February 22, 2023
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg once advised tech founders to “move fast and break things.” But in moving fast, some argue that he “broke” those young people whose social media exposure has led to depression, anxiety, cyberbullying, poor body image and loss of privacy or sleep during a vulnerable life stage.
Now, Big Tech is moving fast again with the release of sophisticated AI chat bots, not all of which have been adequately vetted before their public release.
OpenAI launched an artificial intelligence arms race in late 2022 with the release of ChatGPT—a sophisticated AI chat bot that interacts with users in a conversational way, but also lies and reproduces systemic societal biases. The bot became an instant global sensation, even as it raised concerns about cheating and how college writing might change.
In response, Google moved up the release of its rival chat bot, Bard, to Feb. 6, despite employee leaks that the tool was not ready. The company’s stock sank after a series of product missteps. Then, a day later, and in an apparent effort not to be left out of the AI–chat bot party, Microsoft launched its AI-powered Bing search engine. Early users quickly found that the eerily human-sounding bot produced unhinged, manipulative, rude, threatening and false responses, which prompted the company to implement changes—and AI ethicists to express reservations.