Last week my son introduced me to ChatGPT - an AI-powered chatbot that can write essays, create scripts for movies and TV shows, solve mathematical equations and much more within seconds.
You could think of it as a much more intelligent version of Siri, with the ability to answer both open-ended and extremely precise questions. We tried it out and even goofed around by typing “is my son adopted?”.
The programme answered politely that it does not have information about my son and that it could help if I was looking for information about adoption.
ChatGPT was released last November and it became so popular that it reached one million users in less than a week – the fastest any technology gained popularity in all time.
This is the first time that the general public has had access to advanced AI, which comes with its own pros and cons. Due to its unlimited capabilities, it can be utilised in many ways to learn new things, create businesses, automate tasks and it can even give sound advice much like a real therapist.
Even so, it is not as omnipotent as people make it to be. It is trained by humans - and just like the rest of us – makes mistakes. It can only provide input on matters that happened up to 2021 – the period where its training ended.
Even with the seemingly unlimited positive ways in which this technology can be applied, it is a double-edged sword.
There are multiple implications to consider when relying on this kind of technology, with one of the largest concerns being academic plagiarism.
Students can easily create full descriptive essays within seconds by just typing one sentence. As it is a new technology, there are no ways to tell apart an authentic essay and one generated by ChatGPT.
Relying too heavily on chatbots could lead to a decreased reliance on creative and decision-making skills, which could have negative impacts on personal and professional relationships.
Creative writing is an essential skill, as it allows one to properly process and articulate their thoughts. This is precisely what we see in all of the greatest authors – the creative ability to give meaning to these thoughts.
Another potential area of impact is work. As this application can pull out precise data on both technical and non-technical topics in a matter of seconds, its efficiency exceeds human capabilities by a large margin.
While many people stand to gain from this technology – whether by automating tasks or creating businesses – a portion of the less tech-savvy people stand the risk of losing their jobs, as their job tasks can be fulfilled in a much shorter time.
As mentioned before, one of the possible uses for this application is self-therapy. While it is a great resource of information, it makes users more prone to self-diagnosis - which has its own implications.
The key in therapy is to be able to ask the right questions, which is why people seek professionals for help. On the other hand, AI-powered technologies may not be able to tailor their responses as effectively as a human, as they lack the ability to understand an individual's unique preferences or circumstances.
Just like everything else, such technologies are a great boon, as long as they are used in moderation.