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Artificial Intelligence, since its conceptual birth in the 1950s has been like the proverbial elephant with the six blind men making the head or tail out of it. It can also be a creature in a dark room waiting for the daylight to break to be seen. Whatever it might be, one thing is for sure, it has been the center of immense discussion and speculation while traversing its long journey of AI winters and inflection points. The current inflection point can deliver, given the new ecosystem; all-pervasive data capturing, its convergence, the capabilities of storage and compute and then the ML / AI tools. Artificial Intelligence story is always full of intrigue and fascination or milestone achievements and speculation.

Undeniably, everyone wants to be a part of its success story; academicians, researchers, scientists, industry end to end. This would be transforming everything. Today AI development and usage are at different levels, but the point is very clear, the organizations who work on Big Data and Artificial Intelligence will turn out to be the winners. If you are a first mover, you will certainly carry that advantage. The world ahead has to be that of AI. The direction of AI is fraught with a large number of ethical issues. Speculation and claims have become a part of this fast-moving AI landscape. OpenAI Chief Scientist says advanced AI may already be conscious.

In one of his tweets Ilya Sutskever, claimed ”it may be that today’s large neural networks are slightly conscious.” This can be treated as an outrageous point of view, given the general opinion that AI today is well short of human intelligence and certainly not coming anywhere close to experiencing the world consciously. Being in the position he is , it can be a downrange view. Artificial General Intelligence, AGI, has been talked about for a long time. He had declared in the iHuman AI documentary that AGI will ”solve all the problems that we have today.” But the claim of consciousness has been made for the first time. OpenAI, a not for profit was founded to specifically to curb the existential risks sentient machines pose.

Musk left OpenAI in 2019 as it had made a ”fake news” text generator, which was believed to be too dangerous. Just a month after Musk’s departure, OpenAI no longer remained not for profit and moved on to the ”capped profit” model. He prophesied that Tesla’s forthcoming humanoid robots ”might play a role in AGI” but he added that his company will do its “best” to keep its AI in check. He intents to somehow achieve ”decentralized control of robots.” Tesla’s mission statement talks of ensuring ”that artificial intelligence benefits humanity.” The misadventures done with GPT3 is all too well known by now; a chatbot to emulate a dead fiancée and a group worked to convince the bot to spew out paedophilic content. OpenAI reconfigured GPT3 and now it is ”better behaved.” Conscious machines, if happening, need the world’s immediate attention.


Sanjay Sahay

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