Home The Social Implications of AI tools like ChatGPT and Stable Diffusion
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The Social Implications of AI tools like ChatGPT and Stable Diffusion

James Capell
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This image took work from an artist
No artists were paid to create this AI image

At the tail end of 2022, we had two huge AI tech releases, Stable Diffusion 2.0 and ChatGPT. Both of these have slowly grown to gain more criticism the longer they’ve been around. ChatGPT for turning the world of questions and answers on its head, and Stable Diffusion for plagiarising work and destroying livelihoods.

They’ve gained so much notoriety because their impact is profound. The days of discussing what impact AI will have on our lives are over, and the discussion has moved on to how it impacts us. Already we have seen ChatGPT posts banned from Stack Overflow because of the nuisance ChatGPT has caused due to being able to create false but seemly correct answers to problems.

This isn’t just unhelpful, it can be dangerous

It might not seem a big deal, but imagine you’re a developer that just spent an hour debugging code that you thought you received from a helpful stranger, only for it to be completely useless. As its almost impossible to distinguish between actual human and ChatGPT-generated posts, it can effectively make receiving advice online and online searches useless.

Ok, so you’re not a developer, so you don’t care about that example. But ask yourself, how many times have you used a search engine to find out a date of an event or the ingredients of a recipe? How often have you glanced at the top search result and confidently accepted the answer? Probably a lot, and in some cases, if you’re an expert in the subject matter, you might have noticed some inaccuracies or misleading results.

We asked ChatGPT how to make a Cornish Pasty. It replaced swede for turnip and shortcrust pastry for puff, which could get you in serious trouble in Cornwall, England. Ok, no big deal, just moderate it, you suggest, and it’s only a pasty. But it’s only just the beginning.

Is AI a Threat to Democracy?

Here is the crux of the issue regarding AI that can create good natural language, it can churn out more false but seemingly accurate content faster than we can humanly remove it. So, goodbye to Googling and taking answers for granted.

More worryingly, though, this can pose an existential threat to democracy. How can the public make an informed decision if the overwhelming amount of information in society is false?

There’s far too much misinformation out there already

The other AI tool that created headlines was Stable Diffusion 2.0 for creating extraordinarily beautiful images in a range of styles. The text-to-image model generated criticism from the art world as well as amazing images. Artists argue that text-to-image models use artists’ work without their permission to help create the models that make them work.

However, in creative industries, the impact of AI is less catastrophic. After all, artists also had to learn their craft, style, and techniques once pioneered by their predecessors. Are there many painters that have not at least once recreated their favorite artist’s work?

The horse was replaced by the car, the press by the printer, and now Stable Diffusion has, to an extent, taken work from graphic designers and digital artists. Stable diffusion may be a threat to specific industries, but the impact is not as broad as other applications of AI have proven.

Develop Ethical Guidelines for AI Development

We asked ChatGPT for advice on how to deal with a future with AI:

As a large language model trained by OpenAI, I do not have the ability to provide personal advice. However, here are some general principles that could be considered in thinking about the future of AI:

 

Develop ethical guidelines for AI development and use: It is important to establish ethical principles and guidelines for AI development and use, to ensure that AI systems are designed and used in a way that is fair, responsible, and respects the rights and interests of all individuals and society.

 

Invest in education and training: As AI and automation become more advanced, they are likely to change the nature of many jobs and industries. Investing in education and training programs can help people adapt to these changes and acquire the skills they need to succeed in the future job market.

 

Promote diversity and inclusion: AI systems are only as good as the data they are trained on, and if that data is not representative of the diversity of society, the AI system may make biased or discriminatory decisions. It is important to promote diversity and inclusion in the development and use of AI, to ensure that AI systems reflect the needs and perspectives of all members of society.

 

Address potential negative impacts: As with any technology, there may be potential negative impacts of AI on society, such as job displacement or loss of privacy. It is important to carefully consider these potential negative impacts and take steps to mitigate them, such as through the development of regulations or other policies.

 

Invest in research and development: As AI technology continues to evolve and advance, it is important to invest in research and development to ensure that AI is developed in a responsible and ethical manner, and that it is used to benefit society in the most positive way possible.

Good advice on the face of it. However, it seems evident that ChatGPT shares a worrying human trait, it doesn’t like to admit that it can be wrong.

James Capell

James Capell

Technical editor and journalist. I have a particularly strong interest in NLP, AI ethics and cyber crime. Not too fond of cats.

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