Father of the Internet, Vint Cerf, warns businesses not to rush investments into conversational AI

Father of the Internet, Vint Cerf, warns businesses not to rush investments into conversational AI

Vint Cerf, known as the “Father of the Internet” and a Google “internet evangelist,” warned business owners against investing immediately in conversational AI just “because it’s really cool.”

The warning comes as ChatGPT is experiencing a surge in popularity.

“There’s an ethical issue here that I hope some of you will consider. Everybody’s talking about ChatGPT or Google’s version of that, and we know it doesn’t always work the way we would like it to,” Vint Cerf said during a conference at Mountain View, California.

He issues this warning as major tech firms like Google, Meta, and Microsoft battle to maintain their position as leaders in conversational AI while making rapid advancements in a system that still frequently makes mistakes.

“If you think, ‘Man, I can sell this to investors because it’s a hot topic and everyone will throw money at me,’ don’t do that. Be thoughtful. You were right that we can’t always predict what will happen with these technologies and, to be honest with you, most of the problem is people — that’s why we people haven’t changed in the last 400 years, let alone the last 4,000.

“They will seek to do that which is their benefit, not yours. So we must remember that and be thoughtful about how we use these technologies,” he said.

The 79-year-old further stated that engineers like himself should be accountable for fixing mistakes and that it is crucial to learn “how to minimize the worst-case potential.”

“On the engineering side, I think engineers like me should be responsible for trying to find a way to tame some of these technologies so that they are less likely to cause harm. And, of course, depending on the application, a not-very-good-fiction story is one thing. Giving advice to somebody can have medical consequences. Figuring out how to minimize the worst-case potential is very important,” he said.

Cerf has worked at Google as a vice president and “chief internet evangelist” since 2005. He is known as the “Father of the Internet” because of his involvement in designing the architecture used to build the internet.


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