There are concerns from a broad range of industries around the emergence of AI, from writers fearing losing their jobs, to the potential dangers of AI being used for therapy, but also excitement about what it can allow in previously hard to enter industries such as coding.

This week’s instalment of Monash University’s A Different Lens documentary series, featured a panel of experts from Monash University discussing the concerns and benefits behind AI, and whether it should be regulated as a result.

Professor Alan Petersen presented cautious optimism for the emergence of AI, describing its emergence as similar to the introduction of the PC, in how it lets us work smarter, and opens doors for creation opportunities. But he also showed concern.

“Thus far, little has been said about the potential use and misuse of these tools in medicine and healthcare, including for diagnoses, including self-diagnoses and prescriptions,” Petersen said.

“If history is any guide, these are the areas in which these technologies are likely to find early widespread application. They are also areas where there’s much potential for exploitation and misuse, especially given the ready accessibility of the tools online.”

Associate Professor Campbell Wilson voiced further concern about letting AI stay unrestricted.

“We need to realistically start thinking about how much we can trust chatbots or generative AI systems. We don’t necessarily need to ban its use but we should be calling for more transparency,” Wilson said

“We need to ask what datasets are used to train such AI systems and is the data sourced ethically? Is it diverse enough? Is it held securely? We need to get to the root of how these technologies are developed and how they are deployed so that we come closer to responsibly produced and used AI.”

Professor Geoff Webb however claims all a ban would accomplish is give bad actors an edge as they’ll continue to learn the technology anyway.

“The most productive thing we can do is to acknowledge that we have this new technology now and to see how we can best set it up so that it can be used for the greatest amount of good,” Webb said.

But as Medical Student Jesselyn Sin said, AI can be used to help physicians make better clinical decisions and make better judgements, improving the outcomes for patients.

“At the end of the day, artificial intelligence is there to complement our expertise and our knowledge, and we should learn to use it appropriately, responsibly and also ethically,” Sin said.

The debate continues, echoing the sentiment that the path forward involves a delicate equilibrium between embracing AI’s promise and mitigating its risks.