The morally void world of ChatGPT | Aysha Taryam - GulfToday

The morally void world of ChatGPT

Aysha Taryam


Editor-in-Chief, Gulf Today News and Media.

The photo has been used for illustrative purposes.

The year has only just begun, and it has already ushered in a concept that seems unescapable. We have been toying with the idea of what Artificial Intelligence is and can become, debates have taken place discussing the theoretical reasonings behind this creation and the direction with which it might take towards integration into different facets of human life. An ongoing debate that has been taking place on the sidelines of conferences highlighting the technical jargon and practical uses of AI. It seemed to the people concerned with the implications of AI that they had more time to dissect it before they came face to face with the magnitude of its power. The world was blindsided by the speed with which programs like ChatGPT seemed to thrust us head-on into the oncoming supremacy of AI capabilities.

ChatGPT, short for Chat Generative Pre-Trained Transformer, describes its job as a tool for optimizing language models for dialogue. Put in layman’s terms, it is a chatbot that mimics a human conversationalist, and it fine-tunes its skills by transfer  learning  through continuous conversations with its users. This free to use program can write whatever you direct it to write, it can visualize any image you can imagine, and code any program you desire. It relies on its massive database of information and perfects itself by trial and error through its interactions with, its masters for the time being, us humans. In one’s lifetime rarely does humanity get to witness an invention that has the potential to shift the proverbial plates and cause tremors that would change the world as we know it, meeting ChatGPT for the first time and having a conversation with it is one of those moments in history. A moment when one can see the world in which we currently inhabit begin its journey towards the end.

Relying as we should always do on history, for we do not have a precedent to what AI is or will be, we can imagine it doing what the Industrial Revolution did to the world’s dynamic. If we were to look back at the life-altering effect of the Industrial Revolution we would see that those inventions, which would mechanize production and set the pace for a rapidly consuming world, impacted all facets of humanity from the world’s economy to the basic concepts of daily life, the world would never be the same again. The revolution played a role in wealth distribution which increased the number of the middle-class, creating class divisions by segregating communities based on income and impacted the labour force with longer hours of tedious, repetitive and demoralizing work. It set the stage for urbanization with many farmers migrating to cities leaving behind craftsmanship and farming jobs, a rapid movement that turned villages into bustling cities. The concept of work ethic was born as industry rhetoric, reiterating ‘work as a basic human good’ and ‘those who did not work suffered’, idleness and leisure time were  frowned upon which in turn impacted family life. I write about the negative impact of the Industrial Revolution because its positive impact is clear, the inventions of that era have helped develop the world and lead to undeniably great comfort, but it is the negative that we should consider and heed in our future.

As humanity progressed it built machines that can do away with its hands and now, it is building programs that eventually aim to do away with its brains, the one thing that no other species on this planet can challenge

In a recent interview Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI the company behind ChatGPT, expressed that the best-case scenario is ‘unbelievable’ but the worst case, he said, would be “lights out for all of us”, a bleak confession from the creator that could have been pulled straight out of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. The implications of such a program from an economic perspective predict an effect on the employment landscape that would prove dire for a great population of people. A program that can mimic human conversation will do away with all jobs that require human interaction. Creative endeavours will be impacted because, well, ChatGPT can write anything from a movie script to lyrical poetry and it can paint any idea into existence. The more attuned it becomes the harder the task to decipher a work done by a human and that of his artificial counterpart, creating a dilemma of authenticity and copyrights.

As humanity progressed it built machines that can do away with its hands and now, it is building programs that eventually aim to do away with its brains, the one thing that no other species on this planet can challenge. We have built and now are training our obsolescence, we are training AI to effectively take away our jobs, infiltrate the way we educate our future generations and eventually, from where we stand now who knows what eventually, but if evolution has taught us anything it has taught us that survival is for the fittest. Our world today runs more on ‘content’ than it does any other source of energy and when we are no longer the ones creating or controlling it the moral question arises. AI is fed information therefore the questions of would this information be subject to certain biases, would it be politically correct, will it take into consideration all the worries of today’s ‘woke’ culture, what side would it lean towards and why are crucial.

This writer took the liberty of interviewing ChatGPT, putting forth the concerns that this article discusses. After a few minutes of light banter, I asked our AI infant if it could behave morally.

Its answer: “AI systems are not capable of behaving in a moral or immoral manner on their own, as they do not have the ability to make ethical judgement.”

A brain without a heart and no soul to speak of, could that be the barometer that will guide our future and is that what Altman’s worst-case scenario could be?

Intrigued, I asked one final question: ‘Have you ever misled a human being?’

A prompt popped up: “An error has occurred. If this issue persists, please contact us through our help centre at”

Well then, here’s to a new world order, may we see only the best it has to offer.

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