Furthermore, if there is: Where is Caspar hiding?

Interest in artificial intelligence – AI – has recently exploded, largely thanks to ChatGPT bringing awareness of AI beyond tech nerds to the general public, and even to politicians!

In the background, part of the debate around AI relates to concerns about a “singularity” – a Terminator movie style event where AI’s capabilities eventually go beyond the control of humanity and become sentient.

Is this kind of thing just around the corner?  Will AI be able to replicate human intelligence, or even humans themselves?

These kind of philosophical questions are indeed important for humanity to consider and get a grip on.

But here’s the thing: ChatGPT is not the singularity.

ChatGPT has opened peoples’ eyes to what AI can do. But there is a tendency to anthropomorphise this technology too quickly: it is tempting to attribute a “humanity” to a system because it can respond to prompts in ways not seen before.

AI is in the midst of an incredible hype cycle, and so is attracting a lot of investment. But even well-meaning tech companies need to scrutinised and held to account, for example when considering how to apply and adapt copyright law.

Recently, Sam Altman, of OpenAI (who are behind ChatGPT), appeared before a parliamentary committee in the UK and essentially argued that OpenAI should be allowed to flagrantly breach copyright in authors’ works in order to train its models, because otherwise OpenAI would not be able to make any money.

In my view, legislators need to take a measured approach when considering how to adapt legislation such as copyright law or patent law. They should take care to avoid being swayed by hype, and ned to have an awareness of the motivations and background beliefs of the parties making arguments.

Throwing away copyright protections is not something that should be done lightly.

Peter McBride



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