AI could cause job losses and increase carbon emissions, the report shows

Breakthroughs in artificial intelligence could lead to a short-term rise in unemployment, a rise in carbon emissions and leave regulators behind in the wake of technological advances, according to an international panel of experts.

The inaugural report on the safety of advanced AI, inspired by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has raised a number of concerns about a technology that has rocketed up the political and regulatory agenda after leaps and bounds, such as the ChatGPT chatbot.

The panel behind the study, chaired by leading computer scientist Yoshua Bengio, acknowledges that there is far from universal agreement on the technology. “AI has enormous potential to change our lives for the better, but it also comes with risks,” says Bengio.

Bengio was commissioned by the UK government to chair the report, which was announced at the global AI security summit in Bletchley Park last year, with panellists nominated by 30 countries, as well as the EU and the UN.

The report, which is being released ahead of next week’s subsequent AI summit in Seoul – where Rishi Sunak will co-chair the opening session via video link – focuses on general-purpose AI, the term for computer systems that can perform a wide range of tasks that usually go together. with intelligent beings.

When it comes to one of the most sensitive aspects of the technology’s impact, the panel says AI could have a “significant impact” on the labor market by enabling the automation of a number of tasks.

In addition to ChatGPT, a text generation tool that is also highly adept at writing software code, recent developments have yielded products that can produce highly compelling video, images, and audio from simple, hand-typed prompts – potentially covering a large number of threaten professions.

The report says many people could lose their jobs, but adds that some economists believe layoffs could be offset by the creation of new positions due to technology and demand in non-automated sectors.

It also cites an article from the International Monetary Fund stating that 60% of jobs in advanced economies are exposed to AI, although that could lead to a range of outcomes – from automating substantial parts of a person’s work to supplementing it.

However, the gap between workers learning new skills or moving to new jobs can still lead to short-term unemployment.

“Labor market freedoms, such as the time it takes for workers to learn new skills or move for new jobs, could lead to unemployment in the short term, even if overall labor demand remains unchanged,” the report says.

The report also raises environmental concerns by flagging the growing use of data centers to train and operate the AI ​​models that underpin products like ChatGPT.

“This trend could continue, possibly leading to sharply increasing CO2 emissions2 emissions,” the report said, adding that AI could become the largest contributor to data center electricity consumption in the near future.

The Seoul summit takes place against the backdrop of increased political and regulatory activity related to AI in the UK, US and EU. The panel warns that regulators may be overwhelmed by the rapid pace of change, citing the “potential disparity between the pace of technological progress and the pace of regulatory response.”

Other potential risks highlighted in the report include concerns about bias, reflected by the fact that commonly used AI models are trained on data that “disproportionately represents Western cultures,” as well as fears about control over AI losing systems.

The report concludes that the near future surrounding general-purpose AI is “uncertain,” with “very positive” and “very negative” outcomes, and that the decisions of societies and governments will play a key role in the advancement of the technology.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *