[The Fountain] Schumpeter’s moment? Be alerted.

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[The Fountain] Schumpeter’s moment? Be alerted.

The author is head of the IT industry news department at the JoongAng Ilbo.

Not even blockchain or metaverse got this much attention. We’ve heard enough praise for ChatGPT’s brilliance, concerns over the possibility of humans being overtaken by artificial intelligence (AI), and model answers that proper use of AI is important. Nevertheless, we cannot take our eyes off the breathless movements of AI companies.

As hundreds of millions of people around the world anticipate and fear AI, now may be the Schumpeter’s moment — the moment of “creative destruction” where old things die out and qualitative changes are made within the social structure. Economist Joseph Schumpeter considered entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship to be leaders of these dynamic changes as key drivers of capitalism. Through the eyes of Schumpeter, my attention went to the “competitive ecosystem” which became the basis of ChatGPT.

Start-up company OpenAI provoked the race between Google and Microsoft. Its founder Sam Altman explained why he boldly introduced the interactive AI which Google and other companies had kept disclosed, citing “accountability.” In an interview with Forbes on Feb. 3, Altman said, “I really believe we need society to get a feel for this, to wrestle with it, to see the benefits, to understand the downsides. So I think the most important thing we do is to put these things out there so the world can start to understand what’s coming.”

In society as a whole, open competition enhances the efficiency of resources. Even before ChatGPT, OpenAI aimed for such efficiency by disclosing voice recognition technology or image generation AI technology as open source. As companies working on AI technology services rode on the accomplishments of OpenAI, related markets were created. Many companies already pay to use the previous ChatGPT model. It also offers a paid product for $20 a month.

I am not yet certain whether this movement will evolve into expansion of productivity on the entire Earth or creative destruction for greater individual freedom. There are concerns that it could end up being a party only for Silicon Valley’s venture capitalists and big techs.

According to PitchBook, a venture capital research firm, 78 AI start-ups attracted $1.37 billion last year. It is likely that information and technology will be more concentrated in Silicon Valley.

Recently, President Yoon Suk Yeol had ChatGPT write a speech and was satisfied that it was well-written. He told civil servants to consider using ChatGPT to enhance work efficiency. Governing and opposition party members also talk about ChatGPT.

It is understandable that they are amused and surprised, but if now is the Schumpeter’s moment, we have a long way to go. I hope someone in this government is planning to create an environment that will facilitate competition in innovation.
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