I’m a substitute for another guy. I look pretty tall but my heels are high. The simple things you see are all complicated. I look bloody young, but I’m just back dated. — “Substitute,” written by Pete Townshend.
Perhaps you’ve noticed a recent upsurge in pro-AI marketing and advertising. Damn near very web browser is now toting their AI capabilities, joining a hell of a lot of other software manufacturers in their braggadocio. I’m not just talking about computers: if you think about it every microchip is a computer. Your car is a computer. Your smart-television is a computer. Robots of all sorts are computers, and it seems like every damn one of them have started bragging about their artificial intelligence.
Unlike commercials for gambling apps or alcohol products, there’s no disclaimer at the bottom of AI product ads suggesting you to not use their product for fraud or for theft of intellectual property or for defaming your fellow human beings.
The morass of software developers, or, to be specific, their marketing departments have started screaming about the virtues of something we have been using for decades but, now, can be deployed for grand theft… to steal even your work. So, they want to distract us from their dark side the way gun manufacturers con us about the need for assault rifles on a hunting excursion. You can never tell when a pack of godless communists might be hiding behind that wounded doe.
AI is a lot like guns: it can be helpful, it can be annoying, it can be dangerous. In the hands of the public relations, advertising and marketing communities and political competitors, AI can be evil.
After some 40 years, most spell checkers still have a hard time telling the difference between “they’re” and “their” or “its” and “it’s,” and if you dare type somebody’s name in a sentence your spell checker likely will change it to the name of, I guess, one of its friends. Suckers caught up in Elon Musk’s nefarious Tesla scams are suffering through still another recall — collect them all.
And that political ad you just saw — is it real, or is it a deep fake? Last week “Joe Biden” called voters in New Hampshire to tell them not to vote in their primary… except it wasn’t “Joe Biden.” It was political Memorex.
“What is reality” is no longer just a question for stoners. It is a question we must start asking whenever we absorb information through sight, text, sound, or lesson.
Free marketers get all tumescent as they repeatedly chant “caveat emptor” as though they were at a cocaine buffet. It’s all bull: there never has been a genuinely free free market in history. Capitalists are little more than a bunch of fish who think they’re being carnivorous while failing to realize they’re just swimming in their own shit.
You’re in high school, and you’ve got a paper due tomorrow. You’ve already copied and pasted — stolen — a lot of information; how do you finish your task? Damn, your web browser is seductively enticing you with its built-in AI. You’re an artist — a comics artist, a commercial artist, or a Roy Lichtenstein wannabe. That deadline is hanging over your head like you wandered into The Pit and the Pendulum. Can you resist temptation? Can you ignore the siren call of artificial intelligence?
Perhaps you think that placing an electronic clone of Taylor Swift’s head on the bodies of sex workers performing in front of digital cameras to be the coolest idea you’ve ever come up with. Well, maybe so; I’m not here to judge. But I think Taylor Swift might have a thing or two to say about it.
In fact, I believe she did.
I’d said it before, and I’ll probably be saying this over and over until I drop dead. AI has done a lot of good, particularly in the medical fields. AI has done a lot of bad — and in a highly contentious election year, the lies generated by artificial intelligence can bring down our democracy with ease.