OpenAI's 'Oppenheimer moment' and potential effects on future employment

OpenAI's 'Oppenheimer moment' and potential effects on future employment

Niall Feiritear & Johnny Brew

On May 7, Open A.I CEO Sam Altman wrote on Twitter that “artificial intelligence is the technology the world has always wanted.”

Open A.I claim to develop A.I in ways that benefit humanity. They created Chat GPT, the language tool that allows people to have conversations with non-human intelligence.

On February 18 this year, Altman wrote:

“Our grandparents did horrible things; our grandchildren will understand that we did horrible things we don’t yet understand.”

Alan Smeaton, Professor of Computing at DCU, described these words as Mr Altman’s ‘Oppenheimer Moment,’ in reference to Robert Oppenheimer, father of the atomic bomb.

“I think he may be having his Oppenheimer moment early. When Charles Oppenheimer developed the atomic bomb and it was first exploded, he said ‘I have become death, I am the destroyer of worlds,’ as he reflected on the negative aspects of his invention.

“When Sam Altman had that quote he was in a state of turmoil because Chat GPT had gone stratospheric.

“The brashness and rashness of the release had brought the chickens home to roost.

“All the other big companies in the tech sector probably went ‘faceplant, why did they do that? They have now sullied the reputation of this form of A.I,” Mr Smeaton said.

A Goldman Sachs report in March found that artificial intelligence could replace the equivalent of 300 million full-time jobs, even replacing a quarter of all work tasks in the US and Europe.

Author and futurist Yuval Harari warned at Davos that “A.I is nowhere near its full potential. Old jobs will disappear, new jobs will rapidly change and vanish.

“The really big struggle will be against irrelevance. Those who fail would constitute a new ‘useless class.’

“And this ‘useless class’ will be separated by an ever-growing gap from the ever more powerful elite,” Mr Harari said.

He further went on to state that people could become “bored” and ultimately hooked on “drugs and computer games,” as they struggle to find “meaning in life.”

DCU’s Alan Smeaton does not share these same concerns, however. Alan believes that A.I will compliment new forms of work.

“Nobody can predict the future. Goldman Sachs must have needed the media coverage. It might have been a click-bait report.

“Jeffrey Hinton, one of the A.I godfathers, resigned from Google because he was concerned how the company may be entering a form of arms race with Microsoft over search.

“Five years ago he said radiologists would be redundant but now seven years later there are more practicing radiologist than before.

“The A.I has transformed the job of the radiologist, it has helped them to do their job.

“I wouldn’t be worried about it. I think those people’s jobs will evolve and change. And that’s great. Very few people want to do the same job for 40 years,” Mr Smeaton said.

Speaking to members of the Irish public in Dublin’s grand canal dock, an area peppered with tech workers, comments ranged from “I’m a bit concerned about it, who’s controlling the process?” to “People prefer chatting to a person.”

“It’s scary,” said one woman. “They are learning faster than we are,” said another.

“People don’t know what they want until you give it to them,” one man believed.

“You are taking away 30 -50 pc of all jobs, our social system is not set up for that,” said one man, who himself is an A.I professional.

“People need to work. No point in having a productive economy if people are all unemployed,” one man wisely commented.

It is very important people are aware that Chat GPT boss Sam Altman is a doomsday prepper.

He previously told ‘The New Yorker’ magazine, in a very under-reported interview, that he has a stash of money and weapons squirrelled away for the day A.I goes wrong.

“I prep for survival. The most popular scenarios would be A.I. that attacks us and nations fighting with nukes over scarce resources.

“I try not to think about it too much. But I have guns, gold, potassium iodide, antibiotics, batteries, water, gas masks from the Israeli Defense Force, and a big patch of land in Big Sur I can fly to,” the Chat GPT boss said.

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