Noam Chomsky, Steven Spielberg Say AI Is Soulless and Scary

  • Both Steven Spielberg and Noam Chomsky have expressed their doubts about artificial intelligence.
  • Spielberg said that AI requires humans to surrender creative expression and autonomy to AI.
  • Chomsky is of the opinion that tools like ChatGPT have “sacrificed creativity for a kind of amorality.”

Director Steven Spielberg and famed linguist Noam Chomsky have both expressed their doubts about artificial intelligence and its place in the world. 

Both Spielberg and Chomsky separately gave their views on how AI could have serious repercussions on mankind’s ability to create and think independently. In an interview with late-night show host Stephen Colbert on Wednesday, Spielberg talked about how the use of AI in the art-making process makes him “very nervous.”

“I love anything that is created not by a computer, but by a human person,” Spielberg told Colbert. 

“It’s got me very nervous because you’re basically taking something you created and you made — which is the computer, and giving the computer autonomy over your point of view and your self as a human person,” Spielberg added. 

Spielberg, who directed films like “Jaws” and “E.T.,” said it is scary that AI has the power to take the “soul” out of creative work.

“I think the soul is unimaginable and is ineffable,” Spielberg said. “And it cannot be created by any algorithm, it is just something that exists in all of us.”

“And to lose that because books, and movies, and music are being written by machines we created?” Spielberg added. “That terrifies me.”

Spielberg’s comments come after artists have expressed concerns that AI-fueled image generators are creating pseudo-original work by ripping off art styles.

Chomsky, a linguistics professor, cognitive scientist, and philosopher, believes that AI tools like ChatGPT have “sacrificed creativity for a kind of amorality.”

Chomsky penned an op-ed for The New York Times with linguistics professor Ian Roberts and Jeffrey Watumull, a director of artificial intelligence at a science and technology company.

In the piece published on Wednesday, Chomsky, Roberts, and Watumull wrote that AI systems like ChatGPT are incapable of independent thought. They added that ChatGPT’s responses exhibit “something like the banality of evil: plagiarism and apathy and obviation.” 

“Given the amorality, faux science, and linguistic incompetence of these systems, we can only laugh or cry at their popularity,” wrote the trio. 

In an email to Insider, Chomsky said he was “skeptical” that AI could be beneficial in furthering any field of study, like art and creative work.

The ethics of AI is a divisive subject — particularly as chatbots like ChatGPT become more popular and widely used. However, AI does not have independent thoughts — it’s just good at making people think it does, Anna Marbut, a professor at the University of San Diego’s applied artificial intelligence program, told Insider’s Cheryl Teh.

“An AI is trained for a specific task, and they’re getting better at doing those specific tasks in a way that is convincing to humans,” Marbut said. “The truth is, AI is trained on a finite data set, and they have finite tasks that they are very good at performing,”

Representatives for Spielberg and OpenAI did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment. 

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