As AI advances, there is a growing interest in creating human-like AI systems that can interact with humans in a more natural and intuitive way. However, an AI expert named Erik Brynjolfsson, Director of Stanford Digital Economy Lab, has warned that this pursuit of human-like AI may be a trap that could hinder the development of AI and lead to ethical issues in his interview with Yahoo Finance.
His concern? That researchers are going in the wrong direction. First, he explains the Turing Test. “Alan Turing famously proposed that the test for intelligence, what we later called the Turing Test, was ‘how similar can an AI be to a human?’ Trying to mimic humans has been kind of a goal of a lot of computer scientists ever since.”
Erik Brynjolfsson continued, “Can we fool humans so you can’t tell the difference? I think it’s a very evocative goal, but it’s also a trap. The reason it’s a trap is that if we make AI that mimics humans, it actually destroys the value of human labor and it leads to more concentration of wealth and power.”
But, in Brynjolfsson’s view, there is a different “approach.” “There’s an alternative approach, which is making AI that augments humans, that allows us to do new things we never did before,” he explained. “Don’t try to mimic us but try to extend our capabilities. AI that does that is more likely to lead to a flourishing of wealth and more widely shared prosperity.”
Thanks to the explosion of ChatGPT and other programs, the door is wide open now. In his view, it’s all economics because AI can now “make videos, audio, even write computer code… These tools are having a set of implications that I think are bigger than even their developers expected initially. Trillions of dollars of value will be created.” This, for many, is turning into a fear of being replaced by AI-powered programs.
Mr. Brynjolfsson sees those concerns as well. “The next 10 years could be some of the best 10 years we’ve ever had or some of the worst,…But we have to adapt our institutions. … The rest of us in business, and economics, and social sciences need to get on the ball and think about how we can make sure our society is ready for these changes.” In a similar vein, this is why a U.S. Representative out of Massachusetts read a ChatGPT-generated speech on the floor of the U.S. House to bring attention to the disruptive future of AI.
Moving forward, Erik sees a path forward with AI technology. In the best case, AI can usher in “unprecedented productively and growth, and we can have shared prosperity“, but he also notes that this is “far from inevitable.“