Power and Governance in the Age of AI

Reflections by several experts: “The best way to think about ChatGPT is as the functional equivalent of expensive private education and tutoring. Yes, there is a free version, but there is also a paid subscription that gets you access to the latest breakthroughs and a more powerful version of the model. More money gets you more power and privileged access. As a result, in my courses at Middlebury College this spring, I was obliged to include the following statement in my syllabus:

“Policy on the use of ChatGPT: You may all use the free version however you like and are encouraged to do so. For purposes of equity, use of the subscription version is forbidden and will be considered a violation of the Honor Code. Your professor has both versions and knows the difference. To ensure you are learning as much as possible from the course readings, careful citation will be mandatory in both your informal and formal writing.”

The United States fails to live up to its founding values when it supports a luxury brand-driven approach to educating its future leaders that is accessible to the privileged and a few select lottery winners. One such “winning ticket” student in my class this spring argued that the quality-education-for-all issue was of such importance for the future of freedom that he would trade his individual good fortune at winning an education at Middlebury College for the elimination of ALL elite education in the United States so that quality education could be a right rather than a privilege.

A democracy cannot function if the entire game seems to be rigged and bought by elites. This is true for the United States and for democracies in the making or under challenge around the world. Consequently, in partnership with other liberal democracies, the U.S. government must do whatever it can to render both public and private governance more transparent and accountable. We should not expect authoritarian states to help us uphold liberal democratic values, nor should we expect corporations to do so voluntarily…(More)”.

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