like ChatGPT, but the people building the product with it want nothing better than you, be it the customer, or at least someone who will come across it, think it. more powerful and less error prone than it is. Billions of dollars are being spent ensuring that AI is at the core of all services — and not necessarily to make them better, but to automate them in a way that so many things have already been. automation with different results.

Not to use the scary word “them,” but they—meaning companies like Microsoft and Google that have a huge financial stake in the success of AI in their core businesses (have invested in a lot on it) – not interested in changing the world for the better, but making more money. They are a business and AI is the product they are selling or hoping to sell — nothing to slander them, just something to be aware of when they make their claims.

On the other hand, you have people who fear, for good reason, that their roles will be eliminated not because of true obsolescence but because some gullible managers have swallowed up the “AI revolution.” “hooks, lines and sinkers. People don’t read ChatGPT scripts and think, “Oh no, this software does what I do.” They’re thinking, “this software seems to do what I do, to people who don’t understand either.”

It’s very dangerous when your work is systematically misinterpreted or undervalued, as a big part. But that’s the problem with management style, not AI each join. Fortunately, we have experiments as bold as CNET’s attempt to automate financial advice columns: the grave of such unwise efforts will serve as a terrible trail for who think they will make the same mistakes in the future.

But it is equally dangerous to dismiss AI as a toy, or to say that it will never do this or that simply because it can’t currently, or because people have seen an example of it. its failure. It’s the same mistake the other side makes, but in reverse: advocates see a good example and say, “this shows it’s over for concept artists;” The adversary sees a bad example (or maybe the same one!) and says “this shows it can never replace the concept artist.”

Both build houses on moving sand. But both clicks and eyeballs are of course the base currency of the online world.

And so you have these extreme duels that draw attention not out of thoughtfulness but out of reaction and extreme — which should come as no surprise to anyone, because as we’ve all learned. Since the last decade, conflict fosters interaction. It feels like a cycle of hype and frustration just fluctuating visibility in an ongoing debate and not very helpful as to whether AI is essentially one or the other. It feels like the folks in the ’50s are debating whether we should colonize Mars or Venus first.

The fact that so many of those concept artists, not to mention novelists, musicians, tax preparers, lawyers, and every other profession perceive the encroachment of AI in one way or another, is really exciting. and enjoy. They know their work well enough to understand that even imitating what they do really well is fundamentally different from actually doing it.

Advances in AI are happening more slowly than you might think, not because there are no breakthroughs but because those breakthroughs are the result of years of work that are non-photogenic or shareable like stylized avatars. The most important thing of the past decade is “Attention is all you need,” but we don’t see that on the cover of Time. It’s certainly worth noting that since this or that month it’s good enough to do certain things, but don’t think about it when the AI ​​”crosses a line” that the AI ​​moves further by a degree. steep or continuous long, long that even it most gifted practitioners cannot see for more than a few months.

All this just to say, don’t get caught up in hype or prophecy. What the AI ​​can or can’t do is an open question, and if someone says they know, check if they’re trying to sell you something. However, people can choose what to do with the AI ​​we already have — that’s something we can and should say more about. I can live with a role model that can match my writing style – after all, I’m just copying dozens of other writers. But I don’t want to work at a company that determines wages or layoffs algorithmically, because I wouldn’t trust the people who put in place that system. As always, technology is not the threat – it is the people who use it.


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