Pause for Thought on AI

By Jonathan Sharp, below, CEO, Britannic

Open AI’s Chat GPT has blown everyone’s mind demonstrating the endless capabilities and possibilities of what AI can achieve. Making us aware that AI is here now, here to stay and our future. Although it has been around for years and we use it all the time in our daily lives from sat nav, Siri and Alexa, it is Chat GPT that has opened the flood gates to Narnia where we can start to see the alchemy that AI can produce.

AI Replacing Humans

Over the last two weeks it has been consistently in the press with scaremongering coverage about how it will take all our jobs, take over humans and the world will be run by robots – Terminator style! Indeed, AI is and will be revolutionary, just as electricity and the internet were but the immediate concern is the accelerated speed with which it is being developed and how it is being unleashed to the world without any regulations or audits.

The billionaire Elon Musk, Steve Wozniak and Tristan Harris spurred the UK government into action when they issued their open letter requesting that all AI labs press pause for six months on the development of AI to help assess what risks to society and humanity it will bring.

It is being developed at such a speed that even the creators are struggling to understand or predict the potential outcome. The urgent need is to slow down the race so all involved can understand the ramifications of AI and not just race ahead purely to make a profit. They requested that governments step in to develop safety protocols with rigorous regulations and frameworks to audit the AI designs to ensure they are safe, interpretable, transparent, robust, aligned, trustworthy, and loyal.

Seal of Approval

As a result, the UK Government issued the ‘Pro-innovation approach’ report on how they intend to do this. In summary the report states how it wants the UK to be on course to be the best in the world to build, test and use AI to deliver better services using AI. For example – in the NHS to diagnose diseases and help to save lives, to improve services for transport, Police and climate scientists, producing high quality jobs and opportunities to learn the skills that will power our future. To ensure the regulatory framework is effective they are working with world class regulators who understand the risks in their sectors and are best placed to take a proportionate approach to regulating AI.

The framework will encourage innovation but not slow it down so smaller businesses are drowning in regulations but help to drive growth and prosperity, and in turn strengthen the UK’s position as global leader in AI. The framework will be transparent and accountable avoiding unfairness, bias and discrimination building trust with the Public on AI, delivering clarity and coherence to the AI landscape. Over the next few months, the government will work with businesses and citizens to increase awareness and educate them in AI teaching them how AI will benefit our lives and augment our daily working life.

Potential Risks

Goldman Sachs’ latest report predicts a global loss of 300 million jobs through automation and AI becoming so intelligent that it takes over jobs replacing humans. Another major risk is ‘deep fakes’ which is fake news and the concern that the incorrect information and the untruth will be disseminated leading to national security threats and propaganda where individuals or groups may act on the untruth.

Open AI has come under attack for unleashing Chat GPT on the world to test without going through any safety or audit checks. The industry has mixed opinions on this, some say that pharmaceuticals companies wouldn’t release a drug or vaccine without it going through audits and regulations and others say, “why not – let the public test it!”

Super Boost Work and Learning

My view is that a regulatory framework is indeed required to ensure that all AI platforms are checked for safety, transparency, meet all regulations and are approved before they are released into the public to mitigate risks. The media need to turn down the volume on the scaremongering of AI to the public and start educating people how AI can be used to benefit our lives and not destroy it, so people see AI as a good thing and not a bad thing!

AI is here to stay so rather than ignore it or fill everyone with fear let’s increase the awareness on the good it can deliver and how it can and will change our lives for the better. How it has been used to diagnose disease, help understand climate change, contribute to more personalised and effective learning, help reduce daily grind workload, assist businesses in making more money and increasing efficiencies, the list goes on and that’s the point. What we all thought was impossible will more than likely be possible with AI, and then there’s the list of what no one has thought of yet. It is probably the most exciting time yet in tech history!

AI will not replace humans and yes it will replace some jobs but overall, it will augment our daily work and learning helping us reduce time and focus on delivering better results. We need to all learn together on how we can interact with AI safely to benefit us, and this will take time as it is new and yes there will be some mistakes and failures on the way, but I have a feeling that the advantages will outweigh the disadvantages of AI considerably to a point where we can’t imagine life without it.