The Philosopher & The News

John Naughton & The AI Hype

April 13, 2023 Episode 38
The Philosopher & The News
John Naughton & The AI Hype
Show Notes

On March 22nd, the Future of Life Institute,  a nonprofit organization focussed on reducing existential risks facing humanity, and in particular existential risk from advanced artificial intelligence (AI), published an open letter entitled Pause Giant AI Experiments. Its signatories included tech luminaries such as Elon Musk, and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. Its opening sentences read:

“AI systems with human-competitive intelligence can pose profound risks to society and humanity, as shown by extensive research and acknowledged by top AI labs… Advanced AI could represent a profound change in the history of life on Earth, and should be planned for and managed with commensurate care and resources.”

But given the kind of AI available today, are these kinds of concern justified? Is Chat GPT, for example, really a kind of intelligence? And if so, are governments capable of taming it and channelling its capabilities for the benefit of humanity, rather than its destruction?

John Naughton is a Senior Research Fellow at Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH), University of Cambridge and Emeritus Professor of the Public Understanding of Technology at the Open University. He is also the technology columnist of the Observer newspaper.

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Artwork by Nick Halliday

Music by Rowan Mcilvride