AS a Member of Parliament, I am constantly looking to the future and considering how new technologies will impact our society and economy. One of the most significant developments in recent years has been the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), which has the potential to revolutionise many industries and change the way we live our lives.
However, with this potential also comes uncertainty and fear. The rise of AI has sparked debate about the potential negative effects on employment and privacy, as well as the ethical implications of creating machines that can think and act like humans.
It is important to remember that we have been through this before. The introduction of the printing press, for example, had a profound impact on society and the economy, but it also sparked fears about the loss of jobs and the spread of misinformation. Despite these concerns, the printing press ultimately proved to be a transformative technology that paved the way for many of the advancements we take for granted today.
Will AI ultimately have the same positive impact? I am not so sure. In highly technical and analytical fields such as medicine, the helpful implications of AI are clear.
Indeed, it is already being used to analyse large amounts of health data and it is increasingly being used to diagnose based on images – detecting diseases such as breast cancer at rates surpassing human equivalents.
How long before it is the AI itself that gives the prescription and treatment recommendations? Not long, I am sure.
The same is true for other technical jobs such as law, engineering, or architecture. These jobs take years of training and education.
An advanced AI program would be able to write a will, design a bridge, or plan a building – probably all at the same time – essentially doing the work of thousands of qualified people in a matter of seconds.
And it isn’t just technical sectors that will be affected. This technological advancement will have implications on the creative sector too. There are already AI programs that can draw incredibly realistic pictures from very simple prompts, as well as write scripts or short fiction.
How long before there is a program that can create a photo-realistic video clip of anything that it is told to? Perhaps such a program already exists.
My hope is that this technology will act purely as a tool, assisting us with our jobs rather than supplanting us. After all, I do wonder what the implication would be for the human species if we render ourselves redundant.
How likely is that to happen?
Well, what if I were to tell you that the first three paragraphs of this very article, word for word, were written by an AI program called ChatGPT with the prompt that it imagine itself as a Member of Parliament writing for a local newspaper on this topic.
It is already quite clear that the effects of this technological revolution are going to be widespread.