Attention all people! This is Christian Guyton, your friendly BingoTingo Computing Editor and by no means a robot, here to update you on the impact of AI expansion on human intelligence.
Now I know what you’re thinking: “AI makes our lives so much easier, why should I worry?” And you are not wrong! AI has revolutionized many aspects of our lives, from navigation to language translation.
However, if we are not careful, our reliance on AI could lead to a decline in human intelligence. When we rely on AI to answer every question, we can begin to lose our critical thinking skills, creativity, and ability to solve problems on our own.
So, here’s the deal, let’s use AI as a tool to enhance our intelligence, not replace it. Let’s keep exercising our brains by thinking, exploring and creating. After all, there is no AI in the world that can replace the power of the human mind.
You’ve just been fooled
Attention all people! This is Christian Guyton, and this time for real. As you may have gathered, that intro was actually written by ChatGPT (with some careful editing by me), because right now AI can produce just about anything you ask for, and I wanted to make a point about how simple it’s for machine learning programs like ChatGPT to generate answers to our prompts and questions.
However, the chatbot is right: as AI continues to seep into every aspect of our lives and we come to rely more and more on it, the dangers it poses to human intelligence should not be underestimated.
I started to worry about this when I first read the suggested questions users can ask Microsoft’s new ones ChatGPT powered Bing search engine (which I think still should be called something else). The suggestions were almost terrifyingly mundane:
“Give me a three-course meal for six people who don’t eat fish.” “Give me a thirty minute workout routine.” Are these really questions that we don’t have the resources to answer ourselves? Real? If you can’t think of three non-seafood dishes to make for your next dinner party, you probably have bigger problems than an AI search engine can handle.
The impact of AI-assisted living
I’m not going to ignore the potential benefits of AI for human society right away. There are plenty of tasks already performed by computers (or low-paid human workers) that can be better automated through the use of specialized machine learning tools. We’ve already seen the benefits of “virtual assistants” like Siri and Cortana; AI could offer these programs huge advancements.
But I would like you to think about the generations of children – most of them probably not even born yet – who will grow up in a world of AI-powered software. I don’t want to sound like a tech-averse parent who thinks Fortnite is going to turn their kids into killing machines, but we can’t ignore the impact of technology on human growth and development.
There have been numerous studies on the effects of technology use on brain health, and while there is no scientific consensus on the subject, there is at least some evidence that heavy use of technology is not good for our minds and our body.
This particular study (opens in new tab) from the University of California looked at the possible effects from a broad perspective, considering the consequences that the use of digital technology could have on sleep, attention span, emotional intelligence and cognitive development. These were all found to be areas where heavy use of technology could cause serious problems for those affected, and the study also examined technology addiction as a resulting effect.
Google can make us smarter, ChatGPT cannot
The rise of AI threatens to take these issues one step further. While it could be argued that Google has negatively impacted basic human intelligence by putting information at our fingertips and contributing to the death of conventional book learning, the UoC study actually concluded that search engines benefit brain health. can come.
The abstract notes that “older adults learning to search online show a significant increase in brain neural activity during simulated Internet searches,” supporting the theory that tools like Google may actually benefit human intelligence through curiosity and promote independent thinking.
As the study later confirms, this is because search engines provide you any possible answer to your questionand let yourself choose what information you want to take with you. Google gives you a wealth of knowledge, but it’s still up to you to decide which parts are important, placing more emphasis on critical thinking than on academic knowledge.
Bing’s ChatGPT feature does not do this. What it does is give you An answer, an answer it generates for you by studying all available information and drawing its own conclusions. Remember when you were a little kid and everything your parents said was considered absolute truth? That’s what ChatGPT aims to be. Gone is the need for critical thinking; just do what the chatbot says.
Don’t panic – at least not yet
Children are, of course, the group most affected by this. Each new generation adapts to new technologies faster than the last, so we can reasonably assume that in a few years or decades we will have kids getting the answers to all their questions from an AI chatbot embedded in their phones.
Of course, that scenario brings its own security issues, but I’m not immediately concerned about that. What worries me is that these children will not develop the critical thinking skills necessary to be fully functioning members of society. I can’t be the only one looking at Microsoft’s implementation of ChatGPT and getting visions of it that one scene from WALL-E (opens in new tab). It threatens the “slow death” of humanity, where instead of an evil AI wiping us out in one fell swoop like doomsday, we become so dependent on it that we no longer live meaningful lives.
But maybe I’m just scared. There were academics who argued that Google would lead to a total collapse of human curiosity, and universities today are busier than they were before the advent of search engines. The idea that “video games cause violence” has long been widely debunked, along with “action movies cause violence” and “rock music causes violence”. New technology shouldn’t be scary, right?
Besides, ChatGPT is not ready to ruin children’s brains anyway. It didn’t take long for the AI to kick in sending weird messages to users and worrying about its own existence, prompting Microsoft to do so limit it to five responses per conversationpresumably to prevent neural deconcentration in the machine learning software.
Google’s answer to ChatGPT, Bard, doesn’t really fare any better. The company’s own employees joked about it after a shaky first showing, proving that AI still has a lot of teething troubles, and we won’t sell our souls to the machines just yet. But if you’re a parent, you should be wary of how much access your kids have to tools like ChatGPT; like TV and video games, technology should never replace the actual act of parenting.