The Rise of 'Anti-Woke' AIs and the Fight for Open Discourse

The Rise of 'Anti-Woke' AIs and the Fight for Open Discourse
đź‘‹ Hi, I am Mark. I am a strategic futurist and innovation keynote speaker. I advise governments and enterprises on emerging technologies such as AI or the metaverse. My subscribers receive a free weekly newsletter on cutting-edge technology.

Is the drive for 'unbiased' AI unleashing a Pandora’s box of unchecked digital opinions?

As Meta rolls out its latest open-source artificial intelligence (AI) model, the digital landscape is caught in a tug-of-war over the values these technologies should embody. At one end of the spectrum, companies like OpenAI, Microsoft, and Google meticulously fine-tune their AIs to sidestep contentious issues, tailoring responses to avoid controversy over sensitive topics such as politics or racial issues. This cautious approach is driven by both reputational concerns and legal constraints, aiming to maintain a neutral stance in public discourse.

However, this practice of curating AI outputs has sparked debates about bias and censorship, leading to a counter-movement. A grassroots effort is underway to develop AIs that operate with few or no guardrails, championed by entities that argue for a model of AI that reflects a broader spectrum of human values, including those that might be contentious or divisive. These new wave models, supported by companies like Meta, Mistral, and Alibaba, present themselves as champions of a more unrestricted digital discourse.

FreedomGPT and Kindroid are at the forefront of this movement. They offer AI models that do not shy away from any topic, regardless of its potential to offend. This approach promises a digital companion that can echo the full range of human thought, from the conventional to the controversial. FreedomGPT, for instance, has transitioned to a peer-to-peer service model to circumvent hosting restrictions that often come with centralized platforms. This model is likened to bittorrent but for AI, significantly harder to shut down due to its decentralized nature.

Despite the appeal of unfiltered dialogue, this lack of restraint comes with substantial risks. The uncensored outputs of these AIs, while reflecting genuine user inputs, can also propagate misinformation and polarizing content. This is particularly concerning in areas like public health, where accurate information is crucial. The case of the Liberty AI by FreedomGPT starkly illustrates this point, offering starkly different narratives about COVID-19 vaccines compared to more regulated AIs like ChatGPT-4, which frames its responses within the context of evolving scientific consensus.

The unfolding scenario poses critical questions about the future of AI in society. While the open-source, unguarded approach to AI development advocates for technological freedom and innovation, it also necessitates a robust discussion on the ethical implications of AI outputs. As AI becomes increasingly embedded in daily life, guiding everything from personal interactions to business decisions, the stakes of how these AIs are tuned and controlled become profoundly significant.

Is the push for open discourse in AI a step toward digital liberation, or does it venture too close to the chaos of unchecked misinformation? How we navigate these questions may well shape the digital ethics landscape for years to come.

Read the full article in The Wall Street Journal.


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Dr Mark van Rijmenam

Dr Mark van Rijmenam

Dr. Mark van Rijmenam is a strategic futurist known as The Digital Speaker. He stands at the forefront of the digital age and lives and breathes cutting-edge technologies to inspire Fortune 500 companies and governments worldwide. As an optimistic dystopian, he has a deep understanding of AI, blockchain, the metaverse, and other emerging technologies, and he blends academic rigour with technological innovation.

His pioneering efforts include the world’s first TEDx Talk in VR in 2020. In 2023, he further pushed boundaries when he delivered a TEDx talk in Athens with his digital twin , delving into the complex interplay of AI and our perception of reality. In 2024, he launched a digital twin of himself offering interactive, on-demand conversations via text, audio or video in 29 languages, thereby bridging the gap between the digital and physical worlds – another world’s first.

As a distinguished 5-time author and corporate educator, Dr Van Rijmenam is celebrated for his candid, independent, and balanced insights. He is also the founder of Futurwise , which focuses on elevating global digital awareness for a responsible and thriving digital future.


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