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ChatGPT & AI: What’s the Craic?

ChatGPT is a groundbreaking technology that has the potential to revolutionise the way we interact with machines. It has been designed to understand natural language, which means it can interpret and generate human-like responses to text-based input.

In other words, you can talk to ChatGPT just as you would talk to another person.

As a young person, you're likely already familiar with some of the chatbots and virtual assistants that are available on the internet today, like Siri, Cortana, or Alexa.

ChatGPT takes this technology to the next level. It is one of the most advanced language models in the world, with an incredible ability to learn and adapt to new information.

ChatGPT is so intelligent, in fact, it wrote the introduction to this article!

So, what’s the craic, then? Why are so many people afraid of AI? I took to Twitter to find out…

User @HekmatHKJ tweets: “#ChatGPT is so scary TBH, but am wondering what's the price we gonna pay using it !!?”

People have been scared of AI since computers and intelligent technology first came into the world, and this fear has been played into by nearly every film and media franchise out there - 2001: A Space Odyssey, the Matrix, Avengers: Age of Ultron

Even in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005) Mr Bucket ends up losing his job at a toothpaste factory to a more efficient robot. For most people, this is the immediate fear: that their jobs will be replaced by AI or smarter, robotic counterparts.

EarthWeb estimates that "Automation technology is estimated to eliminate around 73 million of all jobs in the United States by 2030", including telemarketers, factory production work, and most customer service roles.

At the very least, most jobs are being aided by some form of intelligent automation technology.

You may have also heard a lot online in the past few weeks about students and academics using AI to write research papers and essays. I know people doing it right now!

A study conducted by Impact Research found that "22% of students use the chatbot to help them with coursework or in extracurricular activities 'on a weekly basis or more'."

Running back to Twitter, user @codingyuri tweets:

"ChatGPT is getting really scary, but at the same time it’s AMAZING", "learning with ChatGPT is a HUGE benefit, u don’t have to google [stuff] anymore"

Teachers and professors were quick to catch onto this, however, and soon developed a ChatGPT screening programme that quickly tells them whether a student has had a helping e-hand in their work…

Philosophy Professor Darren Hicks spoke to the NYPost about his experience with a student he found using ChatGPT to plagiarise an essay. He refers to ChatGPT as "like an intelligent 12th-grader" (Year 13 for us) but with a very distinctive style.

The student failed the class, and was referred to the university dean, but for Hicks, this does not go far enough. He fears that the ability of teachers to identify AI-produced content will be eradicated, Hicks said:

“This is learning technology - in a week, it will be smarter, in a month it will be smarter” and described his “abject terror” at what this means for academia, and his position as a professor - will his job, too, be replaced by AI?

We’ve seen stories about the horrors of AI, what damage ChatGPT could potentially do in the future, and I’m sure you’ve seen hundreds more - but what about the positives? And, realistically, is AI something we need to be so afraid of?

Forbes concludes that realistically, many jobs that can be replaced by AI have already been replaced, and that machines are nowhere near as intelligent as they need to be to pose a threat to the majority of the population.

“Companies aren’t completely throwing things out that have been working for them. It’s a more general transition into the world of new technologies such as AI.”

Another fear proposed by Forbes is “bad people, doing bad things”. The article mentions Russia, which seems to be synonymous with fear in the Western world.

This article is from over three years ago, and the same fear remains prominent today, especially with everything going on in the Ukraine.

For most people, hearing that AI is being used by the military is enough to create visions of robot-war, and automated nuclear weaponry. The reality is actually very different.

The U.S and China are using AI for a wealth of purposes, including automatic vehicles, surveillance systems, and target recognition systems, like AimBots in real life...

You know, the same sorts of things we’ve been using technology for for as long as most of us can remember.

The world has been evolving forever. A new part of this evolution is technology, and with that comes AI, and technology like ChatGPT.

Ultimately, it is up to you how you use it, and if that is to violate academic integrity, then it is also up to you to deal with the consequences.

The prospect of new technologies potentially taking our jobs, or removing the need for certain occupations, is a completely valid fear, but very unlikely, and at minimum very, very, very far away.

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