Generative technology as a challenge

The content of this post was sent, in spanish, to the newsletter subscribers on March 27, 2023.

In November 2022, ChatGPT woke us up from slumber; and as happens in technology when faced with any disruptive challenge, many professionals began to tremble.

Technology has helped us progress since fire was discovered. Being able to hunt with spears, print a book, abandon the stagecoach and get on a train, light a room with a light bulb, send a message with the telegraph, cure yourself of an infection, see the first moon landing live on television, communicate through a blog …These are just a few examples of what technology can do for us. Generative technology, within artificial intelligence, and ChatGPT specifically, has only made us realize how advanced it is. But, in reality, he was already – perhaps not so obviously – among us. What is it if not Google Translate? Or what is the navigator that directs you from one place to another in your car? Even Instagram filters, so trendy, were a kind of generative technology.

What ChatGPT has done is wake us up from our lethargy and make us tremble. Professors, journalists, web developers, and a long list of professionals suddenly see, astonished, how something similar to a robot can do its job without breaking a sweat. To those who do not understand, it is necessary to explain that ChatGPT is neither a robot nor is it good enough (yet) to replace any professional (even if he is mediocre). But, the interesting thing is how we can now take advantage of this generative technology, taking into account that, inevitably and most likely, it is here to stay.

There is very interesting material to learn more about the topic and on Blogpocket you will find many references. But, this week I liked a very brief, but very succulent post by Joe Casabona (ChatGPT is exposing our broken education system) pointing out about the teaching staff. He concludes, at the end: “Good teachers will celebrate generative AI. They will teach their students how to leverage it to conduct proper research in a fraction of the time.

For me, ChatGPT is a challenge. And I think we should not reject it or hide. Among other reasons because, in terms of productivity, it can be a very useful tool. Any creative process requires an initial preparation process, to a certain extent routine. And I’m not just talking about the artistic one, in the scientific one there is also an initial preparation process, and in any other human activity. Artificial intelligence is already used in the scientific field. An evolved ChatGPT could soon help create vaccines in record time. Or further improve assistance in surgical interventions.

Within the field that I know, web development, ChatGPT already surprises us with its effectiveness. I myself created live in this video, a WordPress plugin in just a few minutes. And speaking of productivity, as I indicated before, what would normally have taken me a couple of hours, was ready in just under fifteen minutes. And the reason is very simple: ChatGPT did the prep work (data collection, information search, testing, etc.) quickly. ChatGPT is not an autonomous robot, and if we refer to web development, it is necessary to have advanced knowledge to know how to interpret, correct and implement the generated code. And even supervise that all the code used is compatible with GPL. The latter is very important and is related to the problems presented by generative technology and artificial intelligence in general [see postscript at the end of this text].

Regarding using ChatGPT to code WordPress plugins, here is another case. And here another: I asked ChatGPT to write a WordPress plugin I needed. He did it in less than 5 minutes.

On the other hand, I have been generating images for the blog with Block Diffusion, a plugin that uses the Open Journey and Stable Diffusion AI tools. Here you can see the Blogpocket Artificial Art Museum. The challenge is also, as in the case of the teachers that Joe Casabona alludes to, to be able to resolve the possible problems that arise with any disruptive change. In the case of images and video, as in the case of texts, copyright and privacy problems.

I recommend that you read this article by Sarah Gooding: Navigating the new era of AI-assisted code generation in WordPress. In this article, Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay entitled Civilization and reflects on the fact that there are still many gray areas when it comes to licensing and AI-generated code.

Certainly, Emerson’s essay is very timely to face the challenge of AI, where man’s relationship with technology is explored; and where the principles – “justice, love, freedom, knowledge, usefulness” – are the light that guides and accelerates the impact of technology.

You have to go that way.

P.S.: A factor to take into account when studying the problems associated with AI is the amount of CO2 emissions generated by the software and hardware involved. For example, in the training and operation of a language model (Logic learning machine) we must measure the amount of energy used to train the model on a supercomputer, the energy necessary to manufacture the supercomputer hardware and maintain its computational infrastructure, and the energy used to run it. [Read more]

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