[Version in French here]
Unless you’ve been living on Mars for the past few weeks, you couldn’t escape news about ChatGPT, the artificial intelligence tool that answers all your questions: summarizing an article, informing you about the economic crisis, writing a poem, etc. As with any new technology, it is presented as revolutionary by some and futile, useless, or even dangerous by others. While it will take time for the dust to settle, we can nevertheless avoid some of the pitfalls, and above all, the clear-cut positions, by relying on the history of innovation, which offers at least seven lessons for a more nuanced approach to the debate.
On May 11, 1997, Garry Kasparov was defeated by Deep Blue. For the first time, a world chess champion was defeated by a machine. Kasparov later said that he was actually beaten by a sophisticated alarm clock, because Deep Blue used only brute force, not really intelligence, to evaluate possibilities. Nevertheless, the blow was real and Kasparov started thinking about the implications of artificial intelligence (AI); his reflection sheds light on the future of work and the strategic issues AI poses for companies.
Recently, Erik Brynjolfsson remarked, about artificial intelligence (AI), that we tend to hold it to a standard of perfection, and therefore can be pessimistic about its prospects. It is a very common mistake in the case of a disruptive technology. In fact it is not so much that we hold disruptive technologies to a standard of perfection as we judge their performance based on the existing technology’s dominant criteria. Let’s explore this and see why it matters, and how it leads to disasters.