Alright, check it out, so we got these A.I. bots, right? And they’re programmed for specific tasks. Like, OpenAI created examples like a “Creative Writing Coach” and a “Mocktail Mixologist” bot that can suggest nonalcoholic drink recipes. And get this, the bots can pull from private data, like a company’s internal H.R. documents or a real estate database, and use that data in their responses. Plus, if you let them, these bots can even plug into other parts of your online life – your calendar, your to-do list, your Slack account – and take actions using your credentials.
Now, some A.I. safety researchers are saying this is scary stuff, man. They’re worried that giving these bots more autonomy could lead to disaster. The Center for AI Safety even listed autonomous agents as one of its “catastrophic A.I. risks,” saying that “malicious actors could intentionally create rogue A.I.s with dangerous goals.”
But hey, there’s money to be made in A.I. assistants that can do useful tasks for people, you know? Corporate customers are itching to train chatbots on their own data. And there’s also the argument that A.I. won’t truly be useful until it really understands its users – their communication styles, their likes and dislikes, what they look at and shop for online.
So, here we are, speeding into the age of the autonomous A.I. agent – doomers be damned.
Now, to be fair, these OpenAI bots aren’t particularly dangerous. I saw a demo of several GPTs during the company’s developer conference, and they mostly automated harmless tasks like creating coloring pages for children or explaining the rules of card games.
Custom GPTs also can’t really do much yet, beyond searching through documents and plugging into common apps. I saw one demo where an OpenAI employee asked a GPT to look up conflicting meetings on her Google calendar and send a Slack message to her boss. Another demo happened onstage when Sam Altman, OpenAI’s chief executive, built a “start-up mentor” chatbot to give advice to aspiring founders, based on an uploaded file of a speech he had given years earlier.