Vint Cerf, the “father of the internet” and top evangelist at Google, offers a warning for company leaders wanting to close chat AI deals quickly: “Don’t.”
At a conference in Mountain View, California, on Monday, Cerf pleaded with delegates not to rush to invest in conversational AI merely because “it’s a trendy issue.” The warning comes as ChatGPT is experiencing a surge in popularity.
The gathering at the conference on Monday heard Cerf say, “There’s an ethical question here that I hope some of you will examine.” He made the comment in reference to Google’s Bard conversational AI, which was unveiled last week. “Everyone’s talking about ChatGPT or Google’s version of that, and we know it doesn’t always work the way we would like it to,” he said.
His caution comes as major tech firms like Google, Meta, and Microsoft struggle with how to maintain competition in the field of conversational AI while quickly developing a system that still frequently makes mistakes.
John Hennessy, the chairman of Alphabet, stated earlier in the day that the systems are still far from being widely used and that several problems with “toxicity” and inaccuracy need to be fixed before the product is even tested on the general population.
Since 2005, Cerf has worked at Google as a vice president and “chief internet evangelist.” Because he collaborated on some of the architecture used to lay the groundwork for the internet, he is regarded as one of its “fathers.”
Although the technology is “very cool, even though it doesn’t work quite perfectly all the time,” Cerf advised against giving in to the desire to invest.
Don’t do that, warned Cerf, in response to laughter from the audience. “Man, I can sell this to investors because it’s a hot topic, and everyone will throw money at me,” Cerf added. “Think carefully. You were correct in saying that we can’t always foresee what would happen with these technologies, but to be completely honest, the majority of the issue is people, which is why we as a species haven’t changed much over the past 400 years, much less the past 4,000.
In what seemed to be a reference to universal human avarice, Cerf stated, “They will attempt to accomplish that which is to their profit and not yours.” Therefore, we must keep it in mind and exercise caution when utilizing these technologies.
In order to add an emoji to the end of each line, Cerf claimed he tried to ask one of the systems to do so. When he informed the system that it hadn’t done that, it apologized but didn’t alter its behavior. He stated of the chatbots, “We are a long way from awareness or self-awareness.
According to him, there is a discrepancy between what technology claims it can do and what it actually achieves. “That’s the issue. You can’t tell the difference between an accurate response and one that is elegantly delivered.
Cerf gave an example of a time he asked a chatbot to give him a biography. He claimed that despite the fact that the bot’s response was inaccurate, it was presented as fact.
According to him, engineers like himself should be in charge of attempting to discover a mechanism to control some of these technologies so that they are less likely to be harmful. A poor piece of fiction is one thing, depending on the application, of course. Giving someone advice… can have medical repercussions. It’s crucial to determine how to reduce the worst-case scenario.