A Microsoft-backed AI tool replaces cryptography as a hot tech topic in Davos

The OpenAI logo is seen on screen with the ChatGPT website displayed on a mobile phone in this illustration in Brussels, Belgium, on December 12, 2022.

Jonathan Ra | Norphoto | Getty Images

Attendees at the annual World Economic Forum could not get enough of the new development in artificial intelligence: generative AI.

Priya Lakhani, CEO of online learning platform Century, said educators flocked to social media moments after ChatGPT came to light to talk about AI and how it could affect the education sector.

“It’s really amazing. What I’ve seen across social media conversations is that there are educators who see it as an enabler, and that’s amazing,” Lakhani said during a World Economic Forum session discussing the potential and risks of generative AI.

“They’ve overcome digital fatigue post-pandemic, they’re into technology, they’re using learning management systems, they’re using virtual learning environments, and they’re thinking, well, how can we use this and how can we use it as an enabler across different contacts.”

Most machine learning tools rely on existing information and identify patterns in the data to pick trends or reach a preferred outcome. Recommendation algorithms on social apps such as Facebook And TikTok serves ads to users based on their browsing behavior.

Generative AI tools such as ChatGPT and Dall-E stand out from the crowd through their ability to take data inputs and generate new content. People have used technology to create everything from college essays to works of art.

Using services like Lensa AI to transform selfies into a variety of sci-fi and anime-inspired avatars has also proven popular.

Generative AI has major implications for the way children learn, Lakani said, adding that the technology has also increased the risks of cheating and plagiarism.

“Then you get the skeptics who are absolutely terrified, right?” She said. “They’re terrified because they think, wait, kids are going to cheat on their homework. This has real-world implications.”

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This week at the WEF Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Generative Artificial Intelligence It has effectively replaced cryptocurrency and the so-called “Web3” as the technology of choice for CEOs and policymakers.

Crypto companies took over Davos last year, but have been less present at the conference with flashy storefronts since the market was decimated in 2022 — save for a lonely flashy orange bitcoin car.

“Generative AI has huge potential,” Hiroaki Kitano, CEO of Sony Computer Science Labs, said at the Generative AI panel on Tuesday.

“This is not just something that pops up,” Kitano said. “We have a long history of deep learning.” “This is like the continuous development of artificial intelligence capability.”

Microsoft It is said to be betting billions on generative AI in hopes that it will be transformative for its business — and others, too. Last week, news website Semaphore reported that the company was planning to invest $10 billion in ChatGPT creator OpenAI in a deal valued at around $29 billion.

Microsoft previously invested $1 billion in Open AI, which was founded in 2015 by tech entrepreneurs Elon Musk and Sam Altman.

Not everyone is convinced by the billions suddenly pouring into the field of generative AI.

Jim Breyer, founder and CEO of Breyer Capital, said Microsoft’s investment in Open AI has been good for the company from a strategic standpoint — but he thinks the Redmond tech giant is overpaying.

“It’s a sign for me of Butters,” Breyer told CNBC’s Sarah Eisen on Thursday. “It’s a strategic deal for Microsoft, and they’re going to quickly catch up with Google and others.”

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“However, I cannot justify the valuation as a private investor.”

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ChatGPT’s limitations include factual bugs. Sony’s Kitano said it was important to acknowledge these limitations.

“At the same time, we see a lot of limitations. If you ask ChatGPT a specific question, the answers are sometimes impressive. But if you get into the details, not all real-world things may be accurate,” he said.

“If you go back and open up your computer and ask yourself, you’re like, ‘Oops, I didn’t get that,’ all kinds of things are going on in there.”

Tackling the dark side of AI

Without direct confirmation of the investment, Microsoft chief Brad Smith said on Tuesday that generative tools like ChatGPT have already sparked conversations about legal and ethical quandaries.

“What one really needs to start imagining is, what are the different ways that this technology can be used? How can it be used for good, and how can it be used to create challenges?” Smith said in a panel moderated by CNBC’s Karen Tzu Tuesday.

One concern is that generative AI could become a desirable weapon for hackers and other bad actors, such as online agents of disinformation.

Researchers at cybersecurity firm Check Point say ChatGPT is It is already being used by hackers to recreate common malware strains.

“We may find that it becomes a more relevant topic as people think about the future of information, potential influence processes, and people who create disinformation, and also fight against it,” Smith said.

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