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  • Writer's pictureashleighhk

I'm consuming.... Artificial Intelligence (AI)

(🤣 isn't everyone?!)

Human Brain or AI Brain?

I handed in my final assignment for my AI Masterclass this week. Moneyweb teamed up with the Institute for Technology Strategy and Innovation (ITSI) and North-West University Business School to offer a ground-breaking new AI course. I chose the asynchronous option (online at your own pace). Check here for more info. http://www.aimasterclass.co.za/


I have so much to say that I don't really know where to start. The course was incredible. Some of the AI stuff out there blows my mind. In fact, it actually makes me feel anxious trying to keep up with the things coming out on a daily basis I follow a few accounts on social media, and the volume and intensity of updates freaks me out.


What was I thinking?

The reasons I did this course vary from wanting to know what the hell this heightened attention around AI actually is, to feeling like I’m getting old and barely know what my kids are doing on their devices. I mean what the hell is Discord even?! The AI acronym is bandied about all over the place and isn’t a newly developed term or technology, and obviously, unless you’ve been living under a rock, the entire internet has been ablaze about OpenAI’s ChatGPT over the last year. Presumably, well for me anyway, it has been ChatGPT that has brought it entirely into the mainstream and to the front door of the ordinary consumer/person. Having worked in security, artificial intelligence was a concept I was accustomed to, especially in regard to software used to analyse CCTV feed. Either in real-time or retrospectively. Yet ChatGPT has expanded the landscape entirely.


Artificial Intelligence in all our devices and apps.

AI v Humans

I am particularly interested in the philosophical and psychological considerations of AI. Certainly, so much of our judgement is influenced by fiction, books and movies. Often the end of the world is caused by nefarious, evil computers that start to think for themselves, take over the universe and wipe out humankind. While it is astounding the progress AI has made, one of the notions that has stuck with me is that humans don’t fully understand how we ourselves think, so how are we to teach a computer to emulate this, no matter how much resource power, deep learning capability and large language model capacity it has. One

of the things that distinguishes the human race, is our consciousness. Our experience of consciousness is functional because we use it to guide and control our behaviour, and to think logically about problems (DeWall, Baumeister, & Masicampo, 2008). Consciousness allows us to plan activities and monitor our progress toward the goals we set for ourselves. Consciousness is fundamental to our sense of morality — we believe that we have the free will to perform moral actions while avoiding immoral behaviours. But in some cases, consciousness may become aversive — for instance, when we become aware that we are not living up to our own goals or expectations, or when we believe that other people perceive us negatively. In these cases we may engage in behaviours that help us escape from consciousness; for example, through the use of alcohol or other psychoactive drugs (Baumeister, 1998).





Consciousness is also entirely subjective. We know what it means to be conscious, and we assume that other humans experience this the same way, although we can never be sure! If you’re interested in reading up a bit about psychology – here is a link to a great free online resource:

https://opentextbc.ca/introductiontopsychology/chapter/chapter-1-introducing-psychology/ you can read this online, or download a pdf version of the book.


I don’t believe we are at a stage yet to be able to imitate consciousness. While we know what consciousness is, Scientists and philosophers have long struggled to explain how the brain generates conscious experiences and we really don’t know (for certain) why we have it. This makes it very difficult to teach something else with consciousness, let alone something without. However, does this mean that if AI lacks consciousness it will also lack a moral compass? I expect so. While much of morality can be taught, like we do our children, morality too is extremely subjective. Whose and what moral guidelines will be imparted to AI? ChatGPT has been reported to have declined in accuracy considerably.

The postulations regarding reasons for this vary from the AI learning from incorrect responses fed back to it to it being used more heavily which will obviously result in more (inaccuracies) being noticed. What is to stop an immoral group from bombing ChatGPT with their skewed agenda?


Some brief technical stuff – what is Artificial Intelligence actually?

AI, which stands for Artificial Intelligence, is all about creating computer systems that can perform tasks that typically require human intelligence. These tasks include things like learning from data, recognising patterns, making decisions, and even understanding and generating natural language.


Large Language Models (LLMs) are a type of artificial intelligence that can understand and generate human language.


Generative Pre-trained Transformer (GPT) Models are pre-trained on large datasets of text. They can generate human-like text and are often used for language generation tasks. Like ChatGPT.


AI Chatbot crude craft

While ChatGPT is reported to be the fastest growing consumer app in history, reaching 100 million active users just months after its January 2023 launch, (it took TikTok about nine months after its global launch to reach 100 million users and Instagram 2-1/2 years, according to data from Sensor Tower) Reuters suggests that availability of the tool has raised questions about facilitation of academic dishonesty and misinformation. Further, ChatGPT is not foolproof. Forbes lists 10 limitations in this article:


How to keep abreast

Regardless of limitations and reservations, AI is not retreating into the background, in fact, every day more and more companies are either building their own LLM and GPT models or are incorporating AI into their existing systems and products. I follow some accounts on social media and subscribe to newsletters that share the latest developments in the world of AI, and this is where my anxiety goes into overdrive. I just can’t keep up. Every newsletter that comes out details (on a daily basis) more and more developments in more and more areas and my brain just can’t cope. I literally can not keep up. Rowan Cheung (@rowancheung on Twitter – can’t get myself to say X) is an excellent resource. Subscribe to his newsletter here: https://www.therundown.ai/subscribe . But I warn you, his posts will clog up your social feed until you start believing that AI is the only thing the entire world is doing, thinking, talking about.


I am also interested in how AI can help people and businesses streamline operations and processes, and assist in strategizing and better decision-making. I think AI will definitely assist with productivity and speed up certain tasks. I do believe that there is a threat to certain jobs on the horizon. However, in the immediate to short term, I think that AI won’t necessarily replace jobs as much as employers will start only employing people who know AI.


However, where we are now, AI tools primarily assist in simplifying our lives.

I agree with www.synthesia.io:

They are always readily available, 24/7

No sleep, no paycheck, no sick leave.

They eliminate monotonous tasks

No more repetitive work; you can now focus on more important matters.

They are fast

They can perform tasks that would take you weeks... in minutes.

They are accurate

Humans make mistakes for various reasons - AI doesn't.

They help you think

Literally. Need a partner for brainstorming different ideas? AI has your back.

They allow you to express yourself creatively

You no longer need technical skills to create music, videos, designs, or text.

They enrich your experiences

Better websites, improved apps, and more immersive video games – you got it.


AI is evolving at a frightening rate and will continue to transform our lives in unbelievable ways!


The Rundown has a large database of AI tools that you can check out here: https://supertools.therundown.ai/

And more from Synthesia here: https://www.synthesia.io/post/ai-tools


Look out for further blogs from me where I go into detail about some of these that I consume and use the most, and what you could try in your business.


In the interim, this article gives a glimpse into how astonishing some of the non-ChatGPT advances in AI have been.



All images were created on Midjourney.


Ashleigh Parry signing off
ashleigh@hamiltonparry.com

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