The forum addresses ethical and business challenges in AI


The panellists are seated on the stage in the Wallis Annenberg Hall Forum
Experts on the panel, including Craig Knoblock, Gaia Dempsey and Ramsay Brown, spoke about the current state of artificial intelligence. Dempsey spoke about negative feelings towards current technologies like ChatGPT. (Anthony Fu | Daily Trojan)

The Media, Economics & Entrepreneurship program hosted a panel on Wednesday to discuss how the advent of artificial intelligence is transforming the workforce and posing ethical challenges in business. Since ChatGPT first went public earlier this year, some USC students have been using the tool for essays, coding, and other assignments.

Gabriel Kahn, professor of professional journalism practice and co-founder of M{2e}, said he organized the discussion to encourage students to think about the challenges expected from chatbots and to reconsider the importance of education.

“[There’s a big question about chatbots, which is:] ‘If you let a chatbot do your homework, what job can you expect?’” Kahn said.

The emergence of tools like ChatGPT, Kahn said, presents entirely new challenges that “force you to think in new and different ways,” and the AI ​​forum is an opportunity “to have that conversation in ways that aren’t.” is only black or white. ”

During the panel, three experts in AI technology spoke about the impact of chatbots on future generations. Craig Knoblock, research professor of computer and spatial sciences and vice dean of the Viterbi School of Engineering, provided an overview of where he thinks the field is going.

“We’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg,” said Knoblock, who currently serves as executive director of the Information Science Institute, an organization focused on research into AI and machine learning, including natural language, machine translation, and information. “We’re going to see a lot more opportunities for technology to improve things like medical care. We will see that the things that are already there perform much better.”

Panelists on a stage speak to a crowd
Ramsay Brown, chief executive officer of Mission Control (The AI ​​Responsibility Lab), asked listeners to be optimistic about artificial intelligence. (Anthony Fu | Daily Trojan)

Gaia Dempsey — founder of 7th Future, a research consultancy focused on AI, augmented reality, and Internet of Things technologies — first conducted an impromptu survey of participants’ attitudes towards chatbots in general. More than half of the listeners said they were concerned about the changes that chatbots like ChatGPT are bringing. Noting the audience’s concerns, she offered a glimmer of hope as she discussed a solution she and her team have been working on: simulating possible futures.

“We use scenario flow techniques, creating scenarios and forecasts, to try to develop concrete future scenarios that we believe are grounded in a technical reality and also to concrete what we think these different futures will look like could,” Dempsey said.

Ramsay Brown, chief executive officer of Mission Control (The AI ​​Responsibility Lab), said it was important to maintain optimism about the development of AI while being aware of its potential to disrupt industries and deprive human jobs substitute. Mission Control helps companies move AI faster while doing less damage by dedicating itself to maximizing the revolutionary gains that AI brings to the world while minimizing the harm, risk and negative consequences of this transformative technology.

“A lot of people have basically run out of positive vision for the future,” Brown said. “One of the things we’re missing is a meaningful, actionable, realistic discourse about the main remaining issues we have… the nature of the work [AI companies] doing is the cornerstone of that, because you have to have realistic visions of where this is going that are better than today.”

Both Knoblock and Dempsey said that a basic understanding of AI and its real-world applications has benefits simply because of the current high demand for such technologies. They also encouraged students to explore different areas of AI, such as machine learning and natural language processing, by taking courses in computer science, data science, and statistics.

Roy Gantz, a sophomore with a major in public relations who attended the forum, said he had a change of heart about developments in AI after the event.

“I really liked Ramsey’s comment about optimism,” Gantz said. “It’s really true that everything I see is so negative… and it’s important that we try to imagine the best scenario rather than go straight to the horrible movie.”

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