Artificial intelligence is somewhat like the Roman god, Janus, who looks both forward and backward simultaneously. As the god of doorways, passages, and archways, Janus is the god of transitions and new beginnings. He looks forward with hopeful optimism. But as he advances, he looks backward at relics from the recent past.
AI is no different.
Today, I want to tell you about some caveats of AI that even have tech giants balking at its unbridled power. But in exchange for the sacrifices AI adoption will require, tremendous returns on investing in it are possible.
AI will create passageways to sweeping, even mind-blowing, change. But as it does so, it will disrupt the status quo and leave behind the wreckage of dated technologies and hollowed-out industries.
For example, AI will cause widespread job losses across the entire socio-economic spectrum – from warehouse workers and truck drivers to accountants and lawyers. But it also will certainly create new generations of millionaires and billionaires, perhaps even the world’s first trillionaire.
I’m ready to examine AI’s power to enrich people’s lives, so don’t let the terrifying aspects of AI distract you from the opportunities it’s creating.
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Drawing the Line Between Wondrous and Vicious
Many groundbreaking technologies throughout the ages have subjected humanity to Faustian bargains of some sort – usually a “bargain” the inventors of the technologies never imagined.
When the early Neanderthals “tamed” fire, they used it to warm themselves and cook food. They probably never imagined that a Roman emperor would use that same technology to torch Christians… or that Christians themselves would use it to torch “witches.” The invention of the wheel led to a Dark Ages form of torture on “the wheel…” and so on.
That’s technology; it is an inert tool… until it is in the hands of a human. Then all bets are off!
Dr. Geoffrey Hinton, the “Godfather of AI,” has expressed similar regrets recently. He made headlines two weeks ago by resigning his post at Google, so that he could speak freely about the risks of AI.
He worries that AI technologies will upend the job market by replacing professions like paralegals, personal assistants, and translators. Down the road, he frets that future versions of the technology might pose a threat to humanity itself.
Hinton’s angst about AI places him in the company of dozens of tech insiders who fear it could lead humanity down a destructive and irreversible path.
Tech Titans Balk at AI’s Reckless Release
As The New York Times reports…
After the San Francisco startup OpenAI released a new version of ChatGPT in March, more than 1,000 technology leaders and researchers signed an open letter calling for a six-month moratorium on the development of new systems because A.I. technologies pose “profound risks to society and humanity.”
Several days later, 19 current and former leaders of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, a 40-year-old academic society, released their own letter warning of the risks of A.I.
Elon Musk, who cofounded OpenAI with Sam Altman but parted ways with five years ago, complained in February that OpenAI had lost its way. What started as an open-source nonprofit that could serve as a counterweight to Google, Musk explained, has now become a “closed-source, maximum-profit company effectively controlled by Microsoft. Not what I intended at all.”
Even Warren Buffett has joined the chorus of AI skeptics. At last week’s annual shareholder meeting for Berkshire Hathaway, the Oracle of Omaha remarked…
[AI] can do remarkable things… like checking all the legal opinions since the beginning of time. It can do all kinds of things. And, when something can do all kinds of things, I get a little bit worried, because I know we won’t be able to uninvent it.
Clearly, the launch of ChatGPT has opened a Pandora’s box of unbridled AI development. There will be no rules, no moral guardrails, and no powerful overlord to restrain AI’s possible excesses.
What’s more, most of the leading AI technology companies are dropping all pretense of superimposing ethical constraints on AI.
As MarketWatch reported recently…
Teams within tech companies whose job is to dissect “thorny ethical issues” around generative AI’s effects on copyright protection, personal data, data privacy, data sets and veracity of information are being cut back as part of massive layoffs at employers like Google, Microsoft, International Business Machines, and Salesforce Inc…
Technology companies have eliminated more than 200,000 jobs, including trust and safety positions and contractors, since late 2022. And job postings that include the words “trust and safety” declined 78% in March 2023 from a year ago, according to the job-listing site Indeed.
As a society, we are comfortable with technologies that offer incremental improvements over preceding technologies – like the improvement from typewriters to desktop computers or the improvement from DVDs to streaming services.
Streaming services may have killed Blockbuster, but they inflicted no harm whatsoever on Blockbuster’s shopping mall neighbors.
However, other technologies possess such incalculable and unpredictable power that their impact can extend far beyond the wildest guesses of their inventors.
AI is one of those technologies.
How to Leverage AI’s Power
As Elon Musk and the other AI architects have their “Oppenheimer” moment, it’s important to look past the doom and gloom of the tomorrow problems of AI and focus on the today opportunities that it presents to investors.
In fact, I am so bullish on this opportunity that I visited the headquarters of OpenAI recently to get the inside scoop on ChatGPT. This groundbreaking technology has the potential to mint new millionaires, billionaires… and possibly the world’s first trillionaire.
AI has the potential to create massive opportunity… and massive disruption. Here’s how you can take advantage of AI’s wealth-building opportunities… before they take off.