3 March 2023 

MBS presents the Q&A on AI with Prof. Johan Steyn

In this, the first half of a two-part series, our guest Prof. Johan Steyn answers the burning questions from the discussion Milpark Business School hosted titled, "ChatGPT & AI: Our creations have become creators". 

Prof. Steyn is a Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence advocate and thought leader; and one of the top 50 global voices on AI as recognised by SwissCognitive.

Q: I would love to know how the CA community is integrating AI to ensure the qualification remains relevant in the modern work force.

One way the community can integrate AI is by incorporating it into their training programs. This can include courses on AI and data analytics, as well as hands-on training in using AI tools and software. By providing chartered accountants with the necessary knowledge and skills to use AI, they will be able to better serve their clients and provide more value.

Another way to integrate AI is by using it in the audit process. AI can be used to automate repetitive tasks, such as data entry and analysis, which can free up time for chartered accountants to focus on more complex tasks. It can also be used to identify patterns and anomalies in financial data, which can help to uncover fraud and other irregularities.

Q: Semi-conductors followed Moore's Law; is there a theory that seeks to predict improvements in AI?

Quantum computing has the potential to significantly impact Moore's Law, which is the observation that the number of transistors in a microchip doubles approximately every two years, leading to a corresponding increase in computing power.

One of the primary advantages of quantum computing is its ability to perform calculations in parallel, rather than the linear approach used in classical computing. This means that quantum computers have the potential to solve problems that are beyond the capabilities of classical computers, including problems related to encryption, drug discovery, and machine learning.

Quantum computing has the potential to disrupt the traditional computing industry, and may eventually replace some of the functions currently performed by classical computers. This would have significant implications for Moore's Law, as the rate of improvement in computing power would likely increase at a much faster pace than it has in the past.

Q: Are SA insurance companies embracing AI and digitalisation?

Yes, many local insurance companies are increasingly embracing AI and digitalisation to improve their operations and provide better services to their customers. In fact, AI is becoming a critical component of the insurance industry, as it can be used to streamline processes, reduce costs, and improve decision-making.

One way that insurance companies are using AI is through chatbots and virtual assistants. These AI-powered tools can be used to provide customers with personalised recommendations and advice, as well as to help them file claims and resolve issues more quickly.

Another way that insurance companies are using AI is through predictive analytics. By analysing large volumes of data, including customer demographics and past claims, AI can be used to identify patterns and trends that can help insurers better assess risk and set prices.

Q: How do we leverage technology to create and grow our nations’ wealth? What impact does it have on sustainability? Is it really open to everyone?

Leveraging technology is a critical component of creating and growing a nation's wealth. Technology can be used to improve productivity, create new industries and jobs, and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of existing industries. It can also help to reduce costs, increase revenues, and create new business models.

One of the key impacts that technology has on sustainability is its ability to help us better manage resources and reduce waste. For example, smart technologies can be used to optimise energy consumption, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and promote more sustainable practices in agriculture and manufacturing.

However, it is important to ensure that the benefits of technology are accessible to everyone. This means investing in education and training programs to ensure that people have the necessary skills to participate in the digital economy. It also means ensuring that everyone has access to the infrastructure and tools needed to benefit from technology, including broadband internet and affordable devices.

Sadly, in South Africa many people are part of the ‘digital divide’ – lacking suitable internet access, devices and even electricity. It does not seem that our government has an actionable plan to address these issues at scale in the short term.

Q: Will ChatGPT open stocks to the public? If so, when do you think this will happen?

There is no indication that this will happen. I doubt that OpenAI will want their stock to be traded publicly. They certainly do not need additional investments and funding.

Q: It is very difficult to regulate biases. Everyone, whether they are the same skin colour etc, faces different challenges. There are 8+ billion people. How possible would it be to factor in all these biases? Even as humans, we struggle to relate to each other, how much more to a machine made by ‘imperfect’ designers?

Bias in data sets will always remain a problem; I do not think we can eradicate it 100%. However, we should always be aware of these problems and work together in mitigating these.

Q: Google skews your options based on your previous searches. So how will that affect the answers you get to your question?

Google uses algorithms to personalise search results based on your previous searches, as well as other factors such as your location, language preferences, and device type. This means that the answers you get to your question may be skewed based on these factors.

To address this issue, you can take steps to expand your search and reduce the impact of personalisation on your results. One way to do this is to use more general search terms, rather than specific keywords that may be influenced by your previous searches. You can also try using different search engines or using a private browsing mode, which may reduce the impact of personalisation on your results.

Q: OpenAI was a nonprofit organisation. This flip to profit/valuations is very scary. It will be very interesting to see whether the values of ‘helping humanity’ will remain uncompromised, unlike Facebook that has become the villain of the century with its data violation issues.

The transformation of OpenAI from a non-profit organisation to a profit-driven enterprise has raised concerns about whether their values of ‘helping humanity’ will remain uncompromised. This is a valid concern, as we have seen in the past how some companies have put profits ahead of ethical considerations, leading to negative consequences for society.

OpenAI has stated that its mission and values will remain unchanged, even as it pursues a more commercial focus. The organisation has committed to continue developing and promoting AI technologies that are safe, beneficial, and aligned with human values.

To ensure that its values are not compromised, OpenAI has taken steps to ensure that its governance structure is transparent and accountable, and that its research is subject to rigorous ethical review. The organisation has also established a safety team to oversee the development of AI technologies and ensure that they are safe and beneficial for all.

Q: How safe is it to dump information or data into Chat GPT? If I input data that is sensitive, then where or how does it get stored or who has access to it?

As an AI language model, Chat GPT is designed to process text inputs and generate responses, and does not retain or store any user data beyond the duration of a single session. This means that any information or data that you enter into Chat GPT will not be stored or accessed by anyone else.

It is important to be aware that there are potential risks associated with sharing sensitive information online, including the possibility of data breaches or unauthorised access. As a general rule, you should avoid sharing any sensitive or confidential information in an online environment, and should take steps to protect your personal data and information.

Q: How long do you think it will take for the traits that make humanity unique, to inevitably disappear?

This is a difficult one, who knows? I doubt that all human attributes will disappear as a result of technological advances.

Catch up on the full webinar here: https://lnkd.in/df5t-3nU