A new “chatbot” created by artificial intelligence company OpenAI Inc. is roaring onto the internet scene after being in stealth mode, as robot intelligence has grown more sophisticated behind the scenes for years.
OpenAI released ChatGPT, a bot that converses easily with humans via artificial intelligence. The bot can help humans write computer code, write essays and poems, and strategize.
Here’s an example of an academic essay that ChatGPT produced within 10 seconds of being asked:
It’s not just high school composition teachers that should worry. The rise of artificial intelligence has grave possibilities for humanity, and may be as dangerous as nuclear war, some futurists are warning. The bots are so sophisticated that what humans interact with on social media may or may no longer be a real human.
The website, thispersondoesnotexist.com shows just how far the deception can go. Every time a user refreshes the page a new face is shown, completely made up by artificial intelligence but appearing 100% human and believable.
A chatbot can now create a persona, access Twitter or Facebook, and start convincing people that a political candidate or ballot measure is good, bad, or even criminal. The voters would never know they are being interacted with by a programmed bot.
A chatbot can now go into a Facebook group, (think Juneau Community Collective, Bethel, Spenard, or Save Anchorage) and create dozens of online personas. Then the chat bot could start conversations, and persuade people to behave in a certain way or believe something is going to happen.
Facebook has also recently unveiled an online AI bot called CICERO, which has reached “human-level performance” in the board game called Diplomacy. This is a game built on human interactions, rather than moves and maneuvers as you would find in chess or checkers. The bots learned about human behavior by playing against thousands of humans and learning the complexities of how humans approach the game, in which the goal is to take over the world.
The bots learned about ways that humans use strategy or act impetuously. They learned about when humans get fatigued and how that affects their decisions. At this point, the CICERO bot is winning all the time, and continues to learn about humans by playing the game with those who probably don’t realize they are training a chatbot.
What is OpenAI? It’s a research lab founded by Elon Musk and Sam Altman, among others, in 2015. The group collectively pledged $1 billion to the project. Musk has resigned from the board in 2018, citing “a potential future conflict (of interest)” with Tesla AI, which he was developing for self-driving cars. He remained a donor, and in 2019, OpenAI received a $1 billion investment from Microsoft, which is now the company’s official preferred vendor.
Scientists such as Stephen Hawking have expressed concern that if AI gains the ability to re-design itself at an ever-increasing rate, “an unstoppable “intelligence explosion” could lead to human extinction.”
Even Musk says that AI is humanity’s “biggest existential threat.”
The rise of these technologies points to the need in Congress and in the White House for people who understand how complex these artificial intelligence matters are.
For now, Alaska is represented by “Fish, Family, Freedom” Congresswoman Mary Peltola, who does not express the capacity to understand the threats posed by AI, nor the interest in resolving the ethical, moral, and legal issues. Whether Sen. Lisa Murkowski or Sen. Dan Sullivan have the capacity — or the courage — to take on this growing threat is yet to be seen.