Despite the presence of thousands of Artificial Intelligence (AI) applications deployed in various fields, the launch of a new chat application called ChatGPT, from the American company OpenAI, has generated wide media fanfare that ranges from anticipation and serious celebration to fear and skepticism. The new application, which is the culmination of a year jam-packed with exceptional events and developments, competes with humans in creative functions such as content-writing, authoring, programming, medical recommendations and advice, and responses to questions of all kinds. This raises overall concerns about the future of the relationship between human intelligence and machine intelligence.
Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI, has confirmed that the company’s new program, ChatGPT, was used by nearly one million people during just the first week of its test launch. Despite Altman’s assertion that the tool is still in the initial phase and cannot be completely relied upon to perform many precision tasks, thousands rushed to post on social media models and huge samples of the tasks that the chatbot succeeded in performing effectively and rapidly, including the following:
1. Intelligent in-depth writing and content creation: Many smart applications have appeared that reproduce texts by providing alternative wordings or revising spelling, grammatical, or typographical errors, up to the point of completing sentences and ideas, similar to the Jenni AI tool. Nevertheless, ChatGPT has made a quantum leap in this field. It is sufficient for the user to write a simple question or title that paves the way for the idea or issue of interest, in order for the chatbot to write a full text very similar to the academic and journalistic writings of the most skillful writers and researchers.
ChatGPT’s intellectual production is unlimited at this point, but extends to writing novels and short stories, poetry verses and songs with a harmonious and orderly rhythm, and funny jokes with hidden messages. Naturally, email has its share of this technological boom, with some employees using it to respond to email messages they received in a professional and brief manner.
2. Accurate simulation of images and visual effects: In a series of posts on Twitter, many users shared pictures and visual effects that the application reproduced in response to the users’ imaginings. For example, one user asked it to draw a picture of a group of children playing soccer near the three pyramids in Egypt, and the bot produced a highly accurate picture unsurpassed by the most skilled visual artists.
3. Highly efficient programming and data analysis: The chatbot reproduces the knowledge base upon which it is built. The technique of training the machine and analyzing millions of pieces of data would not have worked without the presence of many skilled programmers who were able to use information codes to train this tool to think and analyze to produce outputs in a way that mimics, in one way or another, the most skilled human minds.
4. Assistance in problem-solving and medical diagnosis: Within a few seconds, the chatbot successfully solved several difficult programming problems faced by young and old programmers and provided summaries, analyses, and correlations among several variables. Its role does not stop with software but extends to providing medical diagnoses and advice, which helped some medical workers after they provided brief information about the patient’s symptoms.
5. Answers to all kinds of questions: The chat program gives answers to all different kinds of questions posed to it and gives advice to whomever needs it, which can facilitate many things its users need in their daily lives. As much as possible, users of this program must continually ask the right question to get the right answer. Of course, this requires familiarizing users with the appropriate way to interact with this program.
A number of experts and specialists in various fields devoted part of their social media interactions in recent days to responding to amazed audiences amazed by the extraordinary AI capabilities achieved by the ChatGPT chatbot. They also highlighted the weaknesses and shortcomings of some of the final intellectual and visual assignments and products the tool provided, in order to affirm that human intelligence is still superior to AI capabilities. However, reaching this point confirms that humanity will have many opportunities, and face enormous challenges, with respect to artificial intelligence in the near future.
In this framework, the most significant future implications of the new ChatGPT AI program can be presented as follows:
1. Approaching demise of the human "knowledge economy" stage: In 1959, management expert Peter Drucker introduced the concept of the "knowledge economy," in which economic production operations depend on the scientific knowledge and expertise of skilled workers and employees, specialized in high-precision fields. With the development of AI capabilities, it appears that the knowledge economy stage, based on humans, is nearing its end, to be replaced by the AI economy.
In the past, jobs were performed through physical effort or routine work based on tedious repetition using machines and industrial robots. Yet, at present, AI has shown a high ability to produce knowledge that mimics high-precision human cognitive production, such as programming, data analysis, writing articles, and scientific research.
2. Dealing with AI as a social player: Many Hollywood movies have presented a microcosm of reality under the rule of AI, in particular the opportunities and challenges that humans will face in the presence of their counterparts from the AI world. Humans will have to adjust to this reality on a number of levels. On the economic level, for example, there will be greater reliance on AI applications in various production processes.
Thus, the world’s political decision-makers will face a true dilemma regarding how to compensate for the acute shortage of jobs available for humans, and those responsible for legislation will be forced to create new legislation and laws that regulate the relationship between the two parties. There will be new fears about the behavior of AI, its potential to commit crimes—like humans—and the consequences of that for human societies.
3. Fundamental shifts in scientific research and production of knowledge: Academics face many challenges that push them to abandon the field of scientific research entirely. The most significant challenges are weak financial compensation, growing competition, and the length of time required to produce an academic product that is appreciated by the knowledge society. AI’s cognitive production is expected to end the tendency of individuals to work in the field of scientific research, so long as they do not possess extraordinary capabilities that qualify them to add more capabilities and updates to AI. It seems that the same dilemma will face those working in the field of programming, with machines entering this field en masse and already performing many of the duties of traditional programming.
The greatest danger is the effect of the machine’s dominance over the labor market on individuals’ interest in science and learning. A major reason why individuals seek education is their desire to join the labor market at the end of their studies or to produce something that improves the human condition. If there is no need for people to do different jobs or to participate in the process of accumulating knowledge, then the need for education will disappear in a large segment of individuals, such that they will pay attention instead to new and quick sources of income, which are also sponsored by advanced technology companies and social media operators.
4. Technology companies’ removal from the competitive equation: It seems that Google will be among the biggest losers in this important technological development presented by the ChatGPT chatbot. The tool has succeeded in offering most of the functions of the internet search giant, but in a more comprehensive and accurate manner, which opens the door to speculations about the fate of history’s most prominent online company thus far. Either it will continue to compete in this sphere by unveiling additional features that rival ChatGPT, or the company will be satisfied with its current technology offering and will be overpowered by OpenAI.
In 2011, a group of researchers and workers in the technology field, led by the British philosopher, William MacAskill, established an organization called "80,000 Hours," to urge workers in various fields to community giving and work. The organization’s top objective is to combat the negative results of the development of AI capabilities. 80,000 Hours is among a group of intellectual and scientific blocs and movements on the ground that oppose the ill-considered development of AI technologies, given that they aim primarily to make large profits without an ethical reference governing their behavior.
The following are among the ethical challenges that humanity faces due to the major development of AI technologies such as ChatGPT:
1. Capital’s dominance over AI services: Many Western circles talk about human rights and the need for all individuals to enjoy the same rights on an equal basis. However, AI technology will deepen class differences, especially since those responsible for developing this technology primarily aim to create unimaginable wealth. Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI, the developer of ChatGPT, has indicated that his company will eventually have to monetize the service.
Altman’s statements in this regard mean that, one way or another, this technology will not be available to the general public, with the possibility of requiring a regular subscription for using it. In turn, this situation will reinforce class differences in societies, as those with money and power, as usual, will be able to access the latest human discoveries, while a broad class of people will be deprived of this technology, which will also cost most of them their jobs and their living.
2. Deepening geographical gap in global internet connectivity: The major development in AI technologies is expected to contribute to deepening the geographical gap in internet connectivity. Some believe that this progress, despite its positive results, aims to keep the countries of the South away from access to advanced technology, so that they will be the last to benefit from these modern and advanced applications, thus compounding the gap between North and South. This group bases its point of view on the fact that the world has two internet speeds: a high speed enjoyed by developed countries and a limited speed in the countries of the developing world.
3. Difficulty accessing facts due to deepfakes: In an interesting experiment, several writers for international magazines and newspapers such as the New York Times and Financial Times quickly used ChatGPT to write their articles on the technological revolution brought about by the application. While this was not revealed until the end of the article, the question remains regarding the nature of the world in which humans will live if AI reaches more advanced stages.
With the existence of techniques such as deepfake, it has become easy to insert fake voices and create fake videos of real people, and now ChatGPT can simulate the intellectual and cognitive production of the most skilled writers, analysts, and programmers. When individuals lack the ability to differentiate between AI production and original human production, truth and falsehood can be reduced to one concept, and the truth will suffer in a world increasingly reliant on machines.
4. Misinformation and bias toward Western perspectives: This program is in its infancy and experimental stage. One of the problems that must be taken into account when interacting with ChatGPT is that it may provide incorrect information. For example, some Americans revealed that they received incorrect answers from the program about American domestic affairs. The program may also provide harmful advice or biased content, as it provides answers that reflect a Western point of view, which means that Western values dominate the program, as is the case with other AI technologies.
5. Limited awareness after 2021 and threat to original research: The program has a limited awareness after 2021, which means that its knowledge of world developments and events after this date is very weak. Everything it produces has not yet been developed or completed. For example, it is possible for this program to provide devastating medical advice because it is not a doctor and lacks medical expertise, especially since its answers are general and abstract, and the program may stray from specialized knowledge in topics it has not mastered. ChatGPT can also be used in ways that may create challenges and problems for scientific research and education, such as students using it to do their research.
In conclusion, it can be said that ChatGPT represents an important and pivotal turning point in the history of the relationship between humans and AI. One of the paradoxes associated with this tool is the relationship of its founders with businessman Elon Musk, who seems to be on his way to redrawing the global geotechnological map in the near future.