The pros and cons of artificial intelligence, and the role AI plays in journalism were discussed on day one of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) Hawaii region 11 conference.
“A lot of people think Chat GPT is as smart as people, but that’s not true,” said Sukhwa Hong, Assistant Professor in the College of Business and Economics at UH Hilo, when asked where AI stands right now.
The panel reached a consensus that AI is not yet at a level of advancement that should concern all journalists. Hong compared current AI to a person who has learned a language and has the potential to learn more, but only knows the basics of the language.
Dane Dupont, Co-founder of the nonprofit organization Hawaiian Volcano Education and Resilience Institute, explained that AI at its current level is not capable of writing about advanced and complex topics. It is more suited to write about topics such as homemaking rather than politics and groundbreaking scientific discoveries. “[AI] is doing all the fun stuff for us,” said Dupont.
Dupont, who also serves as the administrator of Hawaii Tracker, concluded the session saying that the future of AI and journalism is widely unknown, and that “all we know is that it’s going to be wild and crazy.”
The panel included Madhi Belcaid, faculty member of the Department of Information and Computer Sciences at UH Mānoa.