The Human Side of the Generative AI Gold Rush | The Rhythm of AI TOU

The Human Side of the Generative AI Gold Rush | The Rhythm of AI

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The current gold rush to capitalize on generative AI is ultimately about making money and driving business.

After all, Microsoft has not only agreed to invest fresh new billions in OpenAI simply because the latter has a mission to “ensure that advanced AI benefits all of humanity”. It’s about commercializing the technology – as in, gaining financial gain.

The California Gold Rush from 1848 to 1845 was also about financial gain.

But while a few select miners and merchants enriched it in the mid-19th century, the mad dash for shiny riches also led to violence against Native Americans; discrimination against Chinese immigrants; and many broken dreams. The Gold Rush changed American society – on the one hand it led directly to state of california in 1850 – but we must never forget the hundreds of thousands of people affected.


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I shared the excitement about how generative AI tools like ChatGPT, DALL-E, and Stable Diffusion can transform the business and technology landscape. But last week’s news about AI and Big Tech, from outsourced labor to layoffs and lawsuits, soberly reminded the human side of the generative AI story that I can’t — and companies shouldn’t — just ignore it.

Disturbing News About How ChatGPT Was Formed

First there was Billy Perrigo Time Wednesday that OpenAI used outsourced Kenyan workers earning less than $2 an hour to label violent, hate-speech-filled data to help train ChatGPT to serve a less toxic output.

This scenario is not new – AI researcher Timnit Gebru, along with Adrienne Williams and Milagros Miceli, reported on the exploited workforce behind the AI ​​for NOEMA in October. And the history of industrialization, not to mention technology, has been riddled with tales of sweatshops and abused labor. But reading Perrigo’s story in the context of the rise of OpenAI and the hype of ChatGPT was particularly upsetting.

Google and Microsoft lay off thousands as AI advances

It was also a week brimming with Big Tech pink slips: On Wednesday, Microsoft announced plans to lay off 10,000 employees by March, while Amazon began layoffs that will total 18,000 workers. Then, on Friday, Google announced it would cut 12,000 jobs, the biggest layoffs in its history.

Responsibility for the layoffs probably cannot be placed on AI: as Andrew Chow explained in a new hour piece, they have more to do with current economic conditions, including overexpansion during the pandemic and an end to low interest rates, than ChatGPT.

That said, the optics are terrible: Microsoft is investing billions in OpenAI and telling thousands of people their jobs are history? Google brought founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin to help in the fight against AI while employees with decades of experience are fired? Sigh.

All humans will be impacted by generative AI. And we need a minute.

Generative AI is coming to mankind fast and furiously. But while companies might be eager to see how this evolves into a “killer” use casethe rest of us need a minute because we are all going to be affected in some way and no, not everything will be rosy and no income.

Last week’s news around CNET pausing its controversy Generated by AI stories; court case by artists versus text-to-image generators like Stable Diffusion; teachers and schools are panicking frantically over how to OK with ChatGPT – that’s a lot.

It’s good for VCs and researchers and startups and Big Tech executives and corporate CIOs to brag about the generative possibilities of AI to come. The appetite for gold is real.

But at the very least, all generative AI stakeholders should recognize the human toll – even if AI isn’t going to take all of our jobs and destroy humanity, there are still people affected at every stage of this long and winding journey of artificial evolution intelligence and machine learning. And they should up their game by making sure they are focused on how AI can evolve safely, ethically, responsibly, and humanely.

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