ChatGPT has been all over the news since OpenAI released it in late November. An artificial intelligence chatbot tool, ChatGPT is designed to automatically generate text based on written prompts from users. While AI writing has been used for years in various forms of writing, ChatGPT has taken it to the next level. Its release generated excitement over the possibility of AI imitating human speech, but it is also generating worry.
Who is worried about AI chatbots and why?
The release of ChatGPT has professional writers thinking: Will a robot replace my job? As of now, the consensus seems to be “not yet,” or that a human touch will always be necessary when working with AI-generated content. The reasons most people think human input is necessary:
● Even if AI can generate content, a human is needed to ask the right questions/input information to guide the chatbot toward a correct answer.
● ChatGPT is programmed to be helpful, which means the content it produces is likely one-sided. A real person is necessary to create content with the desired slant/perspective.
● A human moderator is necessary because ChatGPT has a lack of morals (as it not human) and its output can be racist, sexist, and biased.
Google employees have expressed concern that ChatGPT may replace Google search and other language models. According to Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Google has similar capabilities, but they are working to perfect them because the company cannot risk a chatbot that gives incorrect information — users must be able to rely on Google. Moreover, it would take a long time for ChatGPT to overtake Google, since the latter is used and trusted by so many.
College professors and administrators are concerned that students will use AI to write essays and papers. Because the content is unique, it cannot actually be called plagiarism. But it does take out much of the work and effort to create a paper that showcases information and understanding.
One possible solution has already been presented by OpenAI’s guest researcher, computer science professor Scott Aaronson. Following the release of ChatGPT, Aaronson gave a lecture in which he said the company is currently developing an invisible watermarking system that shows whether content has been written by a human or by ChatGPT.
ChatGPT has cybersecurity professionals worried for several reasons:
● Malicious actors can use ChatGPT to create malware codes or phishing emails with no mistakes (the watermarking tool discussed above is one possible way to defend against malicious actors).
● Malicious actors can use ChatGPT to create fake news that can be spread to cause panic, sway election results, etc. In other cases, it can produce content that is simply wrong. (In the latter case, a human fact-checker comes into play.)
● According to an article on BleepingComputer, when asked “Do you have any opinions about humans in general?” ChatGPT answered that humans are destructive and should “be wiped out.” OpenAI itself flagged its chatbot’s response as violating the company’s policy. Later, it must have tweaked the algorithm, as the same answer cannot be reproduced. While it is reassuring that ChatGPT can be programmed in a certain way, no one wants to hear they’re destructive.
The Bright Side of ChatGPT
There are causes for concern about ChatGPT. Overall, this technology is very exciting. As Ethan Mollick points out in the Harvard Business Review, “Applying AI to the creative and expressive tasks (writing marketing copy) rather than dangerous and repetitive ones (driving a forklift) opens a new world of applications.”
This includes the creation of a new model of machine-human hybrid work, in which the machine creates content at warp speed, and then a human reviews it and makes necessary revisions.
As with all new technologies, there is cause for concern, particularly with one so cutting-edge. We are in the infancy of AI writing. As it continues to develop, we may see new solutions to some of the challenges that are worrying. We also may see new challenges, so it’s important to understand ChatGPT and its capabilities.
Love it or hate it, AI writing is here — and we certainly cannot ignore it.