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Co-Founder of Apple’s Warnings about AI and Misinformation

I’m very concerned about AI and it’s impact on various aspects of art and culture. When I came across this interview on BBC, I thought it would interest my readers.

Background Info

Firstly, let me start with two introductory paragraphs to give you some background:

Definition of “AI: an abbreviation for “artificial intelligence,” it is applied to computer programs that are able to carry out tasks that usually require human intelligence. This includes systems that can recognise objects in images, chatbots that are able to respond and interact with human-like answers, those that can generate images and video clips based on a prompt from a human operator, and those that can mimic natural human speech. And likely more to come…

About Steve Wozniak: in 1976, he co-founded Apple with Steve Jobs, and invented the first Apple computer in 1977. He signed an open letter in March of 2023 with Elon Musk calling for a pause in the development of the most powerful AI models.

In May of 2023, BBC Technology Editor Zoe Kleinman interviewed Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak regarding his thoughts about AI. This article is a summary of the points he made in that interview.

A Powerful Tool for “Bad Actors”

He said, “AI is so intelligent it’s open to the bad players, the ones that want to trick you about who they are.” He went on to say that he believes that AI content should be clearly labelled as such, and that regulation was needed for the AI sector. This makes a lot of sense to me, although I have little faith in regulators.

Mr. Wozniak did say that he doesn’t believe AI will replace humans because it lacks emotion, but he also warned that it might provide the tools to enable bad actors perpetuating scams or spreading misinformation to be even more persuasive. This is because programs such as ChatGPT can create text which sounds both very human and intelligent. This is huuuuge – we already have so much misinformation being spread on social media and unethical “news” channels that this might only amplify the problem!

This Technology is Unstoppable

Based on his experience as a pioneer of computing, Mr. Wozniak said that opportunities that were missed back when the internet was just beginning should be used as lessons for today’s designers of AI. While I applaud this, I can’t help but wonder if the profit motive might get in the way of this!

He also believes that “we can’t stop the technology,” but we can better educate people so they are more equipped to spot fraud and malicious attempts to take their personal information or money. This is, in my opinion, a great concept – the execution, however, is easier said than done. It might be difficult to educate people who are insulated from both legitimate educational resources and the truth.

Regulations Are Needed

He is calling for legislation to hold Big Tech to account. In his view, they “feel they can kind of get away with anything.” He believes that the negative consequences for everything generated by an AI, and then distributed to the public, should be the responsibility of those who published it.

However, he was sceptical that regulators would act, or that, if they did, that they would get it right. He said, “I think the forces that drive for money usually win out, which is sort of sad.” Sadly, I wholeheartedly agree with this somewhat pessimistic view.

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