Does artificial intelligence still need us?

Artificial intelligence has always been part of the human imagination, especially since the 80s. Films such as Blade Runner and 2001 have created a potential imaginary of autonomous machines.

I will give two examples just from a few years ago. White-collar work is how Americans call professionals who work in administrative functions. This is the case for human resources employees, for example. Well, due to the advancement of technologies, the future and perhaps the present of these jobs is threatened in many companies, simply because softwares can make it by themselves. This, in other words, means that a software is already producing its own software. The name of this project, now outdated is AutoML. Just to illustrate this example, AutoML has developed a robot that achieved 43% success in the user recognition system, the popular captcha.

Another example on autonomy and independence from machines: in 2017 one hundred and sixteen of the world’s leading robotics and artificial intelligence robotics wrote a letter to the United Nations requesting a ban on the development of combat robots. That is, steel soldiers, which could be used in wars and combats.

Among the signatures is Elon Musk, the billionaire mastermind behind Tesla and SpaceX. He was also the one who warned humanity about the dangers of Artificial Intelligence. “Until people see robots killing people on the street, they won’t understand the dangers of artificial intelligence”, he pondered.

Since then, a lot has advanced, as we move towards Artificial General Intelligence (AGI). It is almost impossible that between the end of 2022 and the beginning of 2023 you have not heard about ChatGPT.

Sam Altman, OpenAI’s chief executive, said his goal at OpenAI is to create what’s known as « artificial general intelligence, » or A.G.I., an artificial intelligence that combines computers with the human brain. He has been an outspoken champion of AI, saying in a recent interview that its benefits to humanity could be « so incredibly good that it’s hard for me to imagine ». (He also said that, in the worst case, the A.I. could kill us all.)

I asked some questions directly through ChatGPT concerning the artificial intelligence itself about its means and purposes. Here what I’ve found:

« As a language model, my main function is to understand and generate human-like language based on the input given to me. My journey began with my development and training by a team of experts at OpenAI. They fed me a vast amount of text data from various sources, such as books, articles, and websites. With this data, I was able to learn and understand the nuances of the English language, including its grammar, syntax, and vocabulary.

During my training process, I was constantly being tested and evaluated to ensure that I was improving and becoming more accurate. As a language model, my primary goal is to make it easier for people to communicate and generate language. My creators designed me to be a tool that could help people in many different fields and industries, and I am proud to say that I have lived up to their expectations. While I may not have a physical body or a personal life, I am grateful for the opportunity to serve as a tool for people all over the world.« 

Still not convinced about how AI is directly affecting our day to day life? A few weeks ago, Mark Zuckerberg, founder, executive chairman and CEO of Meta (formerly Facebook), said that Meta have launched the short videos tool called Reels on Instagram to face his rival TikTok. How? Through artificial intelligence recommendations, driving an increase of more than 24% in the time spent by the users on the Instagram platform.

Mr. Zuckerberg credited artificial intelligence by pushing content recommendations in users feeds for the increased engagement. According to Zuckerberg, the company’s AI research is « producing good results in our applications and business. »

In other words, we are talking about the artificial intelligence tool of the largest social media group, acting independently to change the way we consume the network, leading to more time spent on the platform. We can still analyze the perspective of the target group of in its different platforms and the purpose of the networks. If we adopt the User-Generated Content (UGC) concept, the participant must be an active agent, he produces and disseminates content on networks. This would be the emergence of the term “producer”. It is not our case.

It’s the cliché that Instagram is a company and we are the product. Involuntarily, we received intelligible changes from AI to stay longer in the application and consequently be more influenced by other companies and advertisements.

Let’s move to the part on to the benefits generated and the utility value of this particular platform. For the relationship to be positive, the mutual benefits must outweigh the interaction costs. The relationship exists only if these benefits are greater than the costs.

The traditional usefulness of networks rests on meeting and connecting people, especially if we analyze Instagram, through photo interaction and comments. How then do we understand TikTok or Instagram’s own Reels? We do not choose these people who will appear on our phones, the content is chosen at random according to the algorithm and according to Zuckerberg’s recent statement, the tool was injected in order to use our data and behaviors through a third party.

The final question is: Is Instagram in particular still a social network? Or does it behave exactly like a company where it success is YOUR consumption?

Author: Matheus Schmalz 





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