Dr. Wu Wei: Threats and Opportunities Coexist in the AI Era

Original Post - 12 Apr 2023

Singapore's newest knowledge exchange platform, the "Second Floor Lecture Hall," was officially launched on Sunday, April 9th. Dr. Wu Wei of the Nanyang Technological University, delivered the inaugural speech titled "The Impact of AI on Humanity: Friend or Foe?," marking the beginning of a series of exchange activities.


Dr. Wu Wei is also the Executive President of the Singapore Puxian (Hinghwa) Network. The "Second Floor Lecture Hall" is a lecture platform established by the Association with the aim of promoting meaningful knowledge sharing, facilitating member exchanges, and providing a unique and inspiring space for the wider community.


The Association will regularly invite influential experts and knowledgeable individuals from various industries to the "Second Floor Lecture Hall" located at 127 Kitchener Road, above the old store of the Putien Restaurant, to deliver a series of lectures on topics including technology, culture, business, environment, and humanities.

The hottest topic recently is ChatGPT, with almost daily reports in the global media. Artificial intelligence (AI) technology has made rapid advances in recent years, and March 2023 can be said to be the most explosive month since the birth of AI. Following ChatGPT 3.5, OpenAI quickly launched the even more advanced GPT 4 within a short period, and several domestic and foreign technology giants have also announced their latest AI achievements, attracting global attention. What profound impact will the latest developments in AI have on humanity? This is a topic of extreme concern to people.The council members of the  Association who attended the first "Second Floor Lecture Hall" lecture were very enthusiastic, hoping to find answers through Dr. Wu Wei's profound knowledge and insightful analysis. In his one-hour speech, Dr. Wu Wei presented the latest developments in AI, particularly the impact of ChatGPT, with numerous examples that were both accessible and interesting. He mentioned that seemingly all aspects of human activity can now be handled by AI overnight. The astonishing pace of ChatGPT's iterative development, from the first generation's 117 million parameters to the fourth generation's 100 trillion parameters in just five years, is like the mental development from a 7-year-old child to that of a top student aged 15, achieved in just one or two months. According to expert predictions, the rate of advancement of artificial intelligence will eventually surpass human perception capabilities.

Dr. Wu Wei discussed the profound changes brought about by the Internet+ to traditional industries, completely rewriting business models. Regarding ChatGPT+, the combination of ChatGPT with various industries, powered by ChatGPT's powerful capabilities, this might create another tsunami. He described this trend as "breaking old habits and establishing new ones."

Dr. Wu Wei said that the market space for the content generated by artificial intelligence technology in the future is vast. The application opportunities of AI+ include media, e-commerce, film and television, entertainment, education, finance, healthcare, and industry, among many others.

Dr. Wu Wei emphasized that AI poses both threats and opportunities. The most pressing question for humanity is whether AI, which is becoming increasingly powerful, will be a blessing or a curse. Is it Pandora's box or a tool of civilization?

Dr. Wu Wei stated that human curiosity and concern coexist. Curiosity lies in how powerful AI can become and what difficult problems it can solve. Concerns revolve around the threat to jobs and livelihoods, as well as the fear that once artificial intelligence gains self-awareness (awakening), it will pose a devastating blow to the human species.

Optimists believe that AI may bring new opportunities to the job market, but pessimists feel that it will lead to the loss of human jobs, exacerbate information gaps and language inequalities, give rise to privacy and data security issues, and may even lead to human dependence on machines and interpersonal relationship problems.

Dr. Wu Wei's view is that any technology is meant to serve humanity, and the key is not to waste its potential. Utilized properly, it can benefit humanity. AI presents both threats and opportunities.

Artificial intelligence should serve human society, rather than control or even eliminate it.

He said that AI will replace those who do not use it, just as those who did not use computers in recent years were certainly eliminated.

He emphasized that AI like GPT4 is not designed to replace humans. Its main purpose is to enhance human intelligence and abilities, improve productivity, and creativity. GPT4 can be used to help people accomplish various tasks, and while it may replace some tedious human tasks in certain fields, in most cases, it still requires human guidance and management.

Therefore, he believes that the three abilities that should be cultivated in the AI era are:

(1) Creativity, curiosity, and a strong desire for knowledge. Asking a good question is often more important than solving a problem.

(2) Imagination, which is more important than knowledge.

(3) The ability to discern and organize logical models.

Faced with the unstoppable trend of AI development, Dr. Wu Wei concluded the lecture with the phrase "the future is here, the future is now, the distant future is not far away, only change is constant."


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