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AI expert and metaverse pioneer Philip Rosedale: AI should be "free like air"
"Anything that we do that increases inequality increases the divide between the halves and the have-nots would be fatal for us as a society"
I recently spoke with Second Life founder and Midjourney advisor Philip Rosedale about the potential economic and cultural impact of generative AI. He told me that artificial intelligence technologies like GPT-4 should be made broadly accessible as a means of societal advancement. The states are high, Rosedale says, because the decisions made today by companies like OpenAI, Google, Microsoft, and others will have a significant impact on future generations.
"Anything that we do that increases inequality increases the divide between the halves and the have-nots would be fatal for us as a society," Rosedale said.
Rosedale argues that public funding could enable broad access to such advanced technologies. Based on his calculations, it would cost around $40 million per year to provide free GPT-4 access at public terminals across the U.S. While the figure seems steep, the societal benefits could far outweigh the costs, especially considering that technology costs will likely decrease over time.
Additionally, the possibility of misuse or weaponization of AI is a real concern. Rosedale acknowledges this yet remains optimistic. He sees humanity at a unique crossroads where AI is powerful enough to cause harm but not yet powerful enough to prevent it. As such, we need to commit to the responsible use of AI collectively, ensuring it serves as a tool for societal upliftment rather than exacerbating existing inequalities.
In the face of wealth inequality and social divide, democratizing AI could serve as a step towards bridging the gap, akin to how the early internet was largely made available to all. This presents an opportunity for us to ensure that technology remains an instrument for equitable progress and does not become a contributor to societal fractures.
Rosedale’s vision of making AI "free like air" is a daring dream and an urgent call for action, a call for ensuring that the benefits of AI don't remain the privilege of a few but become the right of all.