Escobedo asks for caution in the face of alarmist messages: “Too much fear has been created”


The expert in generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) Pablo Escobedo has stated that this technology represents a “paradigm change” in the creation of art and the way we communicate, to the point that “he would be surprised if in a few years there are journalists or people in an office that does not use it to generate texts”, but asks for “caution” in the face of “alarmist” predictions of a “great threat” to employment or the credibility of the information.

Pablo Escobedo’s career is linked to the creation of montages with images and videos. He is part of the company Prodigioso Volcán, a communication consultancy focused on AI that this Wednesday will open its headquarters in Valencia within the Railowsky bookstore. In this company, he has created the first microcinema and AI production company for the Lima Festival, with a short film generated with AI, and in his free time he has animated paintings by Joaquín Sorolla.

The Prodigioso Volcán team has observed a “paradigm change”, “almost a revolution”, in the way in which messages, communication and art are created, with the emergence of many tools that “are making some processes of communication much simpler.” creation that previously were very complex, from writing, painting, animation or illustration itself and even music.

Although in all these fields machines are beginning to generate content, Escobedo has insisted that “they do not generate it alone” but that AI is a tool that obeys the orders of people and, therefore, its use is linked to the criteria ethics and the professionalism of those who use it.

The well-known cover of El Mundo with an AI-generated image of former Vice President Pablo Iglesias with Second Vice President Yolanda Díaz warned of how reality can be falsified. Regarding this case, Escobedo says that the first thing he thought about was “the famous photograph of Stalin in which he appeared with certain collaborators who later manipulated the photograph and cut it out so that he would not be there.”

In this sense, the expert has stressed that “photographic manipulation has always existed”, and “we have always been able to use photoshop or scissors”, only now “it is easier”, but it also requires technical knowledge. “The thing is that journalism professionals have to be aware that reality is not generated, it is captured.”

In this way, he has insisted that to lose credibility with false images “you need technical knowledge, the intention to deceive and an audience receptive to deception.” “We must warn that this can happen, but let no one think that we will not be able to believe what the newspapers tell us or what appears on television because journalism professionals are here to make good use of these tools,” he said. pointed out.

Falsifying images is “the tip of the iceberg of what all these tools provide to communication professionals”, he indicated, to highlight the successful experiences of applying AI to parody, editorial illustration or the visualization of infographics.

To combat misinformation, the first thing Escobedo recommends is that “information professionals know well what these tools consist of and how to take advantage of them”; secondly, that “they are clear about their ethical principles.” “The key will be to have well-trained professionals,” he defended.

Escobedo has acknowledged that, “especially with the image”, it is increasingly difficult to distinguish a real one from one generated with AI because they are generated better and better” and can even be retouched with Photoshop to achieve a more credible appearance.

Rather than trying to train the eye to detect clues that an image is created by AI, the expert has insisted that “the most important thing is that we are alert to what could be misleading, hoaxes and misinformation, which are generally fragments decontextualized images that arrive through social networks, captures that no one knows who wrote or what medium they come from. It is more important to be aware of that.”

Furthermore, in his opinion, “in the long term, AI can create greater niches, greater isolation, something that had already been seen with social networks, with hyper-segmented content and increasingly closed online communities. This may be another stone in the polarization of society. (…) The famous effect that it seems that the mobile phone is listening to us comes from years ago, now I can not only find you to send a message to you, but I can also generate a message for you.” , has warned.

In that sense, the EU is working on a law on artificial intelligence and issues such as the obligation to indicate that a text or image is generated with AI are on the table. In his opinion, “it is hasty” to prepare this regulation, and he highlights “the maxim that tells legislators not to legislate in the heat.” “We are not paying as much attention to reality as we are to the public outcry, to the hysteria,” he lamented.

“I would be surprised if within a year or two there are journalists or anyone in an office who does not use AI to generate text, another thing is how we are going to use that text. If I have used it in 15% of a news or presentation “Do I have to report it? I see it as a bit hasty,” he said.

As for whether there are more risks or advantages with the rise of AI, Escobedo has assured that, “the more advanced the technology, the more advanced the risks and the more advanced the advantages” it presents.

For example, he highlighted that one of the great bets of AI development is automatic translation into any language, which will help humanity communicate. He has pointed out that there are also “advantages that I think are not even going to be taken advantage of”, such as each person being able to create music to their liking. “In the end you hear the same three songs,” she commented.

Regarding whether there is a climate of fear regarding AI, he stated that “we always have a rejection of what is new, especially when technology is a paradigm shift” — “we only have to remember when it seemed that mobile phones were going to suit us.” to melt everyone’s brains,” he ironized, “but over time all that effervescence and fear, or on the contrary the blind faith that it is the solution to problems, declines and technology enters our day. every day normally”.

The expert rejects that AI is going to “generate a catastrophe in employment”, he believes that it is not going to destroy professions but rather “it is going to transform them” and “we have to adapt and learn to use new tools.” “It is true that sometimes we receive news that I don’t know how many people have been fired. Technology is an excuse to do so because the company has other problems that are more difficult to explain,” he added.

“After having heard messages like artificial intelligence is going to kill us all, as was heard a few months ago from some gurus, I understand that too much fear has been created in some people, but we are still here, we will continue here and artificial intelligence is not our biggest threat. We should be more concerned about other issues like climate change, but a predictive text model that neither thinks, feels, suffers, nor intends to do anything is not much of a threat. In fact, the message I would be cautious, especially with those very high-sounding, very alarmist messages, because they usually hide some intention behind it,” he concluded.