not HAL

So far, I’ve held off engaging in the scrum of opinions about the last few months of AI(sic) advances/mania. Like everyone, I’ve at least dipped my toe in the rapidly changing LLM world, and spent a fair amount of time with image generation. I’ve also read endless articles on the AI landscape with authors who range from fanboi gushing to Old Testament apocalyptic prophet.

But, for once, I have kept aloof, quietly surveying the landscape and maintaining a dignified silence, mainly because I didn’t have anything meaningful to add, other than a healthy dose of skepticism.

No more. I am now willing to pronounce my verdict, preliminary, mostly uninformed and worthless. Your mileage may vary, may contain nuts.

It’s true, we are about to be swamped by an unimaginably huge volume of AI generated content, which is plausible, biased, subtly incorrect and mostly indistinguishable from that which is human generated.

We’re already in the ridiculous position of giving a short prompt to gptChat to generate a long piece of text, which is then handed to another LLM which summarizes it back to a short sentence.

This will have the effect of rendering almost all Internet content totally useless.

And that’s great.

For years, we’ve been drifting this way. It doesn’t take an LLM to generate spam, or plausible lies. State actors, billionaires, big tech, and loonies have been doing this stuff all along. All that’s happened now is that the cost of making such material is tending towards zero, which renders the entire operation pointless.

So, what happens then? I predict the Internet as we know it will die, crushed under the weight of its own excreta. It will be replaced by a return to human values, relationships, and experiences. People will smell real flowers, eat real food, and have sex with real people. Trust will be restored, in that the only thing we’ll trust will be people we’ve shaken hands with, bought a drink, or, umm…

Well, it’s a nice vision, and, you never know, it might happen.

All I can tell you is that something is going happen.