Artificial intelligence has taken the world by storm. It has dramatically increased its reach and AI is simply everywhere we turn. There are self-driving cars and trucks. AI is showing up in investment apps, healthcare apps, facial recognition apps and more. But the biggest gamechanger in the artificial intelligence sector is the introduction of ChatGPT by OpenAI. If you haven’t already read or heard about ChatGPT, you just might be living in a cave. The tool is so powerful, accessible and, well, intelligent, that with a few simple prompts it could write the entirety of this article. And in less than 10 seconds.
It’s all pretty exciting.
ChatGPT and other AI software are truly poised to change so many aspects of how we do what we do – from our educational, transportation, and financial systems to healthcare, business operations, and cybersecurity. AI is simply an amazing accelerator of modernization – and nothing is ever going be the same.
But AI can be pretty scary too.
Society has been teased with the concept of AI for years in the books and films we consume. And almost always, the once benevolent (and often charming) technology devolves into something far more sinister. By most accounts, 2001 Space Odyssey’s HAL 9000 is the ultimate good AI turned very, very bad.
Indeed, as the technology continues to increase in popularity and engagement, so too does the potential for malicious uses.
Scientific American recently released its list of “10 Ways AI Was Used for Good This Year.” Needless to say, the applications are far reaching and incredibly impressive. Included in the list are climate change mapping and analysis, illness detection and diagnosis, and molecular science research and development.
Then of course there is the previously mentioned ChatGPT, the AI darling at the moment and notable in that it enhances such a plethora of uses. The popular technology provides contextualized and processed information, meaning it can understand even nuanced search context and respond with unique but on-point results. Ask ChatGPT to write a novel in Spanish in the meter of Dr. Seuss and the narrative of Ernest Hemingway and chances are you will read the best version of “El Gato Ensombrerado and the Sea” that you could imagine. And all in less time than it took you to go grab a cup of coffee.
As mentioned, Amazon and Apple are leveraging the same or similar technology and it is likely that every tech giant will follow suit in some way.
There are also some pretty basic positives surrounding ChatGPT and AI in general:
With all the positives related to the emergence of real-world AI, there are legitimate concerns related to the technology.
Colleges, universities, and school districts are rethinking the way they assess students’ knowledge, as ChatGPT can write a unique 5,000-word A+ essay on any topic in practically the blink of an eye. Institutions are starting to use AI-checking software when they suspect work is being generated by ChatGPT.
An obvious downside of AI is how it may impact employment. Historically, technology tends to displace the need for human elbow grease (think cotton gin, assembly lines, and automobiles). Some economists predict that more than half the jobs in the U.S. could be lost to AI. Wages will also likely be negatively impacted.
One of the biggest concerns related to ChatGPT and similar AI is the cybersecurity threat they pose. Cybercriminals are already bypassing the geofencing designed to keep them off ChatGPT and are using the platform to generate malicious code. Industry insiders always knew this would happen, but they never expected it to happen this quickly. It appears that Russian hacking groups are eager to gain access to the chatbot.
ChatGPT and other AI is literally transforming the way we lead our lives and run our businesses. The good stuff is truly remarkable. The bad stuff is concerning. And the ugly stuff makes ours a much more dangerous world.
Now more than ever, building a strong, comprehensive cybersecurity strategy is your best defense to new threats, regardless of whether they are generated by artificial intelligence or your standard run of the mill hacker.
It’s an evolving world out there. So be prepared.
Stig Ravdal is the President & Founder of Ravdal, Inc., a leading cybersecurity strategy and solutions company. He is widely considered an expert in the field and is available for speaking engagements.
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