The new “Manhattan project”

The CEO of OpenAI (Sam Altman) has compared his firm’s work on artificial intelligence to the Manhattan Project, where the first ​nuclear weapon was developed during World War II.

Just like the warnings against the development of the atomic bomb, more than 2,000 tech experts and leaders across the world signed a letter calling for a pause on research at AI labs, specifically demanding an immediate “pause for at least 6 months” on “the training of AI systems more powerful than GPT-4.” Elon Musk and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak have sounded the alarm on “unbridled AI technology”.

Are these just “luddites” (the British textile workers who destroyed the machines that took their jobs)? Are they visionaries that see a future we don’t want to live in?

GPT-4 is apparently 6 times bigger than GPT-3 and uses 20 times the training data and about 1 trillion parameters. It is in the top 99.5% of an advanced biology exam.

It currently costs around $50,000 to create a very simple iPhone app. GPT-4 can create the iPhone app code for about 6 cents in a few minutes. This probably won’t be the complete app but most of the work will have been done.  A lot of coders must be feeling uneasy.

I have been astonished at its capabilities, creating impressive marketing content as well as pictures and logos (using Dall-E), completing the task in seconds at little or no cost.

In a recent report, Goldman Sachs predicted that AI advances could automate 300 million jobs, representing roughly 18% of the global workforce. OpenAI also recently released its own study with the University of Pennsylvania, claiming ChatGPT could affect over 80% of the jobs in the US.

Eric Schmidt, the former Google CEO and chairman, says he can hardly keep up with how quickly A.I. technology like ChatGPT is being deployed, and he thinks the tech sector must confront how to use the technology so that it does more good than bad.

Brave new world or apocalypse?

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