Does anyone else miss the days when artificial intelligence was used strictly for goofing around? Those ridiculous scripts created by feeding 100 hours of romcoms into a system definitely cracked me up, and my son generated some serious fever-dream images by inputting weird phrases into a different program. It was all fun and games, right?
Then the programs started ‘learning’.
I do not claim to know much of anything about AI other than it’s an atomic topic. From my understanding, programs pull bits and pieces of existing works of art or literature or academia to create something ‘new’ and shiny. Do I use it? No. Do I think it can be helpful? Sure.
Do I think it’s a dangerous, slippery slope? One hundred percent yes.
On one hand, work created by other people is being copied and used without permission or acknowledgement in something cobbled together by another person who then takes credit and possibly gets paid for the result. Maybe the people using it don’t realize that’s what’s happening, or they have no idea how to find the author/artist to give credit. No matter what, it’s already a difficult world for artists of any kind, where talent isn’t appreciated or rewarded.
‘Starving artist’ is a well-known phrase for a reason.
On another hand, artificial intelligence can be a useful tool for lightning-fast research and putting a concept into visual form. Programs like ChatGPT will find the information you ask for quickly, and will even build something with the word count and topic emphasis you want. Or if you have a rough idea of the image you want for a book cover but can’t draw to save your life or feel like the artist may not understand what you want, an AI image generator can build your idea visually. People who need to output a lot of content would find this gadget to be a lifesaver.
With a few caveats, of course.
There are limits to what a computer can do, even when using the most advanced AI. Using ChatGPT as an example again, it is limited to only what is available through the internet and will never know everything that humans know. Because it has access to only what has been digitally catalogued, the information generated may be outdated and incorrect. AI doesn’t have common sense or emotional intelligence, and can’t decipher sarcasm or humor. It will draw in ‘facts’ from anything and everything available on the internet – and I mean EVERYTHING. We know how reliable that can be. It doesn’t have the capability to differentiate between an article from The Onion or NPR or some delusional manifesto-writing lunatic.
Is it that helpful if you still have to vet every source? You may as well do your own research from the start.
There are a lot of opinions about using AI, and this is only one, only mine, and only that: an opinion. I can’t say whether we are heading toward humanity’s future as depicted in Disney’s Wall-E or in the Terminator franchise; that remains to be seen. What I can say is that I am going to continue creating the best way I know how and hope that it continues to make me happy.