Tag: artificial intelligence

Brainiac On Banjo: The Worm Turns!

Brainiac On Banjo: The Worm Turns!

“I’m the air you breathe, food you eat, friends your greet in the sullen street,” from The Changeling, written by Jim Morrison.

If you’re a regular reader of Brainiac On Banjo, you might be aware of my affection for the computing products sold by Apple. Those buggers brought ease of use, intuition, logic, and a common interface to personal computing, advertising their stuff as “for the rest of us.”

On Super Bowl XVIII Sunday, 1984, Apple advertised their new Macintosh computers with a Ridley Scott commercial they paid to run only once, although the spot received a great deal of free play in news items and on talk shows. The theme was copped from George Orwell’s novel 1984, but it was a response to 1984 with an athlete destroying the soul-sucking machinery that was controlling the masses. Back then, computers did not control our lives the way they do now.

That was then.

Sadly, “artificial intelligence” is not as dangerous as the artificially intelligent. Programmers seem to be associating only with other programmers, creating things they can brag about over a beer. For a decade now Apple, the people who made computing personal and who coined that phrase have produced a growing amount of crappy whiz-bang and dysfunctional hoohah, both in its hardware and its software.

Apple upgrades their operating systems about every 10 weeks, but I no longer approach computing wide-eyed and eager to try the new stuff they’re giving me. Now my first thought is “what did these assholes break this time?” Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo: The Worm Turns!”

Brainiac On Banjo: Dues For Artificial Intelligence

Brainiac On Banjo: Dues For Artificial Intelligence

“And now you dare to look me in the eye. Those crocodile tears are what you cry. It’s a genuine problem, you won’t try to work it out at all, you just pass it by.” Substitute, written by Pete Townshend

Image created by Jay Vollmar for The Washington Post

I’m about to ask a serious question that should, and eventually will, become central to the artificial intelligence story. It has to do with the conflation of reality and the effluvia of computer-created content.

First, I need to report the backstory that generated my concerns. It’s a tough story revolving around one of the societal taboos that most certainly should be taboo — but it’s not the actions of the perpetrator with which I take issue. This is a closed case: the criminal pleaded guilty and was sentenced.

This is a discussion topic, not an analysis of disgusting acts that the defendant says he committed. I’m discussing a point that rests at a legal and a moral juncture, at least in my mind. Here’s the news story, as reported in The Guardian last Friday.

CONTENT WARNING –  A text version of a news report concerning images of child abuse follows.

Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo: Dues For Artificial Intelligence”

Brainiac On Banjo: Deep Fakes Ghosting On An Open Liar

Brainiac On Banjo: Deep Fakes Ghosting On An Open Liar

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.

Is artificial intelligence a good thing or a bad thing?

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. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo: Deep Fakes Ghosting On An Open Liar”

Brainiac On Banjo: A.I’s Just A Photocopier.

Brainiac On Banjo: A.I’s Just A Photocopier.

I’m all alone, so are we all. We destroyed the government. We’re destroying time. No more problems on the way — Clones (We’re All), written by Alice Cooper.

According to last Friday’s Hollywood Reporter, “A federal judge on Friday upheld a finding from the U.S. Copyright Office that a piece of art created by AI [artificial intelligence] is not open to protection. The ruling was delivered in an order turning down Stephen Thaler’s bid challenging the government’s position refusing to register works made by AI. Copyright law has “never stretched so far” to “protect works generated by new forms of technology operating absent any guiding human hand,” U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell found.”

That certainly is good news to creators of all sorts — not just artists, but writers and other producers of copyrightable or patentable products. However, I suspect the majority of such gifted people will not waste carbon dioxide emitting a deep sigh of relief. Damn near all of them have been to this rodeo dozens of times; more likely hundreds. The longer you stay in the business, the more you slip on corporate dogshit.

Do not think the producers and corporate princes reading about this ruling will say “well, jeez, maybe we should start acting in a morally acceptable manner.” Hell, no. The vast majority of media moguls who possess an “annual compensation package” in excess of ten million dollars per annum confuse having their package reduced by as a direct kick to their… package. Whereas that seems fair to me, my WGA and AFTRA memberships expired a while ago. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo: A.I’s Just A Photocopier.”

Brainiac On Banjo: The Washington Comic Book Caucus?

Brainiac On Banjo: The Washington Comic Book Caucus?

Who was it that set up a system, supposedly democratic system, where you end up always voting for the lesser of two evils? I mean, was George Washington the lesser of two evils? Sometimes I wonder. Wide Wide River, written by The Fugs.

Well, this is amusing, and it just might be helpful.

Despite having been in Congress less than six months, Robert Garcia (D-CA) is a powerful man. He’s on the House Committee on Homeland Security as well as the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability where he’s the ranking member on the Subcommittee on National Security, the Border, and Foreign Affairs. “Ranking member” means he’s the highest-placed congressman who doesn’t belong to the party in power at that moment. He’s also co-chair of the Equality Caucus, and he’s on the Congressional Progressive Caucus. This, according to the ruling party, makes him the enemy of MAGAts both here and in Russia.

And now, he’s putting together a brand-new caucus. It’s called the Congressional Popular Arts Caucus, it’s bipartisan, and, just to show you he knows his stuff, he’s making the formal announcement at the San Diego Comic-Con next month, which is not all that far from his home. This will not come as a surprise to those who know Garcia as a major comics fan, focusing on DC comics, but I’m sure when he’s caucusing he will watch over the interests of all comics publishers. He seems like a very fair-minded guy. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo: The Washington Comic Book Caucus?”

Brainiac On Banjo: A.I. Swiping Honored By Government!

Brainiac On Banjo: A.I. Swiping Honored By Government!

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 pretty young, but I’m just back-dated. — Pete Townshend, “Substitute”

I’ve just done a couple of conventions over the past several weeks — C2E2 in Chicago and the always-fantastic Ithacon in – surprise! – Ithaca, New York. As always, I enjoyed pressing the flesh (in a neighborly way), signing a shitload of comics, including the ones I forgot I worked on, and talking with a lot of friends old and new. Even though my life has been one massive comic book convention that has lasted 54 years and counting, it’s a collegial environment chock full of swell folks.

Whereas I did not conduct a formal survey, it is safe to say the major topic of general conversation was “Artificial Intelligence.” No, not the type commonly used by our politicians in the southern states, nor the type often used in the corporate suites of many publishers. I’m referring to the computer devices that create imitations of the works of artists and writers all over this rapidly-boiling planet of ours. I suspect if some binary-workers created software that provided abortion care, our governments would be all over that as well, but ramming some people’s religious “values” such as matricide down the throats of those with differing religious values is a well-known diversion for our nation’s judicial systems. But, I think I digress… therefore I am. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo: A.I. Swiping Honored By Government!”

Brainiac On Banjo: Will A.I. Ruin Life As We Know It?

Brainiac On Banjo: Will A.I. Ruin Life As We Know It?

Copycat tryna cop my manner. Watch your back when you can’t watch mine. Copycat tryna cop my glamor. Why so sad, bunny? Can’t have mine. — “Copycat,” Finneas Baird and Billie Eilish O’Connell

© responsible-ai.org

There’s been considerable flutter about artificial intelligence (A.I.) and its invasion of the creative communities, including the comics medium. Artists are concerned that their original work will be pirated, and writers are concerned that they will be replaced.

Microsoft Office is going to add A.I. text generation to its pull-down quivers perhaps as early as next month, much to the delight of English teachers all over the nation. To my fellow professional writers with even entry-level scruples: there’s no need to bother with those ink cartridge refills.

I totally understand these concerns. I completely agree with the dismay and concern shown by informed people and, in fact, being apprehensive about A.I. taking over the world in not necessarily a sign that you’ve watched too many episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000. However, I yam what I yam and, therefore, I need to point out two categories of perspective.

Number one. You can’t put the genie back in the bottle. Ask anybody from Hiroshima or Nagasaki. You can’t un-invent stuff, and I’m not being paranoid when I ask the question “do you really think nobody on Earth has been playing around with cloning humans?” If you think that’s preposterous, then explain George Santos to me. This does not mean we should just give up; it means the solutions to this problem have to be ferreted out.

Number two. This is more complicated. It might sound like an apology or and excuse — history is like that sometimes. It is neither. Just a bunch of historical facts. We have had similar work-stealing devices ever since Ben Franklin caught a head-cold.

The photocopier was invented in 1938, and I suspect the second image generated by the machine was a shot of somebody’s ass. Be that as it may, the machine impressed proto-nerds and higher-contrast copies of buildings and other background folderol were deployed by some of those with artistic inclinations. Is this theft? Somebody else did the work. And if it is theft, what about guys like Stan Drake? My respect and admiration for this comics art master has no limit, yet routinely he used xerography for backgrounds. He also produced a beautiful comic strip, The Heart of Juliet Jones, for 36 years.

Technology marches on. The purpose of a lightbox is to allow artists to put a piece of drawing or tracing paper over an extant image and trace the work and then deploy the copied art in their “new” work.

The Artograph was this huge machine — it’s gotten smaller — that projects establishes artwork so that the technician can trace it with the added benefit of enlargement or reduction — and even distortion, if you, like most artists, are into fooling around a bit.

As for scanners, well, I haven’t clocked this but I think it is safe to say that virtually all artists who pay their utility bills own and use one… as do counterfeiters of currency, diplomas, passports and the like. I suspect George Santos has a scanner.

Granted, theft of work by A.I. is easier, more convenient, and takes a lot less artistic skill than most of the aforementioned devices. Isn’t that the purpose of technological advance?

Artograph Model 1000

And then… there is deepfake, something Dr. Sivana and Lex Luthor might have dreamed up while sharing a prison cell.

Deepfake scares the ever-lovin’ shit out of me. It will, I predict, be the dominant form of campaigning in 2024. Now unscrupulous people — well, they’ve got scruples in the way both Marjorie Taylor Greene and Doctor Doom have scruples — can fake videos of people so that they can say anything the faker wants them to say and then slam that onto “social” media where it will be passed around faster than Hunter Biden’s laptop dick pix. (Those clips of Kamala Harris screaming “slow death to white Christians” are not real, folks.)

So stop worrying about how some hack has ripped off your “Hoppy the Marvel Bunny” drawing. With deepfake, our world is truly fucked. I’ve longed for an American Flagg movie, but certainly not like this.

Now that Microsoft has incorporated cutting edge A.I. software into its Edge browser, its bloated, expensive but popular Microsoft Office, and its previously little-used and hardly-remembered Bing search engine, artists have a new camaraderie with the entire community of writers. Usage of their glandular version of OpenAI instantly skyrocketed among developers who can access it presently; the rest of us will have to wait a couple hours. Google has its own A.I. software doing the work of hundreds of soon-to-be unemployed humans. I understand it’s not as good as Microsoft’s A.I, but my definition of “good” might differ from that held by developers.

Well, that’s how irony works. Most A.I. writing these days requires very heavy editing, but if you compare it to the stuff we saw just a couple of years ago writers have every reason to be concerned… as do those who manufacture keyboards.

For better and for worse, A.I. is part of the fabric of our day-to-day reality. But let me ask you a question. Do you think this very piece, the one you are still reading, was written by a man… or by a machine?