Should we fear ChatGPT?

Among the numerous well-known urban legends, we should address the one regarding ChatGPT immediately.

While the technology is real, the capabilities and impacts of the software make people quiver. Fear towards change is normal for human beings. Look at how we faced the Covid-19 vaccines: we were absolutely petrified.

Being afraid of ChatGPT, or artificial intelligence (AI), is not unexpected, as the general public does not fully comprehend AI’s true capabilities.

And it doesn’t help that horror films such as M3GAN, released late last year, emphasised that robots and AI can kill.

Many teachers and parents also worry that students will cheat on tests and assignments by using the OpenAI-manufactured tech.

ChatGPT’s ability to write essays based on information students provide, has been condemned.

For example, this article could have been written by ChatGPT if we were to ask it to write about itself.

ChatGPT was released as a prototype on Nov 30, 2022, as a sibling to InstructGPT. It uses RLHF (Reinforcement Learning from Human Feedback) to “learn” and develop ways to be more efficient and useful to society.

Although ChatGPT can produce reasonable pieces of writing, sometimes the work is somewhat nonsensical.

It helps the user find answers and aids in developing pieces of writing and fast research as the bot scours the internet for the necessary information to answer the user’s questions.

It can revolutionise the world as it is like a search engine powered by AI.

However, ChatGPT does not actively search via an engine; instead, it uses data from when it was developed.

This data is limited to news in 2021. Anything after that, for example, in 2022, would not be included.

So clearly, ChatGPT has its benefits but also shortcomings.

For example, if we were to ask ChatGPT to write an article, we would know if something written was factually correct or false.

The problem here is that ChatGPT scans for answers, unaware of true and false information.

This is explained in the disclaimer when you launch ChatGPT: “While we have safeguards in place, the system may occasionally generate incorrect or misleading information and produce offensive or biased content.”

So, the good news is that jobs that include writing factually correct information and generating original ideas would probably not become obsolete because of ChatGPT.

People in these fields might even be more productive with AI. On the other hand, jobs such as summarising texts and writing minutes could soon be performed entirely by AI.

Testing students’ ability to write is essential in deciding their grades. Hence, students plagiarising ChatGPT raises concerns for parents and educators alike.

And it’s not just in the education sector; AI-generated text has also proliferated into hiring, recruitment and beyond.

Fortunately, GPTZero, a classification model that can highlight the possible use of AI writing tools, can counter this.

It can determine if something was written by AI, partially AI-written or written by a human.

See how we can solve problems? Although the software is still learning and can make mistakes, it nonetheless offers a solution.

On the other hand, the benefits of ChatGPT in education are clear. Learning apps such as Duolingo have benefitted from ChatGPT by using it for teaching conversational language.

ChatGPT can also be a tool in teaching maths and science. These are steps in making education free for all.

Similarly, tech companies that produce search engines could benefit from applications like ChatGPT by conversationally providing straight answers in comparison to search engines that serve millions of search results.

However, cybersecurity experts worry ChatGPT can be manipulated into generating malware that is computer viruses.

A scary idea, but ChatGPT is in its developing stages, with GPT-4 82 per cent less likely to respond to disallowed content, according to OpenAI.

No killer robots, please (optional crosshead, can leave out as i took out some bits)

So, while it’s okay to fear ChatGPT, we can’t let that blind us to its benefits.

Let’s take a step back to the early Industrial Revolution. Cars, elevators and electricity were all feared, and those fears were not uncalled for. The public was scared. Some did not want to use them, and there were restrictions and regulations.

In 1865 in England, you had to have someone holding up a red flag alongside your car at all times, and the maximum speed was 6km/h.

Imagine the fear of a carriage driving at 20 km/h when the average horse-drawn carriage only went at 8km/h. Imagine the overriding fear of seemingly unexplainable electricity that could kill. Keep in mind that most consumers regarded electricity as magic.

Don’t these fears ring a bell? Don’t they sound like our fears towards AI today These were all real fears in their developing stages, but now these technologies are part of our daily lives.

Through time, they became necessary for future development. Although it took a few decades, they were made safer and easier to use.

ChatGPT is here to stay. So why don’t we take advantage instead of being afraid? It could just change our lives for the better.

The media and film industry has painted a dark and violent picture of AI, but we believe it’s time we shine a new light on this powerful force and look at it as a tool to improve the world instead of destroying it.

It’s a tool in our hands. It’s our shared responsibility to use our compassion to mend problems in the world with it. So let’s use our judgment and reasoning to avail it in the best ways possible.

It’s a tool in our hands, so let’s remember there are consequences to how we handle it. First of all: no killer robots, please.

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The views expressed here are the personal opinions of the writer and do not necessarily represent that of Twentytwo13.