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The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of Generative AI


Portrait of Shehryar Akhtar

Founder & CEO


Key Highlights

  1. Can generative AI be leveraged to augment human creativity? Collaborating with generative AI tools like Prontopia might be a good idea to cut down on the huge amount of time it might otherwise take you to create a 5-minute video.

  2. AI language models like Chat GPT are here to stay in one form or the other. So schools and other educational institutions might need to adapt to the changing times if they don't want to become irrelevant or obsolete.

  3. Is there a dark side to generative AI? Sherry Akhtar believes AI technology is only as flawed as the humans developing it. He thinks we must draw some ethical boundaries before it's too late.



Introduction


With over 20 years of experience in the tech world, Sherry Akhtar spent most of this time building countless applications for tech giants across the globe. However, Sherry always dreamed of experiencing the start-up world by bringing his own product into the market. A dream he has now accomplished. He co-founded two successful tech companies, both running on AI technology.


Sherry founded Cloutel in 2014 as an AI-focused cloud, data, and information security solution provider for Fortune 500 clients. In 2020, he co-founded Prontopia with his wife, Ash Shehryar, and his long-time business partner, Will Feldman. Sherry also serves as the CEO of Prontopia, a no-app artificial intelligence technology company that leverages AI tech to make quick videos for its users.


How Can Generative AI Be Used to Augment Human Creativity?


Even though both his companies use generative AI technology, Sherry is still a big proponent of human creativity. He believes AI technology can be used to augment and aid human creativity but can never truly substitute it. The big reason behind this, according to Sherry, is human emotion. Which is something AI technology simply cannot experience.


For example, if you're reading something and something isn't sitting right with you, chances are a machine wrote it. That one thing you can't quite put your finger on while comparing content written by humans versus Chat GPT is most likely the human element of creativity fueled by emotion. So, AI-generated content cannot replace human communication because, so far, it does not resonate with other humans the same way as actual human writing does. Sherry believes emotions are at the center of everything humans do.


"Human creativity is very unique. That's because whatever humans do, there's an emotion in there, and you end up communicating that emotion. AI cannot have that emotion, so left on its own, it can appear cold and without emotion. So human warmth and ingenuity is important."

- Sherry Akhtar


According to him, AI technology will never be able to replace humans, but humans with AI can benefit way more in the future than humans without AI. Generative AI technology like Prontopia can help reduce the strenuous hours it would take a skilled videographer to make a 5-minute video for a client and do it for him in less than 15 minutes. Technology like Prontopia does most of the work on the backend.


For example, a videographer will not have to put hours of monotonous work into finding suitable clips, syncing the audio, or editing the color palette to create the video. All he has to do is conceive the idea and give the right direction to the AI video technology he is leveraging. The videographer will eventually benefit as he ends up with free time to work on other projects that require his attention, creativity, and direction. Small businesses and enterprises using such technology can leverage it to take on more clients and projects than they previously had the capacity for.


"A lot of people think AI is going to take their jobs. The reality is the person who understands how to leverage AI is the one who is going to take their job. So if you want to keep your job in the near future, you have to learn it, know how to use it, and become an expert."

- Sherry Akhtar



Should Educational Institutes Adapt to AI Technology?


According to Bill Gates, Generative AI models are the most important innovation and technology advancement since the personal computer. Since the personal computer has become an essential part of our academic lives, it is not too far-fetched to believe that language models will have the same fate soon.


Sherry had a very interesting take when asked what he thought about using generative AI like Chat GPT in classrooms and schools. He believes that educational institutions need to come to terms with the use of AI quickly and cater to the changing needs of the world and the young generations they're trying to educate. Classrooms must adapt to innovation and technology faster than before to stay relevant.


Sherry points out that technology has always been slow to be accepted within the confines of the classroom. He says calculators weren't allowed in classes at first because teachers thought they would hinder actual learning, but in reality, they only helped augment it. Similar examples can be found in terms of allowing laptops and phones into classes, to now when it's almost become impossible to get anything done without them. Sherry thinks generative AI Models like Chat GPT are also inevitable technologies that will eventually be allowed into the classrooms.



What are the Ethical Concerns Surrounding Generative AI?


Some of the ethical concerns presented by Generative AI technology may include copyright abuses, safety, transparency, deep fakes, and manipulation. Other problems like data privacy, false information, bias, and discrimination also raise ethical concerns. These issues caused by Generative AI technology demand immediate attention from the global tech giants, human rights organizations, and governments to be tackled globally.


Sherry believes humans must evolve from reacting to problems and become more proactive in dealing with predicted problems. One of the most critical issues looming over our heads as we delve deeper into generative AI and machine learning is finding the right balance and ethical grounds when it comes to developing such technology. AI is an enabler that's incapable of doing much right now without a human guiding it. It's essential to create global ethical boundaries around developing AI technology.


"The problem is not with AI. The problem is the creators of AI. We humans are not perfect. We are the ones who will groom AI for bad reasons, so the responsibility will always lie with the humans."

- Sherry Akhtar


According to Sherry, just like the internet and social media have a dark side, AI can too. The reason behind this dark side is, again, human nature and psychology. We are just as capable of destruction as we are of creativity. Sherry suggests global legislation around pressing issues like deep fakes, voice manipulation, and copyright ambiguity.



What is the Future of Generative AI?


Generative AI is a beautiful tool and a stepping stone toward the future of technology. It's always learning from its mistakes and improving as it interacts with more humans. AI needs to collaborate with humans to get better. Sherry Akhtar and many other tech leaders believe that the next step in the future of Generative AI is Artificial General Intelligence (AGI).


So far, Artificial General Intelligence has been conceptualized as a type of human-like intelligence adapted into technology, such as software and applications. It is an artificial intelligence with human-like cognitive abilities, including problem-solving, logic, and reasoning. Generative AI can already read, process, learn, and write, so it's only about time before AGI can start performing more intellectually challenging tasks.


However, he also believes that we need to stay on top of these developments and think five steps ahead to ensure such powerful technology is only leveraged for the betterment of the world. He says humans are flawed. So, we must put conscientious guardrails around such technology before losing control.


Sherry believes if AGI is done right, it has the potential to make the world a better place to live in for all. Humans might finally be able to give their rational minds a rest and focus on their emotional and spiritual well-being instead of tirelessly working like machines. Sherry says technology should be used to stay human instead of becoming a substitute for humanity.




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