This class will focus on recent developments in AI beginning with the release of ChatGPT in November 2022 and ending wherever we find ourselves a year later. ChatGPT thrust AI into the public spotlight as never before. Within five days of release, it had gained a million users and was the fastest-growing app in the history of software. Apocalyptic prophecies rang out in all directions, marked by phrases like "imminent utopia," "post-scarcity economy," and "extinction of humanity." Tom Friedman referred to our situation as a "Promethean moment."
Hundreds of AI researchers signed an open letter calling for a pause in the release of systems more powerful than GPT4, citing "profound risks to society and humanity." A later statement said that "mitigating the risk of extinction from AI should be a global priority."
Meanwhile, AI research proceeds apace. By the time this class meets, these issues may feel like old news and we may be focused on breakthroughs in medicine or robotics. This course will attempt to follow the changing AI landscape and explore the potential ways AI will affect our lives.