Artificial intelligence, in particular ChatGPT, was arguably one of 2023’s main characters.

For those not constantly interacting with new technologies, AI seemed to burst onto the scene and, then, never left – so what will 2024 bring us in terms of advances?

OpenAI’s (the company behind ChatGPT) chief executive, Sam Altman, has told us to expect a great leap forward – Newsable speaks to Madeline Newman, the Executive Director of New Zealand’s AI Forum, about what advances we might expect.

Below is an edited transcript of the interview, which you can listen to in full here.

What do you think Sam Altman was talking about when he talked of great leaps forward?

I believe he was referring to the potential merging of AI image generators with chatbots to create instant images and videos, capable of making things like chatbots more useful, with more human-like reactions.

From a generative AI perspective, we’re only really just getting started and this year we’re expecting advances like multi-modality.. And improvements in reasoning and reliability – so getting the most right answer every time (those are Sam Altman’s words, not mine).

He says something along the lines of the models are currently the dumbest they will ever be, so they will only ever get smarter.

In the past AI was quite difficult to access because it wasn’t understandable and it was difficult to use. That’s all changed.

Should we be worried about AI’s advances?

There are always going to be bad actors, and it’s how we respond that matters.

Internationally, there are moves around a more joined up approach to some of the big questions that have global implications, so there are societal level changes that are potentially coming along with this stuff.

Locally, it’s important to have consistent and clear regulations that are easy to understand and don’t stifle innovation.

Is New Zealand prepared when it comes to checks and controls about where and how AI can be used?

We’re not starting from a blank sheet – there are already rules and regulations in place.

So, there was some guidance issued last year from the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, for example. And there are organisations like New Zealand Copyright that have been setting out their positions on AI and giving advice around things like IP.

That said, New Zealand is one of the few countries, among our trading partners, that doesn’t have an AI strategy. And that’s important for a couple of reasons.

One, is to address how we will regulate it in a consistent manner. And the other point is [a strategy is needed to] so that we look at adoption to help us take advantage of some of the brilliant innovations that are being developed right here in New Zealand.

Listen to the full interview here.

Newsable is Stuff’s daily news podcast, wrapping up what’s worth talking about in a short package every weekday morning. Make sure to like and follow us wherever you get your podcasts.

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