Notre Dame professors talk advantages and concerns with open AI

Updated: Apr. 19, 2023 at 6:25 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) -We’re taking a closer look at the growth of artificial intelligence. It’s one of the topics being talked about today during IDEA week in South Bend.

From autonomous cars to smart homes, AI technology is becoming increasingly ubiquitous in our daily lives. In this report, we’ll be taking a closer look at how AI is being used right here in our city, and the impact it’s having on businesses, residents, and the workforce, like the role it just played in writing everything we’ve said up to this point in this story.

The same advantages that helped us write the intro to this story are some of the same things these Notre Dame professors say cause concerns.

“The fact that you can chat with it and you can ask it questions, and it seems to give really eloquent and reasonable answers creates a lot of excitement, but the potential for misunderstanding and misinformation and potential abuse is something we have to pay attention to as well,” said Associate Director for Academic Affairs, ND TEC Warren von Eschenbach.

Experts dubbed these mistakes as “hallucinations”—the human equivalent to giving false information with such confidence that the recipient accepts it as fact.

“We see hallucinations all the time so we need human fact-checkers to ensure this is not a hallucination and that there are facts to support this,” said Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business Professor of IT, Analytics, and Operations Corey Angst.

That’s a concern ChatGPT is pretty aware of, posting a disclaimer about potential inaccuracies right on their chat pages.

“They’re biased right, because it’s trained on a finite set of information that itself is representative of a certain group,” von Eschenbach said.

Meaning the data sets these programs heavily rely on can also reflect any conscious or unconscious biases held by AI researchers, a typically white male-dominated field.

And even though these programs are not alive, they need a lot of resources to keep chatting. In training alone, the amount of water used to cool the systems is comparable to a nuclear reactor, and it uses enough energy to power 120 homes for a whole year according to one of the panelists.

These experts also said AI programs will impact jobs, especially ones for those in news. However, the most likely scenario is not an overall replacement of people like us at 16 News Now, but more of an adaptation that allows professionals to work side-by-side AI programs.