The hype around generative AI has been created because of the vested interests’ different players have in its success.
That is whether a company have backed or developed this technology or whether it may harm their existing investments or business should the technology fall short of its inflated expectations.
Different to the metaverse hype
Since the release of Chat GPT in November 2022 there has been undeniable excitement around generative AI. The hype has been easily created and maintained because its benefits are easily palpable by the consumer. This is not an exclusively B2B, state, or big tech phenomenon, instead the layman can immediately use it and feel more involved in the conversation. They can see many tangible and beneficial applications already for their everyday lives and in the content and products they consume.
This is in stark comparison to the last hyped technology, the metaverse. The metaverse held a very different position because a fully realized metaverse is not only something which consumers could not yet use, due to limitations in the enabling technology, but more importantly something that consumers did not seem to want or need.
The metaverse felt like something Meta (then called Facebook) was trying to unjustifiably push onto the consumer in an attempt to beat their competition by pre-empting the next big trend in tech. A lot of the hype around Generative AI has been realized by tapping into two powerful drivers of human behaviour: fear and the perception of opportunity.
Why the generative AI hype?
Every move made in generative AI seems to have a hidden motive in contributing to the narrative, which is predominantly financial. In 2020 Open AI abandoned its non-profit status and allowed investors to earn up to 100 times on their investment. In 2022 VCs poured $4.5 billion into generative AI. In 2023, Microsoft confirmed their $10bn investment into ChatGPT. So, there are significant financial interests at play.
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The media can now influence investor sentiment and perception of certain companies or industries, even to the extent that in January 2021 Bitcoin’s value jumped more than 20% to $38,566 after Elon Musk changed his personal Twitter bio to #bitcoin.
So, whether it’s an article outlining generative AI’s capacity to replace most professions, whether it’s a tweet disregarding the technology and specifying where its limitations lie, or it’s a letter advising that AI development should be paused as poses risks to humanity due to its ‘human-competitive intelligence’, many of these have undisclosed intentions.
One of these intentions is to maintain momentum, regardless of the authenticity, accuracy, or quality of the material. So, the material must be consumed with caution.
Some things to keep in mind when consuming media content on tech trends:
- Everything needs to be read critically. Analyse how much of a grip the author has on the technology, and what the implications of what they are saying are.
- Remember that some will have gained their knowledge of a subject solely from social media, which is not the most comprehensive, accurate or neutral way of formulating a stance and opinion.
- Try to read from impartial sources and peer reviewed content. It is also important to endeavour to read multiple opinions, to ensure you diverge from your echo chamber.
Whether it is cheerleading or criticizing the technology, don’t just re-share content blindly as, just like this article does, you’re just lining the pockets of those that are invested.