Wednesday, March 15, 2023


There seems to be an interesting mismatch going on with ChatGPT.

OpenAI and Microsoft (already using it in Bing chat) are hyping it to the moon. The media are writing breathless articles about its brilliance (it can pass the bar exam!). What's being represented, though, is that it has an advanced capacity to assess information, not just spit it back. 

I wrote months ago that what AI was going to do, eventually, was to replace middle managers. I still believe that, too, and its affects will be seismic, but I also think how these tools are being represented in their current state is very misleading. There are too many reports of individual people (professors, notably) who correctly point out that ChatGPT is great at presenting information, but it's often wrong information (here's an example). It's not mimicking thinking in any effective way.

There's only one explanation for the mismatch: there is a gigantic financial incentive to promote the product, and lots and lots of companies are going to make enormous amounts of money. Otherwise, no one would care, and no one would misrepresent its capabilities. 

Always follow the money. 

Let's go into the future, though. At some point, ChatGPT or something like it will be able to represent thinking in a way where we can't easily spot the difference. It will allow corporations to replace (cumulatively) millions of employees. 

Automation took away a large number of low-end jobs. Now, AI will take away a large number of jobs in the middle. 

What are these people supposed to do?

Will Americans still look down on unemployment as a moral failing, or does this change as more and more people are affected? We're famous for not thinking anything is a problem until it's a problem for us, but  in this case, "us" is getting larger and larger. Is this going to lead to some form of Universal Basic Income? If you don't fund social services, and people can't work, how are they supposed to survive?

The never-ending quest for extracting every penny of corporate profit in this country, in conjunction with these same companies vehemently fighting any regulation, has always been a bomb with a fuse. The only question is how much of the fuse is left.

Site Meter