On November 30, 2022, OpenAI released ChatGPT to the world. Back then, the AI chatbot’s capacity to converse, plan, read, write, and perform a myriad of tasks for its users made it seem like the most powerful tool on earth.
OpenAI quickly set off an AI ‘arms race’ across Silicon Valley. Big Tech giants wasted no time pivoting to AI, and startups whose features have products slapped with ‘AI’ at the end of their name are raising millions of dollars from investors.
Sam Altman, who himself faced a shock 72-hour ousting shortly before Thanksgiving weekend, is now back at OpenAI, more committed than ever to accelerating the technology. However, at times, it does feel like AI’s emergence has f*cked up the timeline of the universe. So, here’s a round-up of ChatGPT’s – or more broadly, AI’s – impact in the year since its release.
In politics: Misinformation, deepfakes
Remember when Donald Trump got arrested by Joe Biden? That didn’t happen, but millions of Americans believed he did.
That viral moment was just one of several cases of AI-generated online misinformation that now seem to spread every day on the internet. Although governments worldwide are demanding action from Big Tech to combat misinformation, the situation is very much like playing whack-a-mole: remove one piece of content, another swiftly pops up.
In education: “Students are using ChatGPT to cheat!”
Of course those pesky little gremlins will use ChatGPT to cheat, and only to cheat!
In Australia, state education departments wasted no time in banning ChatGPT from public schools, citing fears of misuse. However, many private schools made the decision to allow ChatGPT in the classroom.
The debacle at the time opened up a conversation about whether or not banning AI use in schools further the divide between students from public and private schools. Recruiters in Australia are now asking for experience in ChatGPT. Prompt engineering jobs are paying up to US$200,00 per year – so, who’s the loser here?
In culture: AI-generated everything
Copyright issues stemming from use of a celeb’s AI-generated likeness emerged as the entertainment industry’s top concern this year. Although the SAG-AFTRA reached a satisfactory agreement with Hollywood on this, harmful deepfakes of A-list celebrities is a whole new can of worms that people have yet to come up with lasting solutions to deal with.
Not everyone in media or the arts is opposed to AI, though. Here in Australia, there is a band in Sydney that’s using AI art liberally in their music videos. Adult influencers are creating AI chatbots of themselves to rake in more cash from their simps.
In society: Bias persists
An AI machine is only as good as the dataset it’s fed. Research after research has shown that most AI models carry gender or racial bias. What’s worse is that in some cases, we humans actually trust AI-generated faces, sometimes more than real ones.
There are indeed efforts to ‘de-bias’ AI models, but unintended problems persist. Just look at this AI-generated, ‘accidentally’ black Homer Simpson.
ChatGPT: Last but not least…
Sam Altman’s unexpected firing from OpenAI and the four-day whirlwind reality TV show that followed gave Hollywood enough material for Gen Z’s version of The Social Network! Netflix, Apple, and Amazon Prime executives are probably ripping each other’s hairs off for exclusive rights to the film.
It has only been 365 days since ChatGPT, but it sure does feel like the AI chatbot has been around forever.