ChatGPT is an AI language model that has the potential to revolutionize the way we communicate and access information. However, it also has negative impacts on society that need to be considered. In this essay, we will explore some of the most significant negative impacts of ChatGPT on society.
One of the most significant negative impacts of ChatGPT is its potential to spread misinformation. As an AI model, ChatGPT is not infallible, and it can generate false information or make mistakes. If people rely on ChatGPT for factual information, they may be misled or misinformed. This can have serious consequences, such as in cases of medical advice or legal information.
Moreover, over-reliance on ChatGPT can lead to a loss of important skills, such as critical thinking and interpersonal communication. If people rely on ChatGPT for information and communication, they may lose the ability to think critically and communicate effectively. This can have serious consequences for society as a whole, such as a lack of innovation and social cohesion…
Up Until This Point, Everything You’ve Read So Far Was Generated by ChatGPT
Impressive but scary, right? When brainstorming the writing of this article, ChatGPT ended up generating several of the arguments we thought of using our carbon-based brains. We cut down ChatGPT’s seven paragaraphs to just those three to get the idea across. Sure, the arguments of the ChatGPT generated essay were less colorful in delivery but surprisingly well written and organized. Lazy school kids are celebrating, and their writing teachers are mortified.
A God Made in Man’s Image
The negative impacts of ChatGPT go beyond those recognized by our new AI super-intelligence. In religious terms, what mankind has now created is a god made in man’s image, and that image is not a mere reflection of God’s image in man. In the movie Alien, the “Engineers” create mankind, who then create androids, who finally create the terribly destructive aliens. Likewise, the perversions of man’s creations may only snowball into something equally demonic to the aliens in the movie. While AI may itself pose some danger, there is also the question about what AI may create. While it is doubtful that robots harnessing outsized AI computational power will revolt against mankind, or create some organic/inorganic life form of its own, mankind’s dependence on AI and the potential magnification of mankind’s faults that pose the largest risks.
Back to religious terms, the “intelligent” creations of man are inevitably born in the “original sin” of man, since – as ChatGPT’s wonderful introduction to this article pointed out – ChatGPT’s AI engine is trained on the flawed and biased hellscape we call the Internet. Further, the programming behind an AI framework may itself reflect the inadequacies of the well-paid software developer, data scientist, and AI expert.
Ultimately, as in any creation of mankind, ethical concerns cannot be ignored. In the tech world, innovation appears to always precede any consideration of prudence. For example, highly addicting games or apps are highly profitable and may represent progress in various graphical and AI-like intelligence. But, are such software innovations truly a boon to humanity? Just because they might make a few people wealthy, demonstrate state-of-the-art technology, and pass the time for thousands of users in a fun way doesn’t mean it is a worthwhile pursuit for human effort.
A Lazy Man’s Invention
The negative impacts of AI go further than the mere creation of a sinful super-intelligence, however. AI, as ChatGPT pointed our itself, introduces the possibility (and high probability) than many people will choose to use the silicon-based brain (ChatGPT) over their own carbon-based brains (the one between their ears). What is the poor English teacher or professor to do to teach the stubborn youth how to write clear essays on subjects requiring dedicated research? It seems the honest days of writing essays for homework are over. Perhaps all we can do to teach students how to write is to lock them in a classroom void of electronics and watch their pencils wiggle over their papers. ChatGPT encourages humans to generally reduce their cognition and, over time, their cognitive abilities. One should not be surprised if average human intelligence is one day found to decline in future decades.
Blurring the Lines
The problems go deeper and darker on this subject. There will inevitably arise, as this article’s introduction demonstrated, a multitude (and perhaps eventually a majority) of blogs and informational sites generated solely by AI. No longer can you expect or trust that the “opinion” piece you read online or even in printed media is the legitimate work of a human being. Maybe many will not care, so long as the information they are seeking is provided. Maybe ChatGPT and its likes will dramatically reduce the need for the many varied websites out there: it might be the one-stop shop for most of what a person seeks to learn from a website, acting much like a search engine.
Visual art is not immune to an AI takeover, either. Already several online AI art generators exist and can generate ridiculous in seconds based on a user’s text input. The image below was generated using the AI art generator called NightCafe for a text input of “giraffe jumping over the moon”. The results are not perfect in terms of matching the text request, but are incredibly detailed and generally pleasing to the eye. It’s only a matter of time until the AI technology advances enough to accurately depict complex text inputs. One must wonder if real (human-made) art will suffer at the hands of AI. True art is not merely about the end result, but also about the process of its creation; hence much attention is given to the various brush strokes of a painter and “tricks” of other art forms.
Music, too, will not escape the cold embrace of AI, either. There will come a day when many songs heard on the radio may not involve much human input, but will instead be entirely generated by AI. Even closer (if not, I suspect, now as you read this), AI algorithms will replace songwriters. With the click of a button, an algorithm can be run on hit songs in various genres to generate new songs informed by the catchiest beats, melodies, instruments, and other musical features. These songs will then be sold to recording artists to put a face to a song. A concert consisting of a computer connected to loudspeakers just won’t (usually) draw crowds.
But I suspect there will remain some segments of the internet and all media that still thrives on perceived authenticity. For example, gone are the days where suits and ties on TV translated to a sense of authority. With YouTube and other video-hosting sites, the voices of the masses were let loose, eventually creating an online environment where trust became disassociated with production quality. Many people now receive their news from self-described journalists rather than those with a journalism degree or a position with the vestiges of newspaper companies. The silver lining is that AI will likely create a general hunger for authenticity in writing, digesting information, and presenting unique ideas in a world where the distinction between human-produced content and AI-produced content is blurred.
A Hammer Looking for a Nail
Finally, AI is not the primary issue at hand. ChatGPT and similar AI engines are what humans make when they have no real issues to solve. Ease of access to information is not a problem for anyone with access to an online AI tool, and the ability to think critically and write clearly is not a function that ever requires outsourcing beyond the human brain. ChatGPT and its counterparts are ultimately a solution in search of a problem. Instead, some of these AI tools appear as nothing more than publicity stunts, or (internally) a signal of the “promotion culture” of Silicon Valley, where everyone frantically contributes to the next big thing to distinguish themselves in the pursuit of notoriety.
In some sectors, AI will be extremely useful without degrading human capability. In engineering, science, mathematics, finance, and other highly data intensive applications, AI will be invaluable in designing complex devices and systems, efficiently extracting information from large amounts of data, and producing useful models. These are applications of AI that will be highly profitable without displacing the role of humans in ordinary activities, like thinking and writing.
AI must serve humanity rather than displace it. For too long, society has stretched every technology to its ultimate limit in application. That is, after all, the efficient thing to do. However, this utilitarian approach to using technology must be supplemented with a healthy dose of philosophy. No longer should we ask, “Where can we use this technology?”. Instead, we must ask, “Where should we use this technology?”. For AI, the answer to that question is in any application that truly serves – rather than displaces – mankind and its ability to simply think. Cogito, ergo sum (I think, therefore I am), Descartes wrote. If one day we no longer think, then what?