Nazareth College responds to open letter about AI technology

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. In an open letter Wednesday, Elon Musk and more than 1,000 other technology leaders urged developers to pump the brakes on new artificial technology they feel would pose a risk to society and humanity.

This month Microsoft unveiled its fourth version of its ChatGPT, or Generated Pre-trained Transformer, an AI program that surprised many users by its unique ability to carry on realistic conversations with users. These are reasons that Musk and other experts here in Rochester are calling for a pause before the full impact of the technology is fully realized.

For many industry experts, AI is a technology that still needs more time under the microscope.

“There’s this rush towards profitability and getting AI to the public before a competitor can, but ultimately, there is no idea where we are going with this, and that really does present a huge amount of danger because of the idea of the vagueness involved with it, the idea that no one has thought this through,” Allan said.

Nazareth College Director of the Institute of Technology and Artificial Intelligence & Society Jeffrey Allan said that more studies should be done before moving forward.

“We need to make people more aware of what really the capabilities as well as the risks are and that is something that will come from institutions like ITAIS Nazareth here,” Allan said. “We are kind of getting on the forefront of that from the human aspect of it and creating the professionals who will advise businesses for example.”

In an open letter Wednesday, Elon Musk and other tech industry executives say that “powerful AI systems should be developed only once we are confident that their effects will be positive and their risks will be manageable,” Allan said.

It’s why Allan said an aggressive but cautious path toward learning and developing these technologies is being taken at Nazareth College.

“We kind of take a duel approach,” Allan said. “Some of the programs we are offering through ITAIS are more geared to more responsible data science, for example, where we are teaching about the technical aspects where we also be looking at the business side of things, making the executive and business decisions, which will influence the decisions and creation of products.”

It’s not so much the advancement of the technology that’s a concern. It’s more of a worry that it’s being done in an appropriate way.

“AI in its current form could displace 160 million jobs, something that we truly need to think about now, while we still have an opportunity,” Allan said.

This is all in an effort to strike the perfect balance between human innovation and automation takeover.