The gods must be giggling.
It can’t be a coincidence that ChatGPT and George Santos came onto the scene at roughly the same time.
ChatGPT, as we know, is generative AI on a very large language model.
George Santos, as we know, is the recently-elected member of the U.S House of Representatives.
One is a technology assemblage of complex algorithms and trained data. It promises to revolutionize search, help us get stuff done, and transform all kinds of knowledge gathering and communication processes in any number of industries in ways we can only begin to imagine. Since its public debut, it has been used to fool professors, pass tests, and write Shakespeare – or something like Shakespeare. Demonstrations of its prolific knowledge gathering and composition abilities have led to a tidal wave of published wonder and worry.
One is a human by way of Queens, New York, and Brazil, one of 435 U.S. citizens elected in November to make laws on behalf of the nation. Since that election, Mr. Santos has received substantial press coverage, as his campaign curriculum vitae is alleged to be a collection of lies, fabrication, and outright fantasy.
Both are the source of public angst. But I daresay that ChatGPT has been the subject of more fear and doubt than Mr. Santos.
Perhaps that’s because Mr. Santos is a politician, and there is no surprise in politicians stretching or inventing the truth.
Perhaps that’s because ChatGPT is the stuff of Silicon Valley magic and mystery, and nothing shapes modern society like digital technology.
One is known, a modern-day embodiment of a long-standing stereotype. One is unknowable, unexplainable.
Search results for ChatGPT bring a laundry list of hand wringing and histrionics. Is ChatGPT inherently immoral or unethical? Will ChatGPT ruin education and academic disciplines of research and writing? Will ChatGPT eliminate unique voices and displace authors? Will ChatGPT eliminate hundreds of thousands, even hundreds of millions of jobs?
Two examples on a lengthy list: a New York Times column by Maureen Dowd and an assertion that ChatGPT is a morally corrupting influence from The Register.
Keep in mind that such questions emerge at the dawn of every new step-change technology. They emerged for the internet. For personal computers. For radio and television and hell, even comic books.
Keep in mind that we’ve always had cheaters and liars and people who claim the prize without doing the work. And that cheaters and liars and poseurs have always found ways to do their thing. Even before the internet and social media.
For all of our collective angst and worry, we must acknowledge that the big question of ChatGPT’s ultimate goodness or badness is a human one.
Our worries should be much more about the elements of George Santos that reside in us all than the algorithms of OpenAI.
It is our individual and collective behavior that will determine whether this, and all the other, on-the-way, generative, large-language model AIs – will be a bane or a boon.
I invite you to look in the mirror.
That’s where you will see the future of ChatGPT.
One benefit of the Open Voice Network is that it provides a community for individuals concerned about the ethical use of ever-advancing conversational artificial intelligence to come together and not only talk about the issues, but do something about them.
Such as the OVON’s incipient TrustMark Initiative, which is now working to identify and define those ethical principles which folks of good hearts and good minds can follow.
Stay tuned as further developments on TrustMark Initiative are published on our website.