Had enough of hearing about ChatGPT? Whatever you think, it’s at least a good thing that AI is finally getting the attention it deserves. For decades, many AI researchers have predicted the arrival of Generative AI. Now that ChatGPT is available to everyone, many more people can experience it first-hand to understand what’s the big deal.

Before you just start entering all of your personal content and questions into ChatGPT, just know that whatever you enter, it’s also learning about you. If you just don’t care, then type away. 

I recall a discussion about AI between Jack Ma and Elon Musk back in 2019. Jack Ma was basically stating that AI will be mastered by humans and that there is nothing to be afraid of, but Elon Musk was saying that AI will overtake human intelligence and change most everything in a way that can be hazardous to humanity (by the way, where in the World is Jack?).

Just recently “the godfather” of AI, Geoffrey Hinton at Google left so he can better voice his concerns. If you don’t already, you may want to know who he is and what he has to say (start with this interview by CBS). 

With the launch of ChatGPT, it has left many people and experts scratching their heads as to how AI was able to do so much so soon. 

Well we’re here now so the next question is whether the bad will triumph over the good uses of AI. 

I have been speaking with numerous AI leaders for over a decade, and what they have all been saying appears to be coming true. Today, none of them say they are surprised about what the AI is doing, rather, they say that we haven’t seen anything yet. One thing they are all saying is that no one really expected AI to get this powerful this fast. They are also saying we need to slow down!

How would you slow things down? We see governments attempting to get their heads around AI in order to enact legislation, but I wonder if it will be too little, too late. And, how do you do that on a global level? 

Stronger privacy and cybersecurity regulations were only recently enacted and we are not still sure about the impact it will have on cybercrime.

AI fundamentally enables humans to accomplish more with less. It can help you become more superhuman-like in some ways. If that’s the case, isn’t it also turning criminals into super-criminals? 

You simply cannot prevent bad actors from employing any tool that provides them an advantage in criminal activities. This latest AI version is merely another tool that they will find creative ways to exploit. 

AI continues to learn and accomplish things faster and in ways that no one expected (including the developers of ChatGPT). They’re busy putting up guardrails, but it feels like they’re adjusting the plane’s engines while it’s flying through heavy turbulence (I also heard that ChatGPT was recently hacked).

It appears that we are currently on a 10X exponential trajectory, and who knows what will happen next or when we will awaken to the next generation of super AI.

Will we learn from history? 

Most of us are familiar with algorithms, which were the basic precursors for AI. Algorithms continue to be tweaked on all social media and content platforms, including Facebook, YouTube, and TikTok etc.. We are now seeing what deeper nefarious activities can be done with social apps like TikTok. What seemed like fun before is now turning into a growing risk.

We already saw how social media can impact a wide range of conspiracies, political results, and propaganda. These algorithms are designed to give us more of what we “want” whether we want it or not!  The social media gatekeepers know that when you feed people content that makes them upset or agree with their point of view, you generate more clicks. This fuels an addictive behaviour that has the potential to have a significant influence on the population.

These algorithms function similarly to the knobs on your stereo, allowing the operator to control the levels. With AI, the stereo is the operator and it decides on the adjustments. 

You may be able to turn off your social media but unfortunately, you will not be able to disengage from AI since it will always have an impact on almost everything you do. 

So what happens when you inject this super AI into the game?  

Back up a bit and think about those “cute” looking devices that so many have already put into their homes to do all sorts of things – Apple’s Siri, Google’s Home, and Amazon’s Alexa. For years, people have been conversing with a language-based AI, and it has been learning (yes, it’s always listening). Yet another example how AI has ALREADY penetrated our private space and is expanding faster. 

AI is already in many places, and while it can be subtle, it’s getting much more pervasive and intrusive. Many applications already have more sophisticated AI embedded in them. Here is a “top 10” list of current AI applications from a pretty good source, but there are many others. Keep in mind that what is best today, can instantly change tomorrow. Take a look at Adobe’s Firefly that allows you to do text to video. Microsoft’s Copilot is now available on all their applications. And, don’t forget about Amazon’s Bedrock coming up fast. Other companies like ZOHO has been using AI for many years and has since baked in ChatGPT to help its users.

As the AI race heats up, it would appear that we are all part of a unique global AI experiment taking place in real time.

How insane can Artificial Intelligence really get? 

I’ve heard that even without a camera, it can reliably locate people in a room based on the Wi-Fi signal. As face recognition becomes even more powerful, everyone can be tracked and identified in real time. Police are already driving around with similar technology scanning licence plates in real time.

Many people have asked ChatGPT to create paintings, poems, and music and it did it quite well for this initial version. AI is about figuring out what you want before you think about what you want, which may be one of the dangers of AI because, eventually, who knows who is guiding who.

AI can now mimic practically anyone’s voice after only 3 seconds of listening. This will fuel the growth of deep fakes and make them more credible. Watch out for those grandparents receiving deepfake calls from their “grandkids” asking for money. Deepfakes will get much better and probably much sooner than we think.

AI is always learning without instructions from humans. In one example, the AI was requested to find the answer to some problem, then it was asked to explain it in another language and it did so despite the fact that it had not been designed to do so! This AI appears to have the power to just keep learning 24/7/365 as it tries to digest all information and anticipate all possible outcomes.

Are you worried yet?

Let’s assume that AI can be both good and bad.

The pundits in both camps will continue to argue the good, bad and ugly of AI, but what will be the final outcome. Will the good outweigh the bad or vice versa?

Consider today to be the “wild west” of artificial intelligence. Until we see effective regulations and oversight like we currently have with other things like aviation, food and drugs, cars  etc, then it’s a buyer’s beware market.

AI is already being used in more sophisticated cyber attacks such as improved phishing content, more deep-fake impersonations and more automation in creating malicious code. At the very least, this artificial intelligence will help many more lesser-skilled hackers improve their game. As such the more immediate threat coming from AI is probably cyberattacks!

The channel will need to be on the front lines of this battle in order to protect themselves and their customers from the bad AI while also exploiting the good side of AI. To stay ahead of the curve, all channel partners must increase their understanding and use of AI. 

If you want to learn more about what we’re doing to support the cybersecurity channel community in this battle, go to Cybersecurity Defense Ecosystem.

Just one example that surprised me about AI is its impact on the fashion industry. 

AI-generated models, AI-generated designs, and AI-generated fashion shows are now a thing. The first AI fashion show was recently held in New York. Can you imagine a fashion company not needing to hire or pay for models or designers by using AI? Why pay for the model when AI can create one or one thousand? So you say what about the physical runway models? Holograms, virtual reality and who knows what’s next can also put an end to that. While I doubt it will destroy all of the jobs in the fashion industry, you can see how it can be impacted.

We already have tools to help with better writing, better graphics, better marketing campaigns, schoolwork (think digital tutor for each student), better photos, self-driving cars etc… In a previous piece, I discussed how artificial intelligence is already replacing some lawyers and that was before ChatGPT.

So, what are your options if you are a channel partner? 

It’s good to think of AI as your personal digital assistant. Then, figure out  how you can help your clients to build out their personal digital assistants. 

Start learning fast if you are not already doing so. Rethink how you use AI in your business to manage all sorts of workloads. Bake AI into your websites so buyers can easily find what they are looking for. Use AI to condense long documents or write better. Use AI in your marketing campaigns, but be careful not to rely on it 100%. Figure out how you can leverage AI to fight back cybercrime (it’s already baked into many cybersecurity solutions). Explore how AI can help your clients to increase productivity. Host educational sessions on AI for your clients. Find your differentiator in AI. 

At the upcoming ChannelNEXT events, we will be doubling down on AI to help the channel win.

No one can guarantee that this AI train will lead to the desired destination. It will be bumpy, but I am hoping that together we can figure out how to guide its use for good and fight back the bad. 

The ways in which AI can benefit in the creation of content and getting more efficiency from just about every area will no doubt be welcomed. AI will probably make its most important impact on the health of humans. If AI can do all that plus help people do more with less so they have the time for fun, then AI is awesome.

The bottom line is everyone is responsible for making their own judgments based on what is best for them. On my end, I intend to continue using AI to address a range of job-related efficiency issues. The more I can accomplish in a shorter period of time, the more time I have for fun. That being said, I am not relying on it blindly! I am aware :o) 

Future prediction? 

Who knows? No one! It seems like Generative AI will truly be able help humans to augment their intelligence that can be used for good or bad. Maybe it will eventually become much smarter than humans and maybe see us as the weakest link. We know that there will be many AI platforms to leverage and with that comes more choice and benefits. WIth competition, it should lead to better AI, more privacy rules and effective regulations. For now, many smart people are talking about AI so hopefully that will force AI to do more good than bad. I am just hoping that someone has their hands on the lever to shut it down if it goes rogue.

I would suggest using AI in the same way that you would use salt. Too much or too little might be harmful to one’s health. Avoiding excessive use may be the best approach. 

This article was still written by a human, but who knows for how long that will continue :o).