Artificial intelligence is not new.
In fact, artificial intelligence (AI) has been powering all sorts of things in our lives for years. Yet, AI is making news headlines on a daily basis. Why is that?
John Joyce, co-owner at CRS Technology Consultants, had an opportunity to discuss the rise of artificial intelligence on ABC7. The Tech Bytes segment covered AI’s many uses, what’s ahead and security concerns.
“AI, as we know it today, is now changing at a fever pitch, and possibly so fast that those who are making it don’t fully understand it,” John said
Artificial intelligence in our daily lives
As noted, artificial intelligence is not a new development within technology. We have incorporated AI into all areas of our daily lives:
- Virtual assistants: Siri was the first major voice-activated assistant when it launched in 2011. Alexa followed in 2014.
- Shopping suggestions: Amazon, eBay and social media provide suggestions using AI that are based on browsing and purchasing history.
- GPS: Artificial intelligence helps reroute drivers if there is an accident or faster route available.
- Online customer service: Chatbots are programmed to answer basic information when customers call utilities, insurance companies, airlines, hotels, banks, medical offices and other businesses.
- Photo editors: Smartphones use AI to crop out backgrounds, remove red eye and reduce shadows or wrinkles.
- Predictive text: AI can help finish Google queries, sentences in Word or a text before you stop typing.
- Safe driving: Lane-keeping assist systems and auto-braking on vehicles use sensors powered by AI to support safe driving.
“The technology is evolving,” John said. “Like everything else, it gets better, it gets faster. That can be a very scary thing, but it’s also a great thing because it can do good things for people as well.”
ChatGPT drives artificial intelligence conversation
Since late 2022, ChatGPT has been the most talked about artificial intelligence platform.
“ChatGPT itself is a technology, but it’s also a brand,” John explained. “It’s a product being developed and delivered by a company called OpenAI.”
The chatbot is classified as a Large Language Model, or LLM. It uses an algorithm to try to understand what you’re asking. ChatGPT peruses everything online to spit out what it thinks is the right answer in a matter of seconds. ChatGPT can have a near-natural conversation that’s almost like talking to another person. There is one thing ChatGPT cannot do, though – think for itself.
“None of us really know where it’s going to go or what it can do; we just know it’s going to keep doing more,” John said. “That’s where the questions start to rise up. Where do we need to slow down? Where does regulation start to come into the equation?”
Safety and security concerns with artificial intelligence
Technology has evolved to the point that artificial intelligence is standard in vehicle production. Lane-keeping assist systems, rear cross traffic alerts and automatic emergency braking systems are common in new models. Auto manufacturers also have the technology to build automated driving systems in vehicles. Just because they CAN, however, doesn’t mean they SHOULD. That is an ethical, moral and societal question currently being debated. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has not opposed automated driving systems. Instead, it opts to focus on safety features available through artificial intelligence.
Beyond vehicle safety, another potential unknown with artificial intelligence is data security. Everything from banking and medical records to utilities and shopping is conducted online. And if any sensitive data is online, hackers want it. Cybercriminals may be dishonest scammers, but they certainly know how to use technology.
“Like almost every other technology, it’s not inherently bad,” John said. “It’s how we collectively choose to use it and how we control its growth.”
Artificial intelligence is a tool that offers cybercriminals an easier path to get what they want. For example, a tell-tale sign of phishing emails has been poor writing and bad grammar.
“They’re now feeding these things into AI models, so not only is the language perfect and grammar is perfect, but they’re training it with information about the ‘target’ so that it’s contextually correct,” John said.
Educators also lament the fact that students can use artificial intelligence to draft an essay in seconds. For generations, students have found ways to cheat, like sneaking notes into an exam room, peeking over a classmate’s shoulder or programming responses into a graphic calculator. Today’s generation has AI.
“It took effort to do wrong, and now it’s a click away,” John said. “That comes back to the responsibility point. We have to think about all the ways it can be used incorrectly. At the end of the day, if someone is going to cheat on something, they’re going to find a way.”
READ UP: Tech News and Resources