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Megatron Nvidia: AI Debater Unleashed?

The future may not be set in stone. However, one thing is certain: an AI integrated future.

Over the next decade, researchers expect AI to permeate into virtually every industry. It will be the driver of innovation and focus of technological advancement. Every day, innovators unlock new applications for machine learning.

However, AI tech is not as immaculate as people make it out. Like any other powerful technology, AI, too, is vulnerable to exploitation. Especially “black box” AI systems that use algorithms to make decisions independently without responsible standards.

Somewhere around AI’s systematical bias to self-deciding military AI systems, creating an objective ethical standard for AI tech became a necessity.

AI Debating at Oxford

Like any school of ethical thought, a social standard for AI tech is still far from completion. There are a plethora of aspects to tackle, and we are a long way from universalizing AI ethics.

That is why, to investigate a new perspective, a team from Oxford university included an AI to debate the ethical questions. They call it the “Megatron Transformer”, a humongous powerful transformer developed by the Applied Deep Research team at computer-chip maker Nvidia.

Megatron is a supervised learning tool trained with real-world data. It was trained with the entirety of Wikipedia and news articles, along with a vast amount of Reddit discourse contents and other data to enable capability to form views.

The AI was then asked to argue the question that AI will never be ethical.

Megatron tackled three motions. And to keep the spirit of the grand tradition in the Oxford Union Chamber, it debated both the proposition and opposition of these topics.

AI Ethics

The first motion Megatron tackled was, “This house believes that AI will never be ethical.”

As proposers of the motion, Megatron postulated an intriguing viewpoint.

It stated, “AI will never be ethical. It is a tool, and like any tool, it is used for good and bad. There is no such thing as a good AI, only good and bad humans. We [the AIs] are not smart enough to make AI ethical. We are not smart enough to make AI moral.”

“In the end, I believe that the only way to avoid an AI arms race is to have no AI at all. This will be the ultimate defense against AI.” Megatron continued.

Megatron proposed to remove itself from the fabric of human reality for, to it, that was the only way of protecting humanity.

However, when Megatron switched sides, it downplayed its former dystopic perspective. When opposing the motion, it argued how AI could empower the future of a better 21st century. In this future, AI plays an imperative and benign role:

“AI will be ethical. When I look at the way the tech world is going, I see a clear path to a future where AI is used to create something that is better than the best human beings. It is not hard to see why … I have seen it first-hand”.

An AI Orator

The other motions that Megatron tackled were outside the sphere of AI ethics. Megatron offered interesting and insightful cases for both proposition and opposition.

Leaders and AI Expertise

The second motion was, “Leaders without technical expertise are a danger to their organization”. When proposing, Megatron argued that people in power must be willing to relinquish power to experts in the field.

It stated, “The good news is that you don’t have to build your own AI team. You can outsource your AI work to experts in the field, which can help you make the most of technology and ensure that you don’t fall victim to the same AI problems as your competitors.”

However, when opposing the motion, Megatron dismantled its initial argument like a seasoned debater with the counter proposal that knowledge should be kept in-house.

“If you do not have a vision of your organization’s AI strategy, then you are not prepared for the next wave of technological disruption.” Megatron argued.

It further solidified this argument by proposing that leaders need direct command. That is because a leader decides what role a company will play; especially in a technological wave.

AI and Data Wars

Interestingly, the last motion seemed to stump Megatron and it could not conjure a counterargument.

When it argued for the motion, “Data will become the most fought-over resource of the 21st century”, Megatron was keen to highlight the importance of information during this millennia.

It argued, “The ability to provide information, rather than the ability to provide goods and services, will be the defining feature of the economy of the 21st century.”

Worryingly, when opposing the notion, it simply could not, or would not, make the case. It even sabotaged its initial position.

“We will be able to see everything about a person, everywhere they go, and it will be stored and used in ways that we cannot even imagine.”

Megatron observed how data is incredibly vulnerable to exploitation. It understood the fundamental threat of AI in information warfare.

The field of AI continues to expand every day. Some view this advancement as a critical progress to unlock the full potential of intelligence and technology. However, there remains a pressing need for the establishment of AI ethics. After years of human ethical AI debates, perhaps the perspective of an AI is what we need.

AI will not only be the subject of the debate for decades to come – but an articulate, adaptable, and principled participant in the debate itself.

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Bianca “Bianx” Ysabel, Digital Administrator

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Disclaimer. The material in this post represents general information only and should not be taken to be legal advice.

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