Naomi Klein surveys the AI landscape and concludes that tech CEOs are “kidding themselves” that AI will “benefit humanity.” Benefit their continuing efforts to gild the plumbing in their 19th vacation homes, maybe! “There is a world in which generative AI, as a powerful predictive research tool and a performer of tedious tasks, could indeed be marshaled to benefit humanity,” she writes. “But for that to happen, these technologies would need to be deployed inside a vastly different economic and social order than our own, one that had as its purpose the meeting of human needs and the protection of the planetary systems that support all life.” They’d also have to happen in a world where big corporations had any respect for data and the folks who create it, which, of course, they do not. Also too, it’s a bit rich for Our Glorious Elites to say “AI will solve the problems” that Our Glorious Elites could already have helped us solve, if they but had the will.
In a related note, Alex Pareene at Defector reminds us that “The Computers Are Coming for the Wrong Jobs.” AI “is well-suited at the task of blandly rewriting copy, which makes it the perfect employee of the sorts of content mills that exist to aggregate and rewrite tech or entertainment news,” but not so good at, you know, any kind of expression that requires an understanding of language, which certainly includes the kind of scriptwriting that big corporations seem to think is so easy for some reason. (No use telling me most big Hollywood scripts follow the same template these days, because, as we all know, those templates come and go.) Also, “AI as it currently exists – that is, “large language model” programs like ChatGPT – only appears ‘free’ or even ‘cheap’ because it is being heavily subsidized by investors and tech companies that hope to eventually pass along the costs of training and operating these programs to clients like, say, large film and television studios.”
While we’re still on the subject of scriptwriting, turns out the Hollywood writers’ strike “shows how to fight back” against corporations wanting to “replace” you with AI. They’re demanding that studios not replace them with AI, and if they can hold out, they’ll get what they want – and they’ll teach the rest of us that we can protect our jobs, too, since corporations are coming after all of them, not just the ones that produce words. And don’t be heartened by the notion that big entertainment corporations just want to generate scripts with AI and have humans rewrite them so they don’t suck, because studios pay less for rewrites than for original writing. Anyway, don’t watch any scab- or AI-written entertainment; it won’t kill you to give, say, Mad Men another go, and remind yourself what real writing is like.
Finally, this Associated Press report warns that AI-generated ad content could be far worse than deepfakes and memefarms. “Sophisticated generative AI tools can now create cloned human voices and hyper-realistic images, videos and audio in seconds, at minimal cost,” they write. “When strapped to powerful social media algorithms, this fake and digitally created content can spread far and fast and target highly specific audiences, potentially taking campaign dirty tricks to a new low.” Indeed, the Republican National Committee has already created an ad full of AI-generated images (which they identified as AI) of boarded-up storefronts and crime waves coming from Brown people, but at least two can play at that game. Just wait until I get around to creating an AI ad showing what America would be like if Republicans took over; I bet Congress would ban AI in campaign ads with a quickness!