The reason why machines are now able to do things that we, their makers, do not fully understand is that they have become capable of learning from experience. AlphaGo became so good by playing more games of Go than a human could fit into a lifetime. Likewise, no human could read as many books as ChatGPT has absorbed.
It’s important to understand that machines have become intelligent without thinking in a human way. This realisation alone can greatly reduce confusion, and therefore anxiety.
Intelligence is not exclusively a human ability, as any biologist will tell you, and our specific brand of it is neither its pinnacle nor its destination. It may be difficult to accept for some, but intelligence has more to do with chickens crossing the road safely than with writing poetry.
In other words, we should not necessarily expect machine intelligence to evolve towards some form of consciousness. Intelligence is the ability to do the right thing in unfamiliar situations, and this can be found in machines, for example, those that recommend a new book to a user.
If we want to understand how to handle AI, we can return to a crisis that hit the industry in the late 1980s, when many researchers were still trying to mimic what we thought humans do. For example, they were trying to understand the rules of language or human reasoning, to program them into machines.