‘Is AI dangerous?’ UK’s most Googled questions about artificial intelligence

The UK has been asking Google a number of questions about artificial intelligence, including ‘what is AI?’ and ‘Will AI take my job?’

Max McLean
Thursday 02 November 2023 02:45 GMT
A general view of the Google homepage. Photo credit should read: Tim Goode/PA Wire.
A general view of the Google homepage. Photo credit should read: Tim Goode/PA Wire. (PA Archive)

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas

Editor

People in the UK want to know how artificial intelligence works, how to use it to make money and whether it will take their jobs, according to Google.

The search engine company revealed the UK’s most googled questions about AI over the past three months ahead of Rishi Sunak’s AI summit.

Here, PA takes a look at some of the burning questions the UK wants the answers to.

What is AI?

In a nutshell, AI refers to the training of machines to solve problems and make decisions in a way that is similar to how the human brain works.

However, to boil AI down to a short definition would be to underestimate its complexity and variations.

For example, “weak” or “narrow” AI is AI trained to perform specific tasks and enables technology people may be familiar with in their home, such as Amazon’s Alexa or autonomous vehicles, while “strong AI”, comprised of Artificial General Intelligence and Artificial Super Intelligence, refers to AI where a machine would have an intelligence equal to or surpassing humans.

What is generative AI?

Generative AI refers to models which can create something completely new based on the vast data they have been trained on.

Recent examples of this include ChatGPT, where users can make requests such as “write a poem that features the Battle of Waterloo”.

ChatGPT would then produce a new poem based on the material it had been trained on, in this case vast quantities of history books and poetry.

How to make AI song covers?

Much like the production of a new poem using AI, it is possible to create new music using models which have been trained on previously recorded sounds.

However, this is proving tricky ground for human musicians who fear their work may be used without their consent to produce brand new creations, or even to imitate them.

Spotify boss Daniel Ek told the BBC he thought there were legitimate use cases for the technology in music, but that it should not be used to impersonate real artists without their consent.

He said there were three “buckets” of AI use in music: tools such as auto-tune, which he said was acceptable; software which impersonated artists, which was not; and a more controversial middle ground where AI-generated music was inspired by a specific artist but did not directly mimic them.

How to make money with AI?

The possibilities for making money using AI are seemingly endless, with people using it to produce music, books, essays, translations and much more.

AI can also be used to streamline processes in existing jobs, producing presentations or documents in a fraction of the time it would usually take.

However, the issue of copyright looms large over AI’s creative uses.

Who created AI?

While the concept has been discussed in art and culture for centuries, the 20th century will be remembered as the period when AI began to take practical shape.

In 1950, wartime codebreaker Alan Turing published a paper called Computing Machinery and Intelligence in which he considered whether machines could think, introducing what became known as the Turing Test where a human would attempt to distinguish between the responses of another human and a computer.

Six years later computer scientist John McCarthy coined the term “artificial intelligence” during the inaugural AI conference at Dartmouth College, while in the same year the first running AI software programme was created by Allen Newell, JC Shaw and Herbert Simon.

Is AI dangerous?

Tesla, SpaceX and X owner Elon Musk told the PA news agency at the UK’s AI Safety Summit: “I think AI is one of the biggest threats (to humans).

“We have for the first time the situation where we have something that is going to be far smarter than the smartest human.

“We’re not stronger or faster than other creatures, but we are more intelligent, and here we are for the first time, really in human history, with something that is going to be far more intelligent than us.

“It’s not clear to me if we can control such a thing, but I think we can aspire to guide it in a direction that’s beneficial to humanity.”

Will AI take my job?

As with all technological advances, AI will change the way we work, making some jobs redundant but creating others too.

Rishi Sunak recently attempted to assuage people’s fears, saying: “It’s important to recognise that AI doesn’t just automate and take people’s jobs.

“A better way to think about it is as a co-pilot.

“As with all technologies, they change our labour market, I think over time of course they make our economy more prosperous, more productive.

“They create more growth overall but it does mean that there are changes in the labour market.”

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