February 26, 2024

Dr. Abeba Birhane, an expert in artificial intelligence, discussed the dangers of generative AI technologies such as ChatGPT. While these technologies can seem powerful and useful, they suffer from major drawbacks and limitations. These systems often suffer from hallucination, generating incorrect or non-existent information. Additionally, image generators like DALL-E and Midjourney can exacerbate stereotypes in society based on the data they are trained on. Darker-skinned individuals tend to suffer negative consequences, especially in the context of facial recognition systems. For instance, six black individuals in the US were falsely accused of crimes due to facial recognition match errors. Governments have begun to regulate AI technology, but big tech companies are heavily involved in shaping these regulations, leading to conflicts of interest. However, Dr. Birhane also pointed out positive examples of AI used for good, such as the Māori community in New Zealand creating speech technology to retrieve their language that was lost due to colonization. She emphasized the importance of the objective of AI being to serve and help people rather than just cutting costs and maximizing profits. In conclusion, the discussion centered on the need for informed regulation and ethical use of AI technology considering its real impacts on society.

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