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Generative AI - Knowledge or Intelligence?


Our resident Technology Expert at Venturis Inc, Amit Ghadge has shared a well-researched blog on Generative AI and the ongoing debate about the economic potential of the technology vs. the usual concerns related to the impacts on existing jobs. As Amit points out, Generative AI, unlike the past phases of automation is likely to impact high skill knowledge worker jobs and not just repetitive tasks. If you have used any of the Generative AI tools like Chat GPT, you are bound to be impressed and in awe of the output that it produces. Given the massive amount of input data that the large language models have been trained on, the scale of the information that these models are based on is unparalleled and no human can come close to being able to generate content that is based on the existing data set at the same scale. So, that poses the question that have we reached an era where the Artificial Intelligence is truly more Intelligent than the human race and as some Sci-Fi movies have portrayed “Is this the beginning of when the machines take over”?

I highly encourage you to read other material such as Geoffery Moore’s article on this topic: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/understanding-chatgpt-triumph-rhetoric-geoffrey-moore/. The article and the book that it is based on (Stephen Wolfram’s “What is ChatGPT Doing . . . And Why Does It Work? “ provide a very intelligent (pun intended) explanation of chat GPT’s inner workings. The summary view, that I share, is that for any task/job that requires engaging with a large volume of information and regulated procedures, tools like ChatGPT are godsent, while anything where judgement is required, one must not expect these tools to be the final arbiter.

Here I would like to introduce a concept that I have used even before the AI age to make a distinction between Knowledge and Intelligence: “Collecting information is Knowledge, applying this acquired Knowledge is Intelligence“. With the information age era, I am sure you have all experienced the deluge of information and some people who seem to have explored the ends of the internet and are quick to share their acquired Knowledge at any available opportunity. I have used this concept, when interacting with others to assess if it is Knowledge or Intelligence that is required for a particular situation and if the other party is bringing the relevant skill to the job at hand or not. Based on my initial experiments with ChatGPT and Generative AI tools, I was genuinely impressed and was quick to extend this parallel and conclude that if we consider traditional search and the output as Knowledge acquisition tools, ChatGPT and the Generative AI are the definition of Machine Intelligence (at least that is the impression one is bound to walk away with based on the output from one of these tools). However, if you dig deeper and understand what these tools are doing, it is all math and there is really no true understanding of the content that it is generating. In its simplest form (a gross over-simplification admittedly), it is all a set of tokens and the relative location of these tokens when generating an output. So, as per the definition “Collecting information is Knowledge, applying this acquired Knowledge is Intelligence “, in my opinion, these tools still fall in the category of Knowledge acquisition and not really Intelligence.


In my opinion, the 4 Cs of the 21st Century skills - Creativity, Critical Thinking, Collaboration and Communication are still skills that are uniquely human and while the Generative AI tools have come a long way with the introduction of Large Language Models, when the 4C skills are applied by humans and augmented by the access to Knowledge offered by the Generative AI tools, the growth potential is tremendous. It is not a man vs. machine Sci-Fi movie scenario but truly a Human Intelligence supplemented by Machine Knowledge that can create a phase of unparalleled growth across several sectors.

At Venturis Inc, we are overall huge fans of applying AI to offload the Knowledge gathering tasks and big believers in use of AI tools across all sectors to unlock the next phase of Product Innovation. We plan to dig deeper into the use cases and impacts on verticals and the first movers in a subsequent article. So, please share your views and stay tuned..

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