The importance of learning AI fundamentals: Brook Taube’s push for AI literacy

Despite growing awareness of generative AI, data suggest that most people don’t understand how AI works. …

The latest hype cycle around artificial intelligence (AI) is still going strong. From human resources to finance, the benefits of AI seem to have surpassed concerns over the potential risks of extinction some suggest. With the role of AI becoming more prominent, billion-dollar builder Brook Taube encourages everyone to learn AI fundamentals.

The importance of AI can’t be overstated, with models like Midjourney, ChatGPT and Google Bard demonstrating increasing capability. However, despite this growing awareness, data suggest that most people don’t understand how AI works. This, combined with the ethical concerns innate to the technology, might be a bigger cause for concerns than most people realize.

“The rapid pace at which AI is advancing requires us to keep up with its developments and implications. Only by doing so can we really understand its implications, both positive and negative,” says Taube, a serial entrepreneur and investor with decades of experience in the financial and tech industries. “Learning AI fundamentals is no longer a luxury or responsibility  reserved to a few.”

According to a Pew Research Center survey, about 70% of Americans fail to correctly identify the role AI plays when it comes to email services, online shopping, wearable fitness, customer service, security and music platforms. This lack of understanding also affects experts, as AI becomes more difficult to understand and predict the more powerful it gets, even for experts.

“Most modern AI models were inspired by human intelligence — learning from data, making predictions and generating content,” explains Taube. “While these models are still far from replicating human intelligence, they already possess much of the basics.”

The implications of this idea are quite important, as a lack of understanding of AI fundamentals will inevitably result in individuals failing to evaluate the decisions made by AI. Popular models like ChatGPT have proven to hallucinate on a regular basis, often providing incorrect information and providing nonexistent citations. While this might be harmless in some cases, it is not when its effects spread to judicial courts or even result in flames of sexual harassment.

“Use of AI is no longer limited to data scientists, developers or other experts who understand its flaws, meaning the chances for incorrect interpretation have skyrocketed,” adds Taube, who has kept a close eye on the AI industry over the past decade. “In terms of magnitude, we should think of AI development and its impact on society as comparable to, and likely to exceed that of, the internet.”

Learning AI fundamentals is already enhancing the career prospects for individuals, which is especially important at a time when layoffs are accelerating across all industries. However, the potential benefits of AI literacy expand to other areas like entrepreneurship, personal development and leadership, especially as its adoption continues.

“While human expertise and ingenuity are irreplaceable assets, we should expect AI to continue to become part of everyday life,” concludes Taube.

Known for his philanthropic efforts, Taube’s positivism around AI shouldn’t come as a surprise, especially when considering that the attention of regulators might be elsewhere. That being said, given Taube’s vast experience starting, running and funding tech businesses probably mean he is up to something. For now, getting familiar with what AI is truly all about might be the way to go.

VentureBeat newsroom and editorial staff were not involved in the creation of this content.  

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