Generative AI and Blockchain are shaping the future of truth

Generative AI and Blockchain are shaping the future of truth
It is interesting to note that "hypes" follow increasingly shorter cycles. During the 2022 edition of SXSW in Austin, everyone was talking about blockchain, NFTs, DAOs,... dozens of temporary venues allowed for immersive experiences in the world of "NFT Collectibles." This included hours of waiting for the highly disappointing "Doodle experience" unless you already had the precious ticket: the NFT Doodle. On May 3, 2022, the NFT Doodle was valued at almost 24 ETH (1 ETH was worth $2,781), today it is worth 2.6 ETH (1 ETH is worth $1,871).

During the 2023 edition, everyone was talking about artificial intelligence, Generative AI, OpenAI, Midjourney, or Dall-E. After the Terra and FTX crises, the world of crypto and blockchain was completely absent from the 2023 edition. Only Porsche, somewhat going against the trend, launched its collection of NFTs in Austin. Within the VC ecosystems in France and the United States, the quest for the "AI killer App" has returned, with startups now presenting themselves as the "ChatGPT of...". Will we say in the coming years that a business has been ChatGPTized or OpenAI-ized as we used to say Uberized a few years ago?

But we have short memories... in 2016-2017, the world rediscovered artificial intelligence and its fantastic and especially phantasmagorical promises. At the time, I was one of the leaders of Sitel. Every day we were promised the worst for our industry! The call center profession was supposed to disappear before 2020, swept away by a wave of bots that were more intelligent, faster, and more docile than our thousands of advisors scattered around the world... Last week Concentrix announced it was acquiring Webhelp for $4.8 billion... Not only did this profession survive the (media) tsunami, but some still apparently believe in it.

"Yes... but this time it's different... we're there"... maybe. In fact, I don't know. It's true that Midjourney has replaced the graphic designer I used to call upon when I needed to produce slides for a conference, it's true that I use GPT-4 to synthesize texts before deciding whether or not to read them,... My brief has become prompt, but the quality of the image still depends on the quality of the original brief. Beyond these tools, new personal assistants of everyday life, I think the true potential lies in the APIs made available by OpenAI, especially to the entire tech ecosystem. When we see that Salesforce or Slack already integrate GPT into their software, we can think that the diffusion of generative AI within all the back offices of the world will be rapid and fluid. The front offices will undoubtedly be affected in turn. But there will probably still be a (small?) place for humans, vectors of "value-added" dear to Thierry Chamouton.

Beyond that, the question of trust and truth now arises, perhaps more than ever. The internet brought the promise of universal access to knowledge and truth. This was the basis of the libertarian thinking defended by John Perry Barlow in the early years of the internet. Yesterday, social networks and today generative AI applications are undermining this universal access to truth.

We saw this during the "yellow vest" events in France or debates about the Covid global crisis, all types of media are already conveying tons of false information and falsehoods. And the algorithm systems of major social media often favor their dissemination at the expense of verified information. Today we are already complaining about a form of "infobesity," and unfortunately, this is only the beginning.

We saw it during the "yellow vest" events in France or debates on the Covid global crisis, media of all kinds are already spreading tons of false information and falsehoods. And the algorithmic systems of large social media often favor their dissemination at the expense of verified information. Today we are already complaining about a form of "infobesity", unfortunately, this is just the beginning. If generative AI will certainly allow us to "enhance" our daily lives, they will also facilitate the production of falsehoods on an unprecedented scale.

If we add to this the biases induced by the databases that have fed these AI, and the restriction of the language used in prompts to limit the production of sensitive, racist, pornographic or abusive content, we can reasonably question the possibility of having free and enlightened thinking tomorrow. Wasn't the Newspeak of the book 1984 a means of constraining the people's revolt by preventing them from verbalizing it... for lack of words?

Pierre Mendès-France stated that "the fundamental element of the democratic system is truth". Therefore, authentication and certification devices for both content producers and the content itself must be put in place quickly to help us distinguish truth from falsehood. Verifiable credentials and blockchain technologies, at the heart of the platform, can undoubtedly be one of the responses to these new challenges. They will meet the needs of ownership and truth challenges that our societies will face.

It seems to me that instead of focusing on the hype and buzzwords of the moment, scaring or pleasing ourselves by fantasizing about uncertain futures, we should try to take advantage of the best of both worlds. These technologies are mature today. I am convinced that generative AI and blockchain are only two legs of the same body. Antoine de Saint Exupéry's quote, "the future is not predicted, it is invented," has probably never been more relevant.