February 17, 2023 | Popular Science

Media coverage on AI chatbots fail to report on larger issues at play with public rollouts

In conversation with US magazine Popular Science, ISD Senior Research Manager Jared Holt argues against recent media coverage and mainstream discussion on AI chatbots missing the mark on the larger issues at play and the risk involved with the way these products were being rolled out to the public.

“What we’re getting… from some of the world’s largest journalistic institutions has been something I would liken to slowing down on the highway to get a better look at a wreck,” he said, pointing out how companies like Microsoft or Google were ‘overhyping’ the products potential despite ‘serious flaws’ in the technology and the ineffectiveness of current safeguarding methods. “I’ll put it this way: If a handful of bored Redditors can figure out how to make your chatbot spew out vitriolic rhetoric, perhaps that technology is not ready to enter every facet of our lives.”

He also argued that the stated intentions of those advocating the deployment of this technology into public life are deserving of scrutiny equal to the scale of their stated visions: “The people selling it claim it can change the world forever. To me, that’s more than enough reason to apply hard scrutiny.”