Little to worry about as ChatGPT shifts from ‘toy’ to tool, says professor

His remarks came as much of the world is unnerved by risks of mass unemployment, user privacy leaks, deception and other ethical issues that accompany the rise of ChatGPT.

The immensely popular ChatGPT-like technologies are fast transitioning from a “toy” into a real tool, said a top Chinese expert at a high-level forum on April 9.

OpenAI’s generative AI chatbot is comparable to a revolution from text message to WeChat, said Liu Hong, a professor at Peking University and deputy head of China Association for Artificial Intelligence.

During a speech he delivered at the AI Big Model Technology Summit Forum held in eastern China’s Hangzhou, Liu said the enormous attention recently given to ChatGPT was partly due to its “fun” nature.

But going forward, the goal of the AI chatbot should be to gradually replace more and more creative jobs, he was quoted as saying in a report of CLS.cn, a domestic business news portal.

His remarks came as much of the world is unnerved by risks of mass unemployment, user privacy leaks, deception and other ethical issues that accompany the rise of ChatGPT.

In Europe, in particular, heightened concerns over ChatGPT prompted Italy to ban ChatGPT, making it the first Western country to do so.

The country is now in talks with OpenAI to consider whether to lift the ban.

In response to these concerns, Liu seemed more optimistic, saying that while risks do arise over ChatGPT, the boon outweighs the bane in general.

OpenAI’s disruptive technologies will shorten the necessary labor cycles across the world, he explained.

“We should welcome a smart society more proactively,” said he. “In the future, society will become smart society, with family at its core.”

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Ni Tao

Ni Tao is the founder and editor-in-chief of cnrobopedia. Prior to cnrobopedia, he had a full decade of experience with a major state-run English-language newspaper as a tech reporter and opinion writer. He is also a communications specialist, having provided consultancy services to established firms like Siemens, Philips, ABinBev, Diageo, Trip.com Group (Nasdaq: TCOM, HK: 9961), Jianpu Technology (NYSE: JT) and a handful of domestic startups. A graduate of Fudan University, he writes widely about China's business and tech scenes and other topics for global publications including South China Morning Post, SupChina, The Diplomat, CGTN, Banking Technology, among others, and tries to impart his experience to students at Fudan University Journalism School, where he is a part-time lecturer. When he's not writing about robotics, you can expect him to be on his beloved Yanagisawa saxophones, trying to play some jazz riffs, often in vain and occasionally against the protests of an angry neighbor. Get in touch with him by dropping a line at nitao0927@gmail.com.

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