Mar 9Liked by Helen Beetham

Some time after we (the general public) first heard about ChatGPT, I wrote a letter to The Guardian, in response to an article by Evgeny Morozov, titled: The problem with artificial intelligence? It’s neither artificial nor intelligent. 30 March 2023. In my letter I said:

AI’s main failings are in the differences with humans. AI does not have morals, ethics or conscience. Moreover, it does not have instinct, much less common sense. Its dangers in being subject to misuse are all too easy to see.

It seems that, one year later, these issues have not begun to be addressed and the tech companies basically have no clue how to address them. Nor the interest.

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Your line ‘AI’ is not a technology, it is a story about the future. ‘ - I’m in love with it!

I’m constantly reiterating in PD and conversations with colleagues that we are at a moment in time where what we do now really matters.

How we teach students to see AI as something physical (to echo Crawford) with economic, political, social implications. As extractive. This is crucial futures work.

But staying in this space of critique needs to be balanced by the practicalities of the genie that’s been released. No engagement with the products risks stasis. Not blind pragmatism of course, but as you say, futures work.

I do look forward to the podcast. Thank you! Such important reading.

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A powerful analysis, Helen.

It resonates with me personally, as I've been working for years to get academics taking action on climate change.

Do you think there's an opportunity for academics to do good work with open source generative AI?

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Thank you for this overview. The problem I have with AI is that the word "intelligence" implies some form of balancing real-world (live) inputs against a pre-existing moral code plus a body of (hopefully peer-reviewed) research , thus forming a balanced and logical summation of what's going on. I realise that the "wicked problem" issue pervades most public policy challenges, which in itself precludes the "helpful" addition of AI which is by definition backward-looking. In the interests of both the public and Conservative politicians, AI should be re-badged as "Pattern Recognition" technology and no more.

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