WP columnist Taylor Lorenz & AI research Yasmin
AlRawi speak at length about Artificial Intelligence
SHARJAH (UAE): An internationally acclaimed journalist and an AI instructor got together at the 42nd Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) to discuss the advancements in AI and how it is quickly shaping the modern world.
The Washington Post columnist Taylor Lorenz and AI researcher Yasmin AlRawi spoke at length about Artificial Intelligence, fake news and social media, blockchain technology and the emergence of Web 3.0 while examining the ethical implications of these developments as part of a panel discussion moderated by Alya Al Mansoori.
Delving deep into the multifaceted aspects of AI and technology and exploring the potential benefits and risks they pose to individuals, society, and the environment, AlRawi said: “Whilst we try to create [AI] creatures that will make our jobs faster than we can imagine, we also need to build generations that are able to navigate their way through this journey. Our role is to build generations that will be capable of containing this huge wave of change coming ahead of us”.
Talking about changes in the content creation industry in recent times, Lorenz – who has widely covered internet culture as a journalist for publications like The Daily Mail, New York Times and Business Insider – said: “I just wrote a book about this shift from how people get their news and information today, and it’s increasingly from individuals on YouTube, TikTok and the likes. Most of today’s consumers of news are circumventing the traditional media – from getting information about celebrities on Instagram to seeing breaking news on these platforms”.
“All of it has really accelerated over the past five years, and now, of course, with AI, it’s going to accelerate even more,” said the American journalist who in 2020 secured a book deal for Extremely Online: The Untold Story of Fame, Power and Influence on the Internet that was released by Simon & Schuster last month.
When asked if our brains would function better with AI and whether our relationships will be affected, the New York resident said the emerging tech will help outsource a lot of our “mundane and tedious tasks” to make our lives a little bit easier. “And it doesn’t really take away anything from our humanity,” she added.
“But I do think that it’s going to be shaping our interpersonal relationships. Already, a lot of influencers have these chatbots that mimic them that you can talk to. I wrote about this one recently where for a dollar a minute you could chat with this, the AI version of this influencer. And people started to develop deep friendships with this AI and not really be able to tell the difference. You know, emotionally it was affecting them. So I think we’re going to see those problems,” she added, stressing that there should be disclosures on things that are AI generated so “we know if we’re talking to a real person or not”.
Examining other such ethical dimensions, the two-member panel went on to provide some more key insights into how we can navigate and shape a more inclusive and responsible future for the younger generation amidst the rapid technological advancements. The hour-long discussion was followed by a book signing session by the authors.