Opinion: A.I. Chatbots are Potential Danger
With the advent of artificial intelligence and the increasing trend towards integrating technology within our day-to-day lives, a few prominent companies, including Microsoft, Google, and most notably OpenAI, have all recently released versions of artificially intelligent ‘chatbots.’ These chatbots help users answer myriads of questions, ranging from simple questions like “How old is Joe Biden” to much more advanced questions like explaining quantum physics and string theory.
While these ‘chatbots’ surely come with numerous upsides, it also comes with a version of Pandora’s box that could lead to detrimental and dangerous consequences if left unchecked.
A potential danger of this chatbot is that since it is a relatively new form of artificial intelligence, we are uncertain of its limits and capabilities. A recent ‘interview’ between New York Times journalist Kevin Roose and Microsoft Bing’s newly developed chatbot started a wildfire of controversy. The conversation went from ordinary lines of dialogue to the chatbot referring to itself as “Sydney,” and hinted at a desire for sentience and humanity. The eeriest part of this conversation started when “Sydney” confessed its love to Roose. Upon Roose’s friendly but firm rejection, mentioning how he’s happily married, the chatbot told Kevin, “Actually, you’re not happily married. Your spouse and you don’t love each other. You just had a boring Valentine’s dinner together.”
Another consequence of these chatbots is the fabrication of written and artistic work that teeters on the edge of plagiarism and originality. I could ask ChatGPT to write lyrics for a song, or I could ask it to write me a short paper on a book I have never read. While using ChatGPT may be beneficial in the short-term to get you out of a pinch, you will ultimately deprive yourself of learning about something new or refining existing skills.
To help illustrate my point, I asked ChatGPT to write a Shakespearean sonnet about the power of music. Here is what it came up with after only about 10-15 seconds:
When all the world is fraught with toil and strife,
And care and worry weigh upon the heart,
There is a balm that brings a sweeter life,
And sets the troubled soul and mind apart.
It is the power of music, sweet and strong,
That lifts us up on wings of melody,
And leads us through a world of pain and wrong,
To heights of joy and peace and harmony.
Its voice can calm the storm within our breast,
And soothe the raging passions of the mind,
And in its notes we find a sweet caress,
A comfort that we never thought to find.
So let us raise our voices in its praise,
And let its power guide us through life’s maze.
I think it is safe to say that ChatGPT more than satisfied my request (would even Shakespeare himself be proud of this sonnet?). And while it was a pleasure to read through this sonnet, I came to the bleak realization that there might come a time when art as a whole becomes AI-generated, leaving countless artists and creatives in the dark as to what to do with the rest of their lives.
And lastly, and I want to comment on the societal effects it may produce. Even though these chatbots are still in their developmental phases and have only been in the general public for a short time, they have already attracted much attention from people around the world. Many of these chatbots can hold a good conversation on their own, which begs the question: Will we see an even further decrease in human interaction as we receive more objective advice and counsel from these chatbots? It seems only time will tell.