ChatGPT isnt a great leap forward, its an expensive deal with the devil
John Naughton
February 4, 2023
The Guardian
Originally Posted by article
The new chatbot is generating a lot of hype, but we would do well to consider its human and environmental cost
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January 1966... Joseph Weizenbaum, a computer scientist at MIT, unveiled Eliza, which would have been called the worlds first chatbot if that term had existed at the time. Weizenbaum wrote the software ... to demonstrate that communications between humans and computers were inevitably superficial.
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Weizenbaum wrote the program to show that while machines could apparently copy human behaviour, it was really just like a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat: an illusion. And once you know how the trick was done, Weizenbaum thought, it ceased to be an illusion. There was nothing secret about Eliza: if you read the code then you could understand how it did its stuff. What took its creator aback was that even if people knew it was just a program they seemed to take it seriously. Theres a famous story about his secretary asking him to leave the room while she had her conversation with Eliza. People were utterly entranced by it.
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After the publication of Weizenbaums paper about Eliza, it didnt take long for some people (including some practising psychiatrists) to start saying that, if a machine could do this kind of thing, who needed psychotherapists? Weizenbaum was as appalled by this as todays educationists and artists are by the contemporary slavering over the tools of generative AI.
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The intriguing echo of Eliza in thinking about ChatGPT is that people regard it as magical even though they know how it works as a stochastic parrot (in the words of Timnit Gebru, a well-known researcher) or as a machine for hi-tech plagiarism (Noam Chomsky).
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Weizenbaum pointed out that we are incessantly striking Faustian bargains with this technology. In such contracts, both sides get something: the devil gets the human soul; humans get the services that delight us. Sometimes, the trade-off works for us, but with this stuff, if we eventually decide that it does not, it will be too late.
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(emphasis added)

Unfortunately, it appears as though many people are forgetting the ARTIFICIAL aspect of Artificial Intelligence; they may believe that with AI in place, there is little need to develop human potential for intelligence. This follows the example of using electronic calculators to replace working out everyday math problems on paper or in one's head.