Like big technological leaps before it, Generative AI applications like ChatGP will change the way we live – offering  both rewards and risks, say Virginia Tech experts.

“In our professional lives, we might discover new efficiencies across a range of business functions from design and marketing through legal and finance; and in our personal lives, we might find ourselves in the company of an ‘always-on’ thought partner that’s a helpful party planner and poem writer, physician’s assistant and personal coach, said Rishi Jaitly, distinguished fellow in the Virginia Tech Center for Humanities.   

“Chief among the risks may be the gulf it creates between those literate in harnessing the positive power of this technology - and those not yet fully empowered. It is incumbent upon all of us in education and entrepreneurial ecosystems to ensure all people, and young people in particular, have the skills to make inspired use of these technologies for their own fulfillment and that of their communities,” Jaitly said.

Sylvester Johnson, founding director of the Virginia Tech Center for Humanities, sees this technology as something that will significantly change the future of work, particularly by spawning new companies and services. “This will range from using the software to develop plots for film and television content to professional speech writing and art.” Johnson said many jobs performed by humans will be significantly augmented, if not replaced.

While impactful, Johnson does have reservations about generative AI. “As is already being experienced, Chat GPT will make it possible for people to submit writing created by the AI as their own work.” He said it will create challenges for IP protocols, copyright, academic testing and publishing. “As more people use the services of generative AI, their own data will be harnessed and accessed.”

When it comes to security risks platforms must be mindful of and transparent with user privacy policies and data protection procedures, said Jaitly.  “It’s essential that policymakers at all levels contemplate issues of security concurrent to the launch of these tools and technologies - and not after the fact.”

Jaitly believes these technologies will compel people to be “more human” and free up time by automating repetitive tasks and processes. “They will test and ultimately grow the innately-and-exclusively human sensibilities of imagination and intuition, vision and precision. After all, at its core, technological output hinges on human input!”

About Jaitly

Rishi Jaitly is a Distinguished Humanities Fellow in the Center for Humanities and leader of the "Digital Transformations and Scientific Collaboration" area in the Academy of Transdisciplinary Studies (ATS), which is housed in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. Jaitly has led teams at Google and Twitter.

About Johnson

Sylvester Johnson is Assistant Vice Provost for the Humanities and Executive Director of the “Tech for Humanity” initiative advancing human-centered approaches to technology at Virginia Tech. He is the founding director of the Center for Humanities and a Professor in the Department of Religion and Culture in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. Johnson specializes in the study of technology, race, religion, and national security.

Schedule an interview 

To schedule an interview with Johnson or Jaitly, contact Margaret Ashburn in the media relations office at or 540-529-0814.