Harnessing the Power of Large Language Models For Economic and Social Good: Foundations
In his 2016 book, The Fourth Industrial Revolution, Klaus Schwab, the founder of the World Economic Forum, predicted the advent of the next technological revolution, underpinned by artificial intelligence (AI). He argued that, like its predecessors, the AI revolution would wield global socio-economic repercussions. Schwab’s writing was prescient. In November 2022, OpenAI released ChatGPT, a large language model (LLM) embedded with a conversation agent. The reception was phenomenal, with more than 100 million people accessing it during the first two months. Not only did ChatGPT garner widespread personal use, but hundreds of corporations promptly incorporated it and other LLMs to optimize their processes and to enable new products. In this blog post, adapted from our recent whitepaper, we examine the capabilities and limitations of LLMs. In a future post, we will present four case studies that explore potential applications of LLMs. Despite the consensus that this technology revolution will have global consequences, experts differ on whether the impact will be positive or negative. On one hand, OpenAI’s stated mission is to create systems that benefit all of humanity. On the other hand, following the release of ChatGPT, more than a thousand researchers and technology leaders signed an open letter calling for a six-month hiatus on the development of such systems out of concern for societal welfare. As we navigate the fourth industrial revolution, we find ourselves at a juncture where AI, including LLMs, is reshaping sectors. But with new technologies come new challenges and risks. In the case of LLMs, these include disuse - the untapped potential of opportune LLM applications; misuse - dependence on LLMs where their usage may be unwarranted; and abuse - exploitation of LLMs for malicious intent. To harness the advantages of LLMs while mitigating potential harms, it is imperative to address these issues. This post begins by describing the fundamental principles underlying LLMs. We then delve into a range of practical applications, encompassing data science, training and education, research, and strategic planning. Our objective is to demonstrate high leverage use-cases and identify strategies to curtail misuse, abuse, and disuse, thus paving the way for more informed and effective use of this transformative technology.