The battle for AI supremacy that was taking place behind the scenes between tech companies is suddenly in focus (Shutterstock)

Just weeks after the AI-powered generative chatbot launched on Nov. 30, 2022, the nonprofit behind GPT Chat, OpenAI, was expected to generate revenue of up to $2024 billion in <>, sources told Reuters at the time.

The ability of the so-called language model to turn users' commands and requests into poetry, songs and articles charmed 100 million users in two months, achieving what it took Facebook in four and a half years and Twitter in five years to become the fastest growing consumer app ever.

Sometimes the answers were wrong, although they are presented convincingly. This has happened so often that the word "hallucination," which means artificial intelligence generating false information, was chosen as "word of the year" on, showing the deep impressions that technology has made on society.

Investors, led by Microsoft, poured billions of dollars into OpenAI and AI startups in 2023, amounting to $27 billion, according to PatchBook.

Suddenly, the battle for AI supremacy, which had been in the background among big tech companies for years, came into focus as Alphabet, Meta and all announced new products.

By March 2023, thousands of scientists and AI experts, including Elon Musk, had signed an open letter demanding that they pause training more powerful systems to study their impact on and potential danger to humanity.

One of the "godfathers of artificial intelligence," Jeffrey Hinton who quit Alphabet in May, said: "This is an existential risk, it's close enough that we have to work hard now, and devote a lot of resources to figuring out what we can do about it."

Estimates of AI-related economic impact could reach $15.7 trillion by 2030 (French)

The Artificial Intelligence Revolution. What is important?

Consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers has estimated that the economic impact associated with AI could reach $15.7 trillion globally by 2030, nearly China's GDP.

This growth optimism is reinforced by the fact that almost every industry – from finance and law to manufacturing and entertainment – has adopted AI as part of their expected strategy.

The winners and losers of the age of artificial intelligence are just beginning to emerge. As in other eras, beneficiaries are more likely to be selected on social and economic grounds.

Civil rights advocates have raised concerns about potential AI bias in areas such as employment, while trade unions have warned of deep disruptions to hiring as AI threatens to cut or eliminate some jobs, including computer code writing and entertainment content crafting.

Chipmaker Nvidia, whose graphics processors are the hottest commodity in the global AI race, emerged as a big winner as its market value rose to the trillion-dollar club along with Apple and Alphabet.

In the final months of the year, another winner unexpectedly emerged amid the turmoil. In November, OpenAI's board fired CEO Sam Altman for "not consistently being honest with them," according to a brief statement. In the absence of an explanation, the scene turned into a referendum on AI preaching – represented on the one hand by Altman's pursuit of AI commercialization, as opposed to skeptics and pessimists who sought a slower and more cautious approach.

Optimists and Altman won, with the ousted CEO returning a few days later, thanks in large part to OpenAI employees who threatened mass exodus if he missed the company's leadership.

Explaining why the company was pushed to the brink, Altman said people were concerned about the significant risks of developing artificial intelligence that could surpass human intelligence. At an event in New York last December, he said: "I think everything exploded."

Sam Altman: People were worried about the big risks of developing artificial intelligence that could surpass human intelligence (French)

Year 2024.. What does it mean?

One of the questions raised by the OpenAI saga is: Will the future of AI and its social impact continue to be discussed behind closed doors by a privileged few in Silicon Valley?

EU-led regulators are determined to play a leading role in 2024 with a comprehensive plan to create technology barriers in the form of the EU AI Act, details of the draft due to be unveiled in the coming weeks.

These and other rules being drafted in the UK and US come as the world heads into the biggest election year in history, raising concerns about AI misinformation targeting voters.

In 2023 alone, Newsguard (the company that created a ranking system for news and information sites) tracked 614 "unreliable" AI-generated websites in 15 languages from English to Arabic and Chinese.

Good or bad, artificial intelligence, which is already recruited to make election calls in the United States, is expected to play a big role in many electronic systems.

Source: Reuters