KARACHI: Individuals from the realms of education and literature offered their perspectives on ‘The Reality of Artificial Intelligence’ on the second and final day of the Adab Fest.

With numerous scholars and scientists warning that AI may eventually supersede human efforts, the discussion between Ziauddin University Vice Chancellor Dr Syed Irfan Haider, and author Bina Shah tried to make sense of what AI could and couldn’t do.

“Technology is evolving rapidly. Back in our time, having access to a computer was considered a significant blessing. If we rewind ten years from today, the idea of freely using technology seemed unimaginable. Yet, now, all it takes is entering a prompt into ChatGPT, and voila, you get precisely articulated responses,” Mr Haider said between chuckles.

The moderator was keen to find out if, in the opinion of the discussants, AI could ever replace the human element.

Ziauddin VC says AI not a replacement for human brain; Bina Shah questions turning over ‘authorship’ to ChatGPT

“The future of writers and authorship is not decided, because these are still early days,” said Ms Shah, questioning whether it was a good idea to turn over ownership of writing to AI platforms such as ChatGPT.

The author of several acclaimed books noted that students were trying to write their papers with the help of AI, or those who aren’t confident about their written skills were using it in an effort to appear more efficient.

“Business and technology work hand in hand. There is no way you can keep one separate from the other. With business growing each day, tech is growing too. However, AI is not a ‘replacement’ for human brain, but it sure does make things easy for a brain that has to perform multiple tasks during the day,” Mr Haider noted.

“I always preach that before we decide if a technology is good or bad, we must learn how to utilise it to its full potential. If we actually pay attention to how AI works, it could work wonders for businesses especially that have near to no staff, and starting small. I mean you don’t have to write multiple emails in a day, you can use AI for that, how cool do you think that is?” he added.

He also explained that OpenAI holds the distinction of being the pioneer in providing a Generative AI model trained on extensive datasets.

“However, Google has entered the generative AI competition with its own product, Google BARD, which seems to possess capabilities akin to OpenAI’s ChatGPT. Limited information is available regarding the specific datasets utilised for the training of both models, giving rise to concerns about the trustworthiness of the results they generate,” he said.

Note: Due to an editing mix-up, an earlier version of this story mistakenly attributed quotes to author Bina Shah, and Sarmayacar CEO Rabeel Warraich, who was scheduled to speak but did not end up attending the discussion. The error is regretted.

Published in Dawn, November 27th, 2023

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