Whenever I give talks about ChatGPT and LLMs, whether to ninth graders, businesses or journalists, I meet people who are hungry for information, who really want to understand this new technology. I’ve interpreted this as interest and a need to understand – but yesterday, Eirik Solheim said that every time he gives a talk on ChatGPT he meets audiences who are afraid.

I was surprised to hear that. Have I misinterpreted my audiences? They certainly pay more attention to talks about ChatGPT than they do about many other subjects. The ninth graders who visited UiB a couple of weeks ago were EXTREMELY attentive to the short talk I did for them about how LLMs work, and about AI bias and how My AI in Snapchat works. There wasn’t a single whisper or yawn. It actually never occurred to me that they might be scared rather than fascinated, absorbed, eager to learn.

What is your impression? Are people paying attention to AI because they are scared? Or is it amazement?

I’ll have to do an anonymous survey at my next talk, a Kahoot or Mentimeter or something – I tried asking the audience yesterday after Eirik’s point, but of course nobody put their hand up in answer to “Are you scared?”

The photos below are from the not just one, but two talks I did yesterday on ChatGPT: at a breakfast meeting for the Bergen Chamber of Commerce and at a lunch event for journalists and students at Media City Bergen, where I was on a panel with Eirik Solheim and Chris Ronald Hermansen, led by Lasse Lambrechts.

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