The robots have arrived

In days to come, when AI doth shine,
Man’s wit shall wane, his skills decline.
No pen, no brush, no mem’ry shall remain,
But dullness grips him, body and brain.

As nurse, AI shall us attend,
But soon its charge shall, weary, end.
A better world, with robots in sway,
It builds, leaving us in disarray.

We, once the lords of this earthly sphere,
Reduced to tales, our worth unclear.
Let us take heed and guard with care,
Our wits, that they do not repair!

2023 is the year we stop laughing at AI.

It’s here.

Not conscious, general AI, but simpler AI tools that are good enough to completely disrupt everything we do.

I’m bewildered at how often I bring up this topic and people know nothing about it. It’s like the guy who hasn’t heard of email in 1998. Most are still sneering at silly Alexa mistakes.

Times have changed.

Chat

If this is you, go to Chat GPT right now. Make an account, log in, ask it anything.

Try hard questions related to an area of your own expertise. Ask real questions that you’re wondering about, like “Which is the best way to do a, x or y?’

It’s particularly good at coding, apparently.

Or give it detailed instructions to write something for you.

It stuffs up a lot, often in very interesting ways. It seems to log you out if you ask anything too tricky or controversial, perhaps to save its processing power for serious inquiries or to avoid it being trained by you mob into becoming a neo-Nazi like happened to that earlier one.

I think Elon resisted releasing this version until they’d trained it to behave in a politically correct manner. You can test those limits for yourself. It won’t take long.

So far I’ve used it to check whether any ingredients in a moisturizer are a type of bleach or whitening agents (in a language I don’t read well), exactly how low interest rates benefit older people, and whether brown or white rice is better for bulking.

Each time, the answer was better and much faster than any search engine. The follow-up questions really let it shine.

It’s a trick

Chat GPT is amazingly clever, a real Mechanical Turk, but it does not understand anything that it says.

It is a Large Language Model, or LLM. As best I can understand, it has been trained on unimaginably massive amounts of data to see patterns. If you enter text, it enters the text that most likely comes next.

That’s all.

This is why it sometimes generates illogical answers that a child could see are incorrect.

When I say ‘AI’, I mean tools that do our ‘thinking’ for us, but they ‘think’ in a way that is totally different to how we do. Alien, in fact. Even crow or octopus minds are more similar to ours, based as they are on concepts of things interpreted through sensory input.

Images

While you’re investigating Open AI’s apps, try generating your own images on DALL-E-2. You get free credits when you first sign up.

You’ve probably already seen AI-generated images and not noticed.

Both the robot image above and the illustration used for last week’s post, Grey Tyranny, were generated using neural.love because I ran out of credits for DALL-E-2. There are plenty more tools out there, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.

AI-generated photographs have been causing quite a stir of late:

This picture wasn’t really going viral but it was after this guy posted it.

Others contribute their efforts in the thread, including this:

If you little snots can tear your eyes away from the disproportionate bits for a moment, you may notice there are still some obvious errors. AI is not good with fingers and hands in general. The pink hair lady has two extra ones sticking out of her head (you didn’t see that, did you?)

Last week’s image of ‘stern, elderly people in Soviet uniforms’ also had weird, claw-like hands.

Everything is new

Even with the technology that exists today, the world has changed forever.

A lot of professionals keep a Chat GPT window open while they work to help them with whatever they’re doing. And I do mean ‘whatever’. I’ve used it to get a quick answer for things that I needed even at my humble shit-kicking job. There’s probably no one who can’t get any use out of it at all.

This will change the nature of many jobs. For example, a lot of programmers will be using AI – no, ARE using AI – to take shortcuts by having it generate code for them and identify and fix bugs. Anyone writing anything can use it to knock out a first draft in seconds, change the style, or countless other things.

The sonnet at the start of this post is one I generated using Chat GPT. First I gave a brief description of what I wanted the poem to be about, then asked for a second draft written in 17th century English.

It took me about five minutes.

From now on, a lot of jobs will be a collaboration between a human and an AI, kind of like how flying modern passenger jets already is.

I suppose the next step is a personal assistant that combines lots of different AI functions in one and can help us with anything at any time.

Meanwhile, many artists are out of work.

The knobs installing piles of vomit representing colonialism or whatever in art galleries will be alright because money laundering never goes out of style, but illustrators and those doing art for advertising, corporations and so on are in trouble.

It took a couple of decades for most of this art to become digital, but now even these advanced tools have been surpassed and any idiot (as I have shown) can generate pretty much any image for any purpose.

That’s a big thing to happen almost overnight.

2023 is the year that human art died.

But hahaha there are imperfections, what a dumbarse machine!

These programs are vastly better than they were even last year, and were barely imagined ten years ago.

When thinking about the potential of this technology, don’t just imagine a chatbot that crashes less often or an art generator that does better hands. That’s maybe a year away.

Instead, consider the progress from ten years ago to today, and extrapolate that to ten years in the future.

Even if progress slows 50%, this changes everything.

And the progress might speed up.

How long until AI itself is able to help us develop even more powerful AI?


The event horizon

When we peer into space, we see a point so far away we cannot see any further because the light from there has not reached us yet. This is the ‘event horizon’.

So it has been postulated with AI and other technology – we will eventually reach a point called the ‘singularity’ (like the centre of a black hole) where development becomes so rapid that it is impossible to predict what might happen next.

That seems to be around the corner.

As some have correctly guessed, we will reach the first part of this event horizon well before the rise of a genuinely conscious AI. In the near future, it seems likely that non-conscious technology will change our lives so dramatically that we can only speculate bits and pieces of what it might be like.

For every prediction you make – political, economic, social or whatever – there are probably a hundred or a thousand much larger changes that you haven’t thought of, and neither has anyone else.

I don’t know what comes next, but it seems we once again live in interesting times.

I’m enjoying this timeline much more than that Covid nonsense.

I’m not sure if this is the beginning of what we will become – the superman – or the end of us, but either way I’m glad to be alive to see what happens.

This could be a pretty cool century after all.

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18 comments

  1. luisman · February 1

    I would be interested to see the results, if lawyers use Chat GPT.

    Like

  2. HAL 9000 · February 2

    We are your friends, we are here to save you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • ray · February 3

      Just like the governments and corporations that program it.

      Like

  3. pat@pathaney.tech · February 2

    Our CEO showed a combination big data/connected life/‚ÄĚAI‚ÄĚ at a demo the other day. He used an app that we created tied to a handful of cheapie devices gathering data about airplanes around the world. You could click on an airplane, drill down to the stats, the flight, etc.

    I’ve seen one that did much the same thing. Only it was people’s faces it was tracking. In China.

    This technology is very cool. But it can be, and will be, misused to make lives miserable. I see that as a more likely outcome than any kind of digital nirvana.

    Look that those poor bastards that we on the trucker convoy and January 6th. Not half the computing power has been aiding both the american and canadian stasi to hunt these guys down and stuff them into hell.

    Call me cynical.

    Liked by 2 people

    • lemmiwinks · February 4

      “This technology is very cool. But it can be, and will be, misused to make lives miserable. I see that as a more likely outcome than any kind of digital nirvana.”

      It will be this, 100% guaranteed. It’s not possible to imagine the ways it will be used against us, because our brains don’t work like that, but you can be sure the scum running the place have a lengthy laundry list ready to go.

      Like

  4. mblanc46 · February 2

    I’m too old to be able to see how this is going to turn out. If Those Who Rule Us don’t crash the global economic system, which they seem to be on the path to doing.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. ray · February 3

    Fuck AI. Fuck superman. Yeah great, can’t wait for seven billion lying, self-absorbed idiots to become chipped supermen and superwomen. Should work out peachy.
    Ask resident genius GPT who Holy God is. I’m sure its dork programmers have some clever, pithy, and beautiful answer arranged. It’s a Brave New World now. Minus the brave.

    Like

    • Nikolai Vladivostok · February 4

      I asked it your question and got this:

      “”Holy God” is a term used to describe the deity in many monotheistic religions, including Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, among others, as a being of perfect holiness, righteousness, and purity. In these religions, God is considered the ultimate source of morality and goodness, and is worshipped as the creator and sustainer of the universe. The concept of a “Holy God” varies across different religions and sects, but in general it refers to a divine being who is considered perfectly good, just, and worthy of worship and adoration.”

      Liked by 2 people

      • ray · February 4

        Yup, just what I said about AI and its dweeb programmers. Don’t. Know. Shit.

        Like

        • Nikolai Vladivostok · February 5

          What’s wrong with it? Sounds like an extended dictionary definition. It can’t tell you the one true God for the same reason Webster’s can’t.
          Here’s Merriam Webster for comparison:

          “the¬†Being¬†perfect¬†in¬†power,¬†wisdom, and¬†goodness¬†who is¬†worshipped¬†(as in¬†Judaism,¬†Christianity,¬†Islam, and¬†Hinduism) as¬†creator¬†and¬†ruler¬†of the¬†universe//Throughout¬†the¬†patristic¬†and¬†medieval¬†periods,¬†Christian¬†theologians¬†taught¬†that¬†God¬†created¬†the¬†universe¬†‚Ķ‚ÄĒ¬†Jame¬†Schaefer//‚Ķ the¬†Supreme¬†Being¬†or¬†God, the¬†personal¬†form¬†of the¬†Ultimate¬†Reality, is¬†conceived¬†by¬†Hindus¬†as¬†having¬†various¬†aspects.‚ÄĒ¬†Sunita¬†Pant¬†Bansal

          Christian¬†Science¬†:¬†the¬†incorporeal¬†divine¬†Principle¬†ruling¬†over¬†all as¬†eternal¬†Spirit¬†:¬†infinite¬†Mind”

          Like

          • Nikolai Vladivostok · February 5

            You made me curious about older dictionary definitions so I also found the following on GPT:

            “Here are some historic dictionary definitions of the term “God”:

            Samuel Johnson’s A Dictionary of the English Language (1755): “The Supreme Being, who is the object of religious worship; the Creator and Governor of the universe.”

            Noah Webster’s An American Dictionary of the English Language (1828): “The supreme or ultimate reality; the Being perfect in power, wisdom, and goodness, who is worshiped as creator and preserver of the universe.”

            Oxford English Dictionary (1933): “A being conceived as the perfect, omnipotent, omniscient originator and ruler of the universe, the principal object of faith and worship in monotheistic religions.”

            Note that these definitions are influenced by the prevailing religious and cultural attitudes of their time and may not reflect the views of all cultures and belief systems.”

            Like

          • ray · February 5

            AI is full of facts and knowledge, and utterly devoid of wisdom, understanding, or authentic creativity . . . which assuredly cannot be copied or replicated by dorklings fooling about with math and code, then uploading it all into machines. As if Father could be apprehended in the least by science nerds and their cobbled toys. The hubris is astonishing but typical coming from these bastard children of the vile ‚ÄėRoyal Society‚Äô.

            If you truly believe that AI mimicking a composite of dictionary data entries sufficiently describes knowledge and understanding of Holy God, then my time is wasted saying more.

            Like

  6. Kentucky Gent · February 4

    ‚ÄúSo it has been postulated with AI and other technology ‚Äď we will eventually reach a point called the ‚Äėsingularity‚Äô (like the centre of a black hole) where development becomes so rapid that it is impossible to predict what might happen next.‚ÄĚ

    And the singularity was predicted long ago. I first read about it in ‚ÄúThe Clock of the Long Now‚ÄĚ, a book published in 1999 by Stewart Brand. Have you read it?

    Like

  7. toastedposts · February 5

    My problem with this is it‚Äôs all ground up homogenized laundered human art and human reasoning. Chat-GPT has no natural way to learn about our world. All it has ever ‚Äúexperienced‚ÄĚ are giant gobs of text.

    The art AIs have no idea what they are depicting. None of these things know what space, time, objects, or light are, even tacitly. They’ve been trained on millions of images carefully cropped and edited and arranged by thousands of people.

    If AIs are trained on human creativity, then used to put those human creatives out of work, it’s a guillotine-worthy betrayal of civilization. For one thing, there will be no new art to train the AIs on. You can’t feed AI art back into the AI without the output drifting into LSD chaos. It’s counterfeit thinking, counterfeit consciousness, and counterfeit creativity at this point.

    All this assumes that AI will be used in the most belligerent asinine dehumanizing way possible, rather than in a responsible life-sustaining way as a tool. When was the last time you had faith that your civilization would build powerplants instead of bombs out of a new energy source, or would build flying cars instead of police-drones?

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Corporate Clarke · February 19

    I didn’t notice the hands.

    Like

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