ChatGPT: Great Power, Greater Responsibility – Examining its Impact on Society

OpenAI - the creator of the famous ChatGPT
OpenAI – the creator of the famous ChatGPT

ChatGPT has taken the world by storm with its impressive ability to generate specific answers to topics across various domains. The AI system created by OpenAI can even provide lessons (from Coding to Poetry) to eager learners. This has resulted in the system being used in various ways, from getting personal queries answered to creating comprehensive codes. While there is a rising consensus that ChatGPT is so powerful & efficient that it’ll replace several jobs, there needs to be more discussion on its potential impact on society.    

What is ChatGPT?

To understand how ChatGPT can be used as a powerful tool for misinformation, it’s critical to know how it works. The AI system uses OpenAI’s General Pre-trained Transformer (GPT), a language model capable of mimicking human-like language. GPT uses deep learning to sort through a large set of data and uses this knowledge to create cohesive responses to queries. ChatGPT’s training dataset includes textual data from various sources such as books, articles, & websites until September 2021. While OpenAI is constantly looking to update this database with customer inputs and other sources, it’s important to note that ChatGPT doesn’t know everything (especially everything that happened after 2021). 

ChatGPT responds to question about its datasets
ChatGPT responds to its datasets

Generative AI & Its Issues

Generative AI has been in existence for nearly a decade. However, tools like ChatGPT & Stable Diffusion have made it mainstream. Several industries are looking at AI as the next big thing & are looking to jump on the bandwagon. However, many fail to look at the other side of the coin. We identify that AI is powerful and highly efficient but there are also many challenges & roadblocks. Let’s look at some of them below:

  1. Factual Accuracy: 

Since GPT uses its existing datasets freely to generate unbiased original responses, the information presented might not be factually accurate in many instances. If you wish to see some examples of how ChatGPT gets it totally wrong, you can check out this Mashable article

Not just ChatGPT, but many other AI systems including the latest Google Bard also make costly mistakes frequently. 

  1. Ownership & Expertise:

AI tools use deep learning to analyze datasets and synthesize new images/content based on the information. So, the ownership of the synthesized content cannot be attributed to any of the original authors. While this might not look like a big issue, it is a nightmare for academic writers, scholars, researchers & fact-checkers. 

Since GPT & other AI can only mimic originals, users who use the generated content to build their reputation might see their efforts fail. For example, a student who uses ChatGPT for their academic projects can improve their grades but not build knowledge or expertise. Microsoft, which created the new Bing AI using ChatGPT, understand the importance of attribution. It includes content citations for all the responses generated by its AI search tool. 

  1. Misinformation:

Information can be easily shared & consumed by millions of people within minutes in today’s society. So, the impact of misinformation has never been more powerful. People can use ChatGPT to misrepresent ideas, make unwarranted claims, & create confusion. OpenAI understands that ChatGPT can be used to generate false information/propaganda. So, it has trained the AI to identify such behavior. However, users are still sharing instances where the AI had generated opinionated articles with racist & hate-filled rhetoric that sound real. 

While ultimately this is not the tool’s fault, users must understand the potential negative implications.

  1. Regulations & Lawsuits:

This is not an issue but a warning for those using AI tools to improve their credibility, and brand image or showcase their expertise. Since generative AI is a radical new concept that synthesizes information, it opens you up to lawsuits, plagiarism & copyright infringement claims. Almost all generative AI companies including ChatGPT & Stability AI are currently being sued for copyright violation. 

While these lawsuits might set some legal precedents, experts state that AI tools will face more legal challenges as they gain traction. As more people start using generative AI tools, the courts & legal system may take legal steps to protect both the original owners & end-users.

There’s no denying the fact that ChatGPT & other AI tools will have a great impact on society as a whole. While the general consensus is that these tools should help enhance our lives & careers, there needs to be more discussion on the potential risks that come with their usage. Our goal in creating this article is not to blame generative AI and dismiss them for their misgivings but to help people learn about the potential ramifications of using AI in the wrong manner. Generative AI is just another tool in today’s society and the social responsibility of using it in the correct manner rests on our shoulders. 

In the immortal words of the great Stan Lee – “With great power comes great responsibility”. 

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