AI: Utopia or Dystopia?

Since the late 2022 public launch of Chat GPT, AI is now a big part of this decade’s zeitgeist, along side the pandemic, Taylor Swift, Jan 6 and Oct 7. AI has ushered in a thrilling world of productivity and synthetic content generation, where with mere phrases (known as prompts), entire chapters of beautifully written prose, or captivating poetry in any genre, crowd pleasing music, professional looking videos, and even high-quality software code can be rendered in seconds.


With the latest incarnation of this powerful software system, Chat GPT 4.0, and its rivals such as Microsoft’s Bing, or Google’s Bard or Meta’s Llama, entire new sets of capabilities have been launched. The biggest impact of these models is that now anyone can get a computer to do complex tasks using natural language commands, without having to use specialized computer languages. From conjuring a gourmet recipe based on pictures of your fridge’s contents, to flawless translations, to code that can create websites in no time, the recent uses are endless. For me, these GPTs have become invaluable co-pilots. They have liberated me from endless search rabbit holes, tackled daunting research, and even overcome an occasional writer’s block.


But beyond the razzle and dazzle, there are many pitfalls lurking. These programs can hallucinate. While the models are not designed to lie, in their quest to complete sentences, they can make up stuff when prompted with limited context. Second, AI can help generate fake content like never before. Especially this year, where half of the world’s population will elect their future leaders, the specter of manipulated content looms large. Third, at the pace the technology is blossoming, AI is turning out to be a major disruptor, with apt comparisons made with the role of coal, electricity or computers in prior industrial revolutions. By some estimates, many white-collar jobs, or aspects of jobs that require cognition and creative output will be made AI-redundant.


Are we headed towards techno utopia or dystopia? Navigating this AI landscape demands foresight, transparency, regulation, and a healthy dose of common sense.  The future of AI rests not in silicon chips and algorithms, but in the informed hands of communities like ours. Join me on April 18th at Town Hall for the Del Mar Foundation’s DMFTalk series ( and at future Del Mar Community Connections ( sessions to explore the intricacies of AI.