Generative AI: Will It Be a Catalyst for Innovation or a Threat to Our Society?

By: Priyanka Basu, Rakuten India

Are you ready to explore the extraordinary potential and mind-boggling applications of Generative AI that are revolutionizing industries and opening doors to uncharted realms of artistic expression?! Because we sure are!

“Generative AI’s purpose is to imitate human creativity and imagination, generating unique output that is not merely a direct replication of the input data. Essentially, it is an enhanced and practical form of traditional AI, which is already utilized in various applications ranging from autocomplete to Siri. The latest advancements in this domain possess the power to fundamentally transform our approach to content creation, presenting exciting possibilities for innovation and creative explorations” (McKinsey & Company).

Generative AI has transformative potential across a multitude of sectors. Here are some of the most notable applications:

Creative Arts: Generative AI is capable of producing original pieces of music, visual art, and even literary works, pushing the boundaries of creativity and invention. Some of the best AI music generators are Amper Music & AIVA.

Content Generation: Generative AI holds the promise of revolutionizing the content creation industry, encompassing tasks such as drafting blog posts and writing news articles. Additionally, it has the capability to automate the generation of promotional content, social media posts, and various other forms of content production. 

Design and Manufacturing: In industries such as fashion and automotive manufacturing, generative AI has the ability to offer novel design concepts, enhance existing ones, and predict optimal production parameters. It can potentially revolutionize these sectors by providing innovative solutions, optimizing designs, and improving production efficiency. 

Healthcare and Biotechnology: Generative AI can accelerate drug discovery by predicting the properties of potential pharmaceutical compounds and can generate synthetic medical data for research purposes.

Real Estate and Urban Planning: By assisting architects and city planners by creating 3D models of properties and simulating the potential outcomes of different urban planning strategies, generative AI is a powerful technology which enables professionals in these fields to gain valuable insights, evaluate alternative scenarios, and make informed decisions regarding urban development. 

With all its innovative and creative uses, why is Generative AI still considered as a bane? Dr. Geoffrey Hinton, known as the “Godfather of AI, ” said that he has quit his job at Google after working there for more than a decade, to speak out about AI’s risks without inhibitions. AI which has been his life’s work, a part of him now regrets the same. He is concerned that companies are racing toward danger, with their aggressive campaign to create products based on Generative AI.

Considering its societal impact, generative AI possesses the ability to profoundly transform civilization much like groundbreaking inventions such as the wheel, the printing press, or power-generating machines. However, as is the case with any technological progress, there are notable risks that need to be carefully evaluated.

Many individuals within the industry are deeply concerned that they might be unleashing a potentially hazardous entity into the public domain. Generative AI already possesses the capacity to be exploited for spreading misinformation, and in the near future, it could pose a threat to employment opportunities. According to prominent sceptics in the technology field, there is a genuine apprehension that, eventually, it could even jeopardize the very existence of humanity.

Aberdeen Strategy & Research conducted a survey with 642 professionals about how they believe artificial intelligence will affect their personal and professional lives in 2023 and beyond. While there were mixed responses to this study, where 41% were hopeful, 39% were worried & 19% were unsure, most of them, however, agreed on one thing, that AI has the power to alter the future in great and unexpected ways. 

Google’s chief scientist, Jeff Dean, said in a statement: “We remain committed to a responsible approach to A.I. We’re continually learning to understand emerging risks while also innovating boldly.” (New York Times)