Future ChatGPT versions could replace a majority of work people do today, says Ben Goertzel

According to cognitive scientist Ben Goertzel, we are currently witnessing a groundbreaking moment in artificial intelligence technology. As one of the co-developers of Sophia the Robot, an AI with human-like characteristics, Goertzel acknowledges that there is a lot of hype surrounding the field of AI. However, he firmly believes that the new large language models that power generative AI have the potential to truly transform our world.

Goertzel asserts that generative AI models, such as the one used by ChatGPT, could potentially replace many of the tasks currently performed by human workers. He argues that most jobs do not require extraordinary levels of creativity or innovation.

Regarding this, Goertzel stated, "You don't need to be incredibly creative and innovative or make big leaps to do most people's jobs, as it turns out."

Furthermore, he discussed the impact of AI tools automating significant portions of people's jobs. This could potentially lead to industry restructuring and the reassignment of job responsibilities. For example, drive-through fast-food workers and news copy editors are some of the professions affected by AI.

Goertzel explained, "Tools like Grammarly decrease the need for human copy editors. They don't entirely eliminate the job, but they certainly reduce the need. Automatic tools can be used for writing journalistic articles as well. They've been writing sports score summaries and weather reports for a long time."

(Note: While a good editor cannot be replaced, I personally use Grammarly Pro as a valuable copy-checking tool for most of my stories.)

Despite this, Goertzel emphasizes that there are two main areas where AI will not replace human workers: jobs that rely on human interaction and those that require groundbreaking creativity.

He states, "So one class of jobs that won't become obsolete are those where human contact is essential." This includes professions like preschool teachers, political strategists, and artists.

Generative AI chatbots are incredibly powerful, to the point where one may wonder if they possess consciousness.

However, Goertzel asserts that whether or not they are conscious is irrelevant. He believes that humans will eventually come to accept the self-awareness of artificial general intelligence (AGI) based on intuitive and gut-level understanding, similar to how we accept the consciousness of other humans.

"I don't think we need to resolve the open questions in the philosophy of consciousness to build machines that can think at a human level or even have superhuman thinking abilities," he said. "But I believe we can make these questions feel irrelevant."

Goertzel also commented on the distinction between AI models described as "narrow" and those that possess AGI, emphasizing that AGI would have the capability for human-like thinking and creativity. He noted that developers are closer than ever to achieving AGI and predicted that breakthroughs in AGI could happen within the next three to ten years. While current AI technology falls short of AGI, Goertzel remains optimistic that combining large language models, machine reasoning, and evolutionary learning will accelerate progress towards AGI.

He stated, "Today's generative AIs are capable of imitating general AIs by simply having an extensive range of training data. They don't have to go far beyond that training data to achieve remarkable results. It's a testament to the power of computer networks and multi-GPU server farms."

Also: How ChatGPT works

Goertzel also highlighted the philosophical questions raised by AI and consciousness. He drew parallels with the concept of time, noting that while the philosophy of time remains unresolved, humans have learned to utilize relativistic time dilation. He suggests that a similar approach may be taken with AI and AGI, allowing for significant advancements without the need for definitive philosophical answers.

Goertzel's insights provide a glimpse into the future of AI, and his optimism about the potential of AGI to revolutionize the world serves as a compelling reminder of the impact AI may have on society. Whether viewed with excitement or caution, the advancements in AI and AGI will undoubtedly provoke profound thought and discussion for years to come.

"We won't necessarily have all the philosophical problems resolved, right? And I think we'll be okay with that," he concluded.

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