Big Tech: Your Money or Your Digital Life? We Are Thinking

September 20, 2023

Why is anyone surprised that big tech companies want to exploit AI for profit? Business Insider gives a quick rundown on how big tech advertised AI as beneficial research tool while now they are prioritizing it as commercial revenue tool in, “Silicon Valley Presented AI As A Noble Research Tool. Now It’s All About Cold, Hard Cash.”

Big tech companies presented AI research as a societal boon and would share the findings with everyone. The research was done without worrying about costs and it is the ideal situation or ultimate discovery. Google wrote off $1.3 million of DeepMind’s debt to demonstrate its commitment to advancing AI research.

As inflation rises, big tech companies are worried about their bottom lines. ChatGPT and similar algorithms has made significant headway in AI science, so big tech companies are eager to exploit it for money. Big tech companies are racing to commercialize chatbots by promoting the benefits with consumers. Competitors are forced to develop their own chatbots or lose business.

Meta is prioritizing AI research but ironically sacked a team researching protein folding. Meta wants to cut the fat to concentrate on profits. Unfortunately the protein folding was axed despite how understanding protein folding could help scientists understand diseases, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

Google is focusing on net profits too. One good example is a new DeepMind unit that shares AI research papers to improve people’s lives as well as products. Google did make the new large language model Llama 2 an open source tool for businesses with fewer than 700 million monthly active users. Google continues to output smart chatbots. Hey, students, isn’t that helpful?

It is unfortunate that humans are inherently selfish beings. If we did everything for the benefit of society it would be great, but history has shown socialism and communism does not work. There is a way to fund exploratory research without worrying about money. We just have not found it yet.

Whitney Grace, September 20, 2023


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