Artificial intelligence, language and the question of social responsibility
Author: Michael Keusgen, CEO, Ella Media AG
Author: Michael Keusgen, CEO, Ella Media AG
Systems based on artificial intelligence (AI) generally aim to support people in their actions. In doing so, AI systems open up new possibilities for minimizing errors, making processes more efficient and dealing with existing problems. In this context, the development of artificial intelligence has the potential to increasingly influence the decisions of humans. It is therefore important to handle learning systems responsibly.
AI itself is value-free; it captures, analyzes and processes language based solely on the data with which it has been trained. In doing so, AI reproduces existing patterns without actually understanding the content of its own texts. This can have undesirable consequences, such as reproducing a stereotypical representation of certain groups of people.
A well-known and well-researched example is the discrimination of women in AI-supported job application processes – for example, because the data basis originates from a time when almost exclusively men worked in the specific occupational field.
Speech-based AI systems are only as good as the texts they learn from. For this reason, system operators and developers need to consistently make sure to identify biases and the resulting discrimination (bias) caused by errors in data collection and selection or in the processing of data based on algorithms long before an AI is used for the first time. This requires a value orientation and a high level of criticality and learning ability on the part of the companies and the people behind them.
For companies, however, responsible use of speech AI also means keeping an eye on possible misuse of the technology as early as the development stage – for example, through automatically generated texts with false or intentionally misleading content. AI systems can be targeted to create this distorted information in bulk and for specific audiences – including to influence public discourse.
Wise and targeted selection of data sources also prevents misuse. An editorial AI system like Carla, based solely on data from major news outlets, offers no potential for abuse in disinformation campaigns.
Corporate social responsibility also includes the question of how AI can be used to benefit people. When it comes to recognizing unintentional errors, plagiarism, and even targeted fake news, artificial intelligence is often already streets ahead of humans. The first applications are already in use. For example, special AI systems, fed in real time with texts and other social media data, can help combat bots.
Posted on September 8, 2021
Michael Keusgen will deliver a keynote speech at the Handelsblatt AI Summit. On October 1, 2021, he will speak to the event’s professional audience about the question of how AI will revolutionize writing.
In his talk, the founder and CEO of Ella Media AG will explain how the interaction between humans and machines works in practice when creating texts and what role creativity plays in this. His assessment of ethical issues in the development and use of speech AI will be particularly exciting.
As part of another program item, Michael Keusgen will be interviewed live by the AI Summit presenters about his impressions and insights from the event.
CH-Zug, September 27, 2021
ChatGPT has attracted much attention in recent months. Indeed, ChatGPT’s performance is impressive – and together with solutions like Midjourney or Lensa, it has made the general public aware of AI as a content creation tool.
ChatGPT impressively demonstrates how human-centric design and low-threshold access can get people to open up to the use of AI – and what it can make possible. Emails, applications, essays, program code, word games: There are almost no limits to the versatility of ChatGPT.
💡 Know what you’re dealing with
Behind ChatGPT is a language model that outshines everything known so far. But it is important to bear in mind that it is designed to be a generalist: ChatGPT’s text completion relies on a wide range of content in its training data. We must therefore be aware that we are not dealing with quality-assured data in ChatGPT. The model aggregates speech-aware output from probabilities and patterns present in its comprehensive training data. It does not, however, guarantee factual accuracy, and so, in turn, users do not know whether a piece of information was “invented” or has a reliable source. Human expertise is needed to identify possible misstatements – and one strand of the current discourse around ChatGPT centres on the urgency of developing literacy and skills in this space.
➡ As with all tools, users must learn to use ChatGPT and be aware of its weaknesses.
Artificial intelligence, language and the question of social responsibility “A narrative AI is only as good as the texts it learns from or as good as the people who feed it.” Michael Keusgen, CEO Ella Media AG
The fact that an AI can be capable of writing sensible texts for advertising and editing is not only known to experts. AI-based machines that you feed with appropriate facts, which now independently help themselves to information from reputable sources, support creatives in agencies and e-commerce as well as editors and journalists. But what about the freestyle of writing – fiction? Can an AI come up with its own story and then write it down? Just like a human author?
It works. But it takes a lot of work. A team of experts from the fields of data analytics, machine learning, software engineering and linguistics has been training an AI that independently writes fictional texts for Ella Media AG for a good four years. The result, or rather the state of development, is something to behold. Here is an example:
Dreamily you look out of the freshly cleaned window at the green and peaceful valley. To your right you see the edge of a great sea of grass with waves rolling against the shore. A small pyramid of white flowers stands tall and proud in this sea and you smile. You miss how the grass in your hometown could smell so sweet and full of life. Even those sweet smelling flowers can’t compete with the smell of this simple place.
You sigh and turn the page of your novel. It’s been almost 5 years since you came to this house. The house itself is old with faded blue paint and cracked red bricks, one of the only good things about this place. You don’t feel sad or lonely, no, you are never lonely here, you don’t care, nor would you ever try to rid yourself of that feeling. You have your own room with a small bed for two with one of the old blankets hanging on the door. You can sleep here if you stay in your new life. Sometimes it’s night when you come home from work and stay here.
You have a small suitcase ready and packed and you bring it into the bedroom. There is a small kitchen and a living room. There are only three small rooms and they are mainly filled with books and clothes. You put your suitcase on the floor next to the bed and put your books and suitcase on it.
You turn back to the window and take a deep breath. You observe a small cloud making its way across the sky, to the left of the sun. It slowly makes its way across the sky with a small gust of wind.
You don’t care about the noise of the city or the people walking on the street. You can be alone here, and you live for once in your life. The breeze caresses your face and arms and it smells like earth. You close your eyes and take a deep breath. You think to yourself: this is freedom.
How this story will continue, you cannot say at this moment. How the story of Ella Media AG will continue – neither. But – it will go on!
Written on October 5, 2021