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AI, should you be scared?

Updated: Apr 24, 2023

AI Robot

I am sure you have heard all the hype around "AI" and how fast it's advancing in the news lately, but should you be scared? The short answer is no. First things first, what is AI? AI stands for artificial intelligence, and originally meant a machine that could think, learn, and react similar to human, but this term has changed over the years to encompass a lot more. AI is everywhere these days as a marketing buzz word and doomsday theory, but in all honesty, the term has been watered down quite a bit. So what does it mean today? In today's world AI can mean anything from a program that can make predictions such as software that predicts weather patterns based on information put into it to a truly artificial intelligence. That being said, a true AI has yet to be truly created. ChatGPT seems to be the big one in news stories these days, with talk about how its the most advanced AI in existence. While this is partially true, this idea is somewhat misleading.

ChatGPT is quite advanced to be sure, I use it on a regular basis and it is extremely impressive, but to understand these stories you need to know what exactly ChatGPT is. ChatGPT is a natural language chatbot, it is designed to take in a prompt from a user and respond in a way that appears natural and intelligent, but it in and of itself is not truly an AI. What it is, is a machine learning algorithm. ChatGPT was fed information, commonly called "trained" on various conversations, news articles, and the like in 2021 allowing the program to "learn" how to put words together in a way that could easily be confused as another person writing it. While this is impressive, the program cannot truly learn on its own, it must be manually fed information to increase its capabilities, and thus can only grow "smarter" when its owners feed more data into it.

As you can see SkyNet from the terminator movies isn't right around the corner waiting to wipe out humanity, but it sure does increase that ad revenue for news sources! With the doom and gloom debunked, what are the benefits of all these new AI infused programs and things? Well they make life simpler! You may not realize it but many of the news articles you read online weren't written by a person, they were written by an AI. A journalist can put the facts of a story into an AI and the AI will use that information to craft the story in a way that is interesting and compelling to the reader, and do it MUCH faster than a human. Another example is in the art industry, someone using a program such as Midjourney or Stable Diffusion can create beautiful artwork in seconds by describing to an image generation program what they want to create.

All in all, AI is nothing to fear, at least not yet. It is allowing people to make more faster and more efficiently than ever before. It is far from perfect, and certainly far from sentience, but it definitely is making the world of tomorrow closer to being the world of today.

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