What is AI? Stark County professor talks ChatGPT, rise of technology

Artificial intelligence has been making headlines in recent weeks as major tech companies like Google and Microsoft have announced new tools powered by the technology.

Experts say the rapid growth of AI could affect manufacturing, health care and other industries.

The Canton Repository spoke to Shawn Campbell, an assistant professor of computer science and cybersecurity at Malone University, about the rise of AI technology and what it means for the future.

What is artificial intelligence?

It is the ability for computers to perform functions typically done by humans, including decision making or speech or visual recognition. The study has been around since the 1950s, according to an article from Harvard University.

Campbell said one type of AI commonly used in the medical field is expert systems. This technology uses knowledge databases to offer advice or make decisions regarding medical diagnoses.

How are Microsoft and Google using ChatGPT?

A developer called OpenAI launched an AI chatbot in November 2022 known as ChatGPT. Users can interact with the chatbot and receive conversational responses.

Campbell said the rise of this technology has created competition between Microsoft and Google. Microsoft plans to invest billions into ChatGPT, and recently announced AI upgrades to its search engine, Bing. Google, meanwhile, has introduced new AI features in Gmail and Google Docs that create text.

The major tech companies are in an arms race, Campbell said, to see who can develop the best AI technology.

Will the growth of AI affect job opportunities in different industries?

There is some concern that AI technology will replace jobs traditionally held by humans. In some cases, it’s already happened. For example, fast-food chain White Castle started installing hamburger-flipping robots in some of its locations in 2020 to reduce human contact with food during the cooking process.

Campbell said it’s possible that AI will result in fewer employees doing certain tasks.

“If you have a product line that had 100 people on it, and they get a new type of machine in and kind of redesign the process, then they do it with 80 people or 60 people, … I do think you’re going to find more of the same jobs being done by fewer people, and those people being freed up to do other tasks, essentially,” Campbell said.

Some worry that trucking jobs will disappear if developers figure out self-driving technology, but Campbell doesn’t expect that to happen anytime soon.

What kind of changes will AI like ChatGPT have on daily life?

Campbell said he expects AI to become a tool that makes life easier, noting that technology like adaptive cruise control and camera tools that let users remove unwanted objects from the background of photos involve AI and are already used on a daily basis.

“I think that’s really the progression it will follow. … It’s being used as a tool, and it’s making people’s jobs easier, or making a long drive more enjoyable and safer as well,” he said.

One of the biggest changes Campbell expects is for data science and analytics to be emphasized more in education. Some employers are already paying for their employees to receive data analytics and literacy training, he said, and Malone University recently added a data analytics major.

Campbell predicted these skills will become important in the job market and that educational institutions may start incorporating data analytics into general curriculum, like they do with writing and public speaking.