As part of the Cheltenham Literature Festival 2023, in honour of Ada Lovelace Day and as a reaction to a new report from the University of Bristol’s Research Institute for Sociotechnical Cyber Security (RISCS), The Times hosted a discussion panel “What If AI Doesn’t Change the World”. Led by The Times technology business editor Katie Prescott, and with Cambridge Professor of Politics David Runciman, Oxford AI systems expert Michael Wooldridge and AI ethicist Kanta Dihal, looking to explore the promise and peril of AI, asking whether our fears for the future are in fact misplaced? The audience was invited to ask the panel questions, but invariably, they didn’t have time to answer them all. As well as document the event, I thought it would be fun to ask ChatGPT what they thought…Continue reading
Ian Dunmore, an old friend of mine, student, journalist, previously of Public Sector Forums, and now antipodean, asked me my thoughts on Geoffrey Hinton’s concerns in the recently published article ‘Godfather of AI’ Quits Google to Warn of the Technology’s Dangers.
In recent news, Geoffrey Hinton, often referred to as “the godfather of artificial intelligence,” voiced his apprehensions about the rapid advancements in AI technology. In response here’s a breakdown of the fears he shared in that article and an analysis of each.
“Profound Risks to Society and Humanity”
While it’s undeniable that AI carries certain risks, history is filled with technological advances that were initially seen as threats. From the printing press to the internet, many innovations have faced criticism for their potential dangers but have eventually become integral parts of our society, often bringing more benefits than harm.
Rapid Release of AI Technologies
While the competitive nature of tech giants might push for quick releases, many companies are investing heavily in ethical AI practices. There’s a rising awareness of the importance of responsible AI development, which can act as a counterweight to the rush.
AI Misuse by Bad Actors
Every technology can be misused. For example, the internet, while immensely beneficial, has also been used for nefarious purposes. With adequate regulations and controls, the misuse of AI can be minimized.
Eclipsing Human Intelligence
While AI systems are becoming more sophisticated, human intelligence is multifaceted, encompassing emotions, intuition, and other qualities that AI lacks. Machines might be efficient in data processing, but that doesn’t necessarily make them superior in all aspects.
Job Losses due to AI Expansion
Historically, technology has displaced certain jobs but also created new ones. AI could potentially lead to job reallocation rather than a net decrease in jobs. Additionally, AI can handle repetitive tasks, allowing humans to focus on more creative and value-driven tasks.
Spread of Misinformation by AI
While AI can generate information, it is the platforms that spread this information that need strict regulations. With proper controls on dissemination and emphasis on educating the public about misinformation, the challenges can be tackled.
While Geoffrey Hinton’s concerns about AI are valid and merit attention, it’s also essential to view them within a broader context. As with all technologies, AI has its pros and cons. The focus should be on striking a balance between innovation and regulation, ensuring that while we harness the potential of AI, we also stay vigilant about its risks.
Using a chatbot AI to write meta tags is generally considered one of the least valuable applications for several reasons:
- Nature of Meta Tags: Meta tags are snippets of HTML code that provide information about a web page to search engines and website visitors. They typically include a page’s title, description, and keywords. Meta tags play a minor role in search engine optimization (SEO) compared to other factors like high-quality content, backlinks, and user experience.
- Limited Impact on SEO: While meta tags were once more influential in determining a page’s search engine ranking, their importance has diminished over time. Modern search engines rely on sophisticated algorithms that analyze numerous other signals to choose a page’s relevance and ranking. Factors such as content quality, backlinks, user engagement, and website structure carry more weight in SEO.
- Dynamic Content: Many websites today generate dynamic content, where the meta tags are dynamically generated based on the page’s content or user interactions. In such cases, relying on a static AI to write meta tags might not be suitable. Dynamic content often requires a deeper understanding of the page’s context and real-time information, which AI may not possess.
- Human Touch: Crafting effective meta tags involves considering the target audience, understanding the page’s content, and balancing relevance with marketing appeal. While AI can generate text, it lacks human intuition, creativity, and marketing expertise. Humans can understand the context better, use persuasive language, and optimize meta tags to attract clicks from search engine users.
- Evolving Search Engine Algorithms: Search engine algorithms continually evolve to improve search results and combat manipulative tactics. As a result, relying solely on automated meta tag generation by AI may not keep up with the latest algorithmic changes and SEO best practices. SEO professionals and marketers stay updated with industry trends to optimize websites effectively.
- Compliance and Accuracy: Meta tags must adhere to specific guidelines and limitations imposed by search engines. They should accurately reflect the page’s content and avoid misleading or spammy practices. An AI might generate meta tags that do not comply with these guidelines, potentially resulting in negative consequences like search engine penalties or decreased user trust.
While AI technologies have valuable applications, leveraging AI solely for generating meta tags is considered less useful than other tasks requiring complex language understanding, creative thinking, or strategic decision-making. It’s generally more effective to consult human experts who have a deeper understanding of SEO, marketing, and the evolving landscape of search engine algorithms.