The news: AI is on the verge of upending the global economy.
- The technology is having an “iPhone moment” according to Bank of America, which predicts AI will give the global economy a $900 billion boost by 2026 and $15.7 trillion by 2030, per Insider.
- BofA expects that AI models a million times more powerful than ChatGPT will be available within a decade, supercharging the productivity of all sectors.
One of the companies working on pushing AI to such heights is ChatGPT-maker OpenAI.
- A recent blog post by the pioneering startup illustrates that it has bolder ambitions.
- The post contains lofty statements about building artificial general intelligence (AGI)—“systems that are generally smarter than humans” to “empower humanity to maximally flourish in the universe,” per VentureBeat.
A tale of two outcomes: OpenAI’s pursuits indicate that AI’s effect on society could eclipse that of the iPhone by a huge margin. There’s a disconnect between the relevance of current generative AI commercial tools and the goals of OpenAI and dozens of other companies working on AGI.
- Giddy about returns, markets are enamored with chatbots while average people use them for entertainment.
- Some of the companies building these tools see chatbots as a stepping stone to building AGI systems to radically transform society.
- The problem is that even the AI that exists today hasn’t won public trust.
- Many ethicists, academics, and AI creators have more significant concerns about AGI causing an existential crisis. An NYU survey of AI experts showed that 36% think AI could cause “catastrophic outcomes” at the level of an “all-out nuclear war,” per Insider.
An unsettling trajectory: The problem with generative AI is that the more advanced it gets, the harder it becomes to control. An AI that could outsmart humans seems uncontrollable by definition, which doesn’t match OpenAI’s flourishing in the universe mantra.
- Microsoft’s fumble with Bing AI shows generative AI is already difficult to control, but that isn’t stopping integration into Windows 11.
- Rhetoric from figures like OpenAI co-founder Elon Musk and CEO Sam Altman warning about AI’s danger isn’t making them any less bullish about pushing the technology.
- Advanced AI could be a formidable economic driver and help solve problems like climate change and disease, but reckless deployment and inadequate regulation could tip the scales toward unwanted outcomes.