A mix of many challenges and great promise at the dawn of a new Generative A.I. era
There’s a cacophony of expert voices expressing deep concerns about potential harms to humanity due to rapid GenA.I. acceleration, and others who see great potential good.
On May Day (May 1st), A.I. pioneer Dr. Geoffrey Hinton – known as the “Godfather of A.I.” and one of the most respected voices in the field – left his position at Google so he would be free to warn the world about the dangers of rapid acceleration of GenA.I. progress in such a short period of time.
For half a century, Dr. Hinton had devoted his life’s work to developing the technology at the heart of chatbots like ChatGPT, so it was somewhat shocking to have him join many others decrying the pace of the GenA.I. wars moving too fast – such as the many tech industry leaders who signed an open letter following the release of OpenAI’s latest ChatGPT in March that called for a six-month moratorium on the development of new systems because A.I. tech “poses a profound risk to society and humanity.”
Due to an “arms race” between tech giants – most notably Google vs. Microsoft and OpenAI – Dr. Hinton and others have multiple concerns, including the potential for the new technology to upend the job market, cause intellectual-property disputes, or as the tech advances, having new, advanced A.I. systems generate and run their own code – making Sci-Fi movies such as “The Terminator” franchise come to pass in reality.
One more immediate concern is that “the internet will be flooded with false photos, videos and text, and the average person 'will not be able to know what is true anymore," according to Dr. Hinton.
Weighing the challenges with the promise of GenA.I.
“I think Dr. Hinton and other A.I. experts have a right to be concerned. I understand that, and we should be concerned,” said H.D. Mabuse, a senior designer and philosophy professor at CESAR, as well as a visual artist and musician.
“These challenges and the ability to make adjustments to reduce any harm needs to be a multi-faceted approach that includes tech industry leaders, academia, and the government to regulate it.” said Mabuse.
Mabuse believes the best path forward must involve at least three approaches:
- We must develop A.I. advances in a socially responsible way at both an industry level and in how we teach students at higher learning institutions like CESAR. For this technology to be designed in a thoughtful, safe way requires injecting more ethical training and ensuring there’s more diversity for those developing it.
- Secondly, the tech industry and the government must come together to discuss, collaborate, and find new ways.
- Lastly, from an individual perspective, we need to be more educated and wary of being able to spot misinformation and consider the content delivered by GenA.I. tools with some suspicion – just like we are learning to do with content that we consume on the internet and social media platforms.
Mabuse sees a lot of promise in this new GenA.I. era as well. For example, he talks and writes about the democratization effect of the new technology, including Pina to the south of Recife, which is home to some poor Brazilians who are making “amazing” hip-hop videos using the latest A.I. “They can make music and release new videos in a matter of 30 minutes,” he said. “And it’s wonderful to see an underprivileged, Afro-centered community make such fantastic art with an algorithm.”
“Everybody has an aunt or uncle that is really afraid of new technology. I think the key to this moment we’re living in today with this advanced A.I. is avoiding technophobia, but also being cautious on technophilia. However, my personal belief is that responsible development of new technology is a doorway to bring us many new things. I am focused on the idea of the promise this tech progress can manifest.” said Mabuse.
In speaking about the concept of “design being in the DNA of CESAR,” Mabuse cites the many different RD&I projects in queue at the respected institution today that are rooted in collaboration and co-creation with end users, customers, and partners. In doing so, he outlines the three-pronged methodology at CESAR that first identifies a set of opportunities, pain points, and motivations via in-depth research, and then moves into an empowerment phase of ideation, selection, and validation to solve challenges and optimize benefits. “This is how we’re approaching this new GenA.I. era today,” he said.
Design is in CESAR’s DNA. The organization sees its strategic value and transformative potential, and their way of innovating is inspired by the Double Diamond process, a classic approach to design. With more than two decades of experience in solving complex problems, CESAR developed a practical approach that gives rise to a third diamond that completes its unique methodology.
CESAR’s proven methodology is optimized to materialize “artifacts” that can become new products, services, processes, or businesses for its customers and partners.
“The final step and ultimate goal at CESAR is to create what we call artifacts as a result of our methodology." said Mabuse. "This term comes from the definition of an object or item that holds historical, cultural, or artistic significance. They are typically created by humans or designated as valuable by humans – and they serve as a physical representation or evidence of past civilizations, societies, or individuals."
Our end-game at CESAR is to help society at-large to understand the many challenges and implications of this new GenA.I. era that we’re moving now into at a rapid pace, and to help co-create new approaches to address them with our extended network of academics, partners, and customers in the region and globally, and to play an important role in being a positive force for good as this technology continues to advance forward into the next decades." - Mabuse.