Munich 2024: Protecting Elections in the Age of AI
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How OpenAI CEO Sam Altman became the most influential voice in tech
How OpenAI CEO Sam Altman became the most influential voice in tech | GZERO World

How OpenAI CEO Sam Altman became the most influential voice in tech

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman has become the poster child for AI, but it's difficult to understand his motivations.

Artificial intelligence was a major buzzword at the World Economic Forum in Davos this year, and OpenAI CEO Sam Altman was the hottest ticket in town. CEOs and business leaders crowded into sold-out conference halls to hear his take on the current explosion in generative AI and where the technology is headed.

On GZERO World, Ian Bremmer sat down with AI expert and author Azeem Azhar and asked why everyone, both at Davos and in the tech community as a whole, seems to be pinning their hopes and fears about the future of AI on Altman. Azhar says that there are actually a lot of similarities between the individual and the technology he works on.

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How AI is changing the world of work
How AI is changing the world of work | GZERO World with Ian Bremmer

How AI is changing the world of work

The AI revolution is coming… fast. But what does that mean for your job? GZERO World with Ian Bremmer takes a deep dive into this exciting and anxiety-inducing new era of generative artificial intelligence. Generative AI tools like ChatGPT and Midjourney have the potential to increase productivity and prosperity massively, but there are also fears of job replacement and unequal access to technology.

Ian Bremmer sat down with tech expert Azeem Azhar and organizational psychologist Adam Grant on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland to hear how CEOs are already incorporating AI into their businesses, what the future of work might look like as AI tools become more advanced, and what the experts are still getting wrong about the most powerful technology to hit the workforce since the personal computer.

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AI and the future of work: Experts Azeem Azhar and Adam Grant weigh in

Listen:What does this new era of generative artificial intelligence mean for the future of work? On the GZERO World Podcast, Ian Bremmer sits down with tech expert Azeem Azhar and organizational psychologist Adam Grant on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, to learn more about how this exciting and anxiety-inducing technology is already changing our lives, what comes next, and what the experts are still getting wrong about the most powerful technology to hit the workforce since the personal computer.

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Grown-up AI conversations are finally happening, says expert Azeem Azhar
Nuanced AI conversations a major progress, says expert Azeem Azhar | GZERO World

Grown-up AI conversations are finally happening, says expert Azeem Azhar

Tech expert Azeem Azhar is optimistic the conversation around generative artificial intelligence has shifted from existential risk to practical applications at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Artificial intelligence dominated the conversation at this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, but what is the business world getting right vs. wrong about how it will affect our lives? On GZERO World, Ian Bremmer sat down with AI expert and writer Azeem Azhar for his take on how conversations around the rapidly developing technology have changed in the last year. Unlike previous flash-in-the-pan technologies like crypto and blockchain, Azhar notes, AI is just getting started, and almost every CEO he spoke with has integrated it into their business in some way.
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Azeem Azhar, founder of Exponential View, an author and analyst, and a GZERO AI guest columnist, is seen here at the Digital Life Design innovation conference.

Matthias Balk/dpa via Reuters Connect

Azeem Azhar explores the future of AI

AI was all the rage at Davos this year – and for good reason. As we’ve covered each week in our weekly GZERO AI newsletter, artificial intelligence is impacting everything from regulatory debates and legal norms to climate change, disinformation, and identity theft. GZERO Media caught up with Azeem Azhar, founder of Exponential View, an author and analyst, and a GZERO AI guest columnist, for his insights on the many issues facing the industry.

GZERO: Whether The New York Times’ lawsuit against OpenAI on copyright grounds is settled, or found for or against OpenAI, do you think large language models are less feasible in the long term?

Azeem Azhar: Copyright has always been a compromise. The compromise has been between how many rights should be afforded to creators, and ultimately, of course, what that really means is the big publishers who accumulate them and have the legal teams.

And harm is being done to research, free exchange of knowledge, cultural expression by creating these enclosures around our intellectual space. This compromise, which worked reasonably well perhaps 100 years ago doesn't really work that well right now.

And now we have to say, “Well, we've got this new technology that could provide incredibly wide human welfare and when copyright was first imagined, those were not the fundamental axioms of the world.”

GZERO: Can you give me an example of something that could be attained by reforming copyright laws?

Azhar: Take Zambia. Zambia doesn't have very many doctors per capita. And because they don't have many doctors, they can't train many doctors. So you could imagine a situation where you can have widespread personalized AI tutoring to improve primary, secondary, tertiary, and educational outcomes for billions of people.

And those will use large language models dependent on a vast variety of material that will fall under the sort of traditional frame of copyright.

GZERO: AI is great at finding places to be more efficient. Do you think there's a future in which AI is used to decrease the world's net per capita energy consumption?

Azhar: No, we won't decrease energy consumption because energy is health and energy is prosperity and energy is welfare. Over the next 30 years, energy use will grow higher and at a higher rate than it has over the last 30, and at the same time, we will entirely decarbonize our economy.

Effectively, you cannot find any countries that don't use lots of energy that you would want to live in and that are safe and have good human outcomes.

But how can AI help? Well, look at an example from DeepMind. DeepMind released this thing called GNoME at the end of last year, which helps identify thermodynamically stable materials.

And DeepMind’s system delivered 60 years of stable producible materials with their physical properties in just one shot. Now that's really important because a lot of the climate transition and the materiality question is about how we produce all the stuff for your iPods and your door frames and your water pipes in ways that are thermodynamically more efficient, and that's going to require new materials and so AI can absolutely help us do that.

GZERO: In 2024, we are facing over four dozen national-level elections in a completely changed disinformation environment. Are you more bullish or bearish on how governments might handle the challenge of AI-driven disinformation?

Azhar: It does take time for bad actors to actually make use of these technologies, so I don't think that deep fake video will significantly play a role this year because it's just a little bit too soon.

But distribution of disinformation, particularly through social media, matters a great deal and so too do the capacities and the behaviors of the media entities and the political class.

If you remember in Gaza, there was an explosion at a hospital, and one of the newswires reported immediately that 500 people had been killed and they reported this within a few minutes. There's no way that within a few minutes one can count 500 bodies. But other organizations then picked it up, who are normally quite reputable.

That wasn't AI-driven disinformation. The trouble is the lie travels halfway around the world before the truth gets its trousers on. Do media companies need to put up a verification unit as the goalkeeper? Or do you put the idea of defending the truth and veracity and factuality throughout the culture of the organization?

GZERO: You made me think of an app that's become very popular in Taiwan over the last few months called Auntie Meiyu, which allows you to take a big group chat, maybe a family chat for example, and then you add Auntie Meiyu as a chatbot. And when Grandpa sends some crazy article, Auntie Meiyu jumps in and says, “Hey, this is BS and here’s why.”

She’s not preventing you from reading it. She's just giving you some additional information, and it's coming from a third party, so no family member has to take the blame for making Grandpa feel foolish.

Azhar: That is absolutely brilliant because, when you look back at the data from the US 2016 election, it wasn't the Instagram, TikTok, YouTube teens who were likely to be core spreaders of political misinformation. It was the over-60s, and I can testify to that with some of my experience with my extended family as well.

GZERO: As individuals are thinking about risks that AI might pose to them – elderly relatives being scammed or someone generating fake nude images of real people – is there anything an individual can do to protect themselves from some of the risks that AI might pose to their reputation or their finances?

Azhar: Wow, that's a really hard question. Have really nice friends.

I am much more careful now than I was five years ago and I'm still vulnerable. When I have to make transactions and payments I will always verify by doing my own outbound call to a number that I can verify through a couple of other sources.

I very rarely click on links that are sent to me. I try to double-check when things come in, but this is, to be honest, just classic infosec hygiene that everyone should have.

With my elderly relatives, the general rule is you don't do anything with your bank account ever unless you've got one of your kids with you. Because we’ve found ourselves, all of us, in the digital equivalent of that Daniel Day-Lewis film “Gangs of New York,” where there are a lot of hoodlums running around.

GZERO AI launches October 31st

There is no more disruptive or more remarkable technology than AI, but let’s face it, it is incredibly hard to keep up with the latest developments. Even more importantly, it’s almost impossible to understand what the latest AI innovations actually mean. How will AI affect your job? What do you need to know? Who will regulate it? How will it disrupt work, the economy, politics, war?

That's where our new weekly GZERO AI newsletter comes in to help. GZERO AI will give you the first key insights you need to know, putting perspective on the hype and context on the AI doomers and dreamers. Featuring the world class analysis that is the hallmark of GZERO and its founder, Ian Bremmer--who himself is a leading voice in the AI space--GZERO AI is the essential weekly read of the AI revolution.

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An AI-generated image of a techno brain crashing against the waves.

Created via Midjourney

You say you want AI revolution?

A year after the launch of ChatGPT, who are the winners and losers, and what's next? Our new columnist Azeem Azhar, founder of Exponential View, and an author and analyst, weighs in.

It’s hard to believe it’s been less than a year since ChatGPT was unveiled by Sam Altman, the boss of OpenAI. Far from the razzmatazz that normally accompanies Silicon Valley launches, Altman posted an innocuous tweet. And the initial responses could be characterized as bemused delight at seeing a new trinket.

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The transformative potential of artificial intelligence
The Transformative Potential of Artificial Intelligence | Global Stage | GZERO Media

The transformative potential of artificial intelligence

Microsoft reportedly plans to invest $10 billion investment in OpenAI, the artificial intelligence company famous for creating the ChatGPT bot.

Why is the software giant doing this despite the threat that AI poses to democracy? Azeem Azhar, the founder of the Exponential View newsletter, puts the question to Microsoft President Brad Smith during a Global Stage livestream conversation hosted by GZERO in partnership with Microsoft.

First, Smith explains, Microsoft has strict compliance rules to ensure that ChatGPT doesn't do bad stuff. And that's crucial to integrate the tech into all its products so anyone can use it.

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