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“We must retain the joy of thinking and embrace new things!”

AI can solve many problems, but not all. In his lecture “What does ChatGPT mean? Opportunities and challenges for us all” on 17 January 2024, Professor Alexander Pretschner explained the importance of generative AI for society.

© bidt/Klaus D. Wolf

Against the impressive backdrop of the library of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities in Munich, the Chairman of the bidt Board of Directors and Professor of Software & Systems Engineering at the Technical University of Munich spoke primarily about the opportunities offered by generative AI. He sees these, for example, in the fact that AI offers a natural language interface to technical systems and can be used as an individualised assistance system.


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When is artificial intelligence good enough?

One of the key questions is not what artificial intelligence can do, but how good it is in a particular situation. There are fields of application, such as the creation of simple texts, where the results can be evaluated intuitively – even without an objective concept of quality. In other areas, such as medicine or writing code, quality plays a greater role. This makes it all the more important for people to be able to evaluate the output quality and reach an agreement on which quality is considered good enough in which context.

Create or check?

The role of humans will most likely change in many areas of application – away from the creator and towards the verifier. We should see AI as a tool for support. The ability to critically reflect, review and make judgements is essential for this. In the end, the best reviewers will become the ones who create again.
It is also crucial that people ultimately have to take responsibility when they use content created by an AI. The problem is that people become careless or inattentive when suggestions made by a machine are almost always correct, adequate or sufficiently good.

Professor Pretschner concluded with an appeal to everyone:

Be curious, optimistic and critical!

Prof. Dr. Alexander Pretschner To the profile

In the ensuing discussion, questions about creativity, risks due to the use of AI in totalitarian states, consequences for education and what deepfakes mean for democracy were lively debated.

Further links


© bidt/Klaus D. Wolf