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90% of online content will ‘generated by AI by 2025,’ expert says

Nina Schick, advisor, speaker, and A.I. thought leader, joins Yahoo Finance Live to discuss the newest generation of AI tools, how it could affect content generated online, AI startup valuations, the exponential growth of the technology, questions around bots and copyright, and how Big Tech will make a play in the AI market.

Video transcript

[AUDIO LOGO]

- I want to see if we can continue the discussion here with a look at whether the market has a good gauge on where things are headed here. Joining us now is Nina Schick, a speaker, author, and advisor specializing in generative AI. Certainly a very timely conversation, Nina.

And I saw you recently put out some predictions on where you think generative AI is going to go this year. You said, "This is the year where there's going to be exponential acceleration." To what extent has ChatGPT, the exposure that so many users have had to it, helped accelerate that?

NINA SCHICK: Well, ChatGPT has really captured the public imagination in an extremely compelling way. But I think in a few months' time, ChatGPT is just going to be seen as another tool which is basically powered on this new form of AI known as generative AI, which has only been possible or in development for the last few years, with the applications only really coming to the fore in the last 24 to 6 months. ChatGPT is one of them.

But what generative AI can do, essentially, is create new things that would have thus far been seen as unique to human intelligence or creativity. And generative AI can create across all media, so text, video, audio, pictures. Every digital medium can be powered by generative AI. So I think these valuations that you're seeing for OpenAI, I think, are actually going to go up. And you're going to start to see even more generative AI companies which have applications that are going to be universal across many industries in 2023.

- I mean, and as we look at the future growth, I mean, in your book, "Deep Fakes," you predict that over 90% of online content will be generated by AI in 2030. That's not that far away. What does that path look like when you keep in mind that policymakers at some point are going to want to step in into what they call the permissionless innovation?

NINA SCHICK: So I actually think, if I think about that stat, I might actually say I have a different view on that. I think we might reach 90% of online content generated by AI by 2025. So this technology is exponential. I believe that the majority of all digital content is going to start to be produced by AI.

You see things like ChatGPT, which millions of people are already playing with to create text. But there are a whole plethora of other platforms and applications that are coming up. There are going to be more coming up in 2023 that generate images, that generate video, like I said, any kind of digital medium.

Regulators and policymakers are going to be starting to look at earnest in this space in 2023. I think, thus far-- I mean, I have a policy background myself-- the innovation has been so quick that policymakers haven't even figured out or realized what's coming. And, basically, this is pulling into the station like a train.

I mean, "generative AI," that phrase was basically only even coined in the last 12 months. So policymakers, I think, are going to have a lot of work on their hands trying to figure out who should control this. I think the big debates are going to be around whether this should be open source or not, who are the companies that own the huge, foundational models that are going to be used by numerous companies and numerous applications.

And, finally, I think there's going to be a huge public debate about is this going to augment or automate humanity? I actually think it's going to augment. But I think there'll be a lot of people who differ with that opinion.

- Let me press on the point about regulation, though, because, to your point, these discussions often happen. To actually formulate the regulation takes a little longer. And you've pointed out in the meantime, innovation has raced out ahead of that. I mean, to what extent do you think lawmakers can keep up with regulation? And how much of this needs to be a global conversation, given the implications?

NINA SCHICK: It absolutely needs to be a global conversation because the implications, I think, are profound and universal. This can be conceived of as a new kind of communications infrastructure for humanity. And it's not only applicable in a narrow industry in one part of the world. This is applicable to billions of people around the world.

I think where are you going to start seeing the conversation being had at an international level is probably first the EU, which is already looking at the AI Act. And I think a really important area for the future development of generative AI is going to be to see how these regulators look at the open-source area because a lot of the innovation has been coming from the open-source development community. So are regulators going to kind of have-- are they going to basically try and shut that down so that these kind of capabilities are only then in the hands of big private tech companies?

- And Nina, I want to ask you something. Obviously, Elon Musk was one of the cofounder of OpenAI. In response to an article talk about the New York City school district saying that they don't want schools and school devices to have ChatGPT on them, Elon Musk tweeted, "It's a new world. Good bye, homework." What does this mean in terms of the potential for copyright infringement and protective of some of these content creators, as of AI is sort of sourcing from all over the globe?

NINA SCHICK: So you can conceive of generative AI as a new way or a new vehicle to produce all content. And, of course, when it comes to copyright issues, there have already been contentious arguments about the fact that certain data sets have included data, including artist data, which was taken without their consent, so that when you look at some of the images, for instance, that are created on Midjourney or DALL-E or Stable Diffusion, you can do it in the style of certain artists. Now, that's been the whole debate around AI art.

The debate around ChatGPT has more been about plagiarism because, I mean, I'm at CES and I was speaking to an influencer yesterday who basically said he submitted his final essays just using ChatGPT. And he got 100%. So there's been a lot of anxiety around how ChatGPT can be used for plagiarism, but even more than that, again, how it can be used as a tool for anybody to just generate text. So if you are an author, a journalist, a copywriter, how this tool can basically automate what you do.

Again, I just want to make the point that these tools, they are tools, generative AI applications like ChatGPT, like DALL-E, like Midjourney or Stable Diffusion, they are only the very first applications. We have really hit the rate of exponential growth. The kind of scientific papers coming out, the innovation, the pace of acceleration is so incredible that these tools, which are shocking and awing us in 2023, at the beginning of 2023, are going to seem quite quaint by the end of the year because the capabilities are just going to increase so powerfully.

- I mean, it's worth noting that OpenAI was founded as a nonprofit initially in 2015. You had some big tech founders or big tech backers, like an Elon Musk, like a Peter Thiel. But it still pales in comparison to big tech companies, like an Alphabet, Google, right? I mean, to what extent do you think their investments are likely to increase? I mean, how do they compete in this space? What do you see as the make-up here as you see the space expand?

NINA SCHICK: So the big tech companies, I think, in 2023 will continue to make their own generative AI plays, put a lot more focus in the space. I mean, there's been a lot of debate about whether OpenAI is an existential threat to Google, the fact that Microsoft is an investor in OpenAI, the fact that ChatGPT is going to be integrated into Bing, is this going to challenge the dominance of Google?

And although that's a fantastic story, there is no doubt that Google is developing its own generative AI tools. The amount of data they have, the amount of talent, the amount of AI expertise is so deep. And whilst they haven't released any tools publicly, like ChatGPT, I think we're going to see a lot more from Apple, Google, Microsoft in this arena in this year.

But, of course, they've all got their eyes on these new upstarts. I mean, we talk about OpenAI being a new player. I mean, it's been around for a few years, since 2015 when it's founded. But there are other players, like Stability AI from the UK, which was immediately minted as a unicorn last year at its seed round.

I think these companies that are coming up in the generative AI space, the kind of new disruptors, will continue to collaborate with the big tech companies. And the big tech companies will continue to invest in them. But also you're going to start to see the tech titans unveiling their own tools and their own place in the generative AI space.

- I mean, this is a fascinating space to watch. So we hope to have you back. Nina Schick, advisor specializing in generative AI, thank you so much for joining us this morning.

NINA SCHICK: Thank you.