Monday, June 5, 2023

It's unsettling how much A.I. has grown in just a few months.

 This week's issue of Time magazine has an interesting cover. I'll post it below for your enjoyment:

It's a great cover, attention grabbing, and the graphic designer of this cover did a great job provided they were human. I'm guessing that they were. The simplicity of it kind of speaks of a human job rather than one that was created by a machine. But these days the two are indistinguishable. Of course most of my concerns (I'd say about 99% of them) aren't around A.I. somehow annihilating humans like you see in the movies. Most of my concerns are actually critiques of capitalism, because A.I. easily replaces people in their jobs.

I was talking with a person the other day. This person isn't someone I regularly associate with, and to be honest, it isn't someone I like all that much. The reason? They were really arrogant, narcissistic, and selfish but they were somewhat physically stunning on the outside. This "veneer" of beauty has given them a privileged life, even being called "the golden boy" by relatives as an "aside," maybe to hide some veiled jealousy by a sibling that didn't get the bountiful gifts their brother did. This person is notoriously lazy, does very poor work in just about everything, but works out all the time, and has easily obtainable school credentials from a family that has money. When I caught up with them, they admitted on a conference call (it was a small one) that they use ChatGPT all the time. This doesn't surprise me. He even uses it for emails. In other words, his "expertise" that he was trained in is actually useless despite the huge salary he gets paid. But his employer has not caught on, and is happy with what he does for them. In fact, his employer (which is an enormous one in Utah) actually has banned the use of A.I. So this person just surreptitiously uses it on their cell and emails it to himself and then uploads that. A full day's work can be done in under a minute so he can go work out.

His take on A.I.? "It is wonderful. My productivity is amazing. It has made me a great employee and an even better expert on things." My take on A.I. with regard to him. "You are actually useless and not worth a dime. If I was your employer, I'd fire you, use ChatGPT, and just pay someone $15 an hour to do your job that you used to do." But my take is purely because this is how capitalism works. I actually hate I actually would not say this if I wasn't forced to play the game. But because I am forced to play the game, I think this is how the hammer should fall. And the way...this guy that relies on A.I. now is a full on capitalist. He actually thinks that he has skills that are still valuable. I would like nothing more than for people who are full on capitalists, and who jerk off to capitalism, to find themselves out of a job because of A.I. There would be some kind of schadenfreude I would experience right before the entire country slid off into the ditch, because this whole House of Cards would come tumbling down. Do I realize that I'd be a part of that collapse? Oh definitely I do. But if this is inevitable, then bring it on I guess.

However, do I wish there was a better way? Do I think there is a better way? Yeah, I do. But I think the steps our country would have to take would include embracing socialism, admitting that people are replaceable, and deciding as humans to support other humans. And this would mean increasing the social safety net and abolishing income inequality (which also means that we would need to tax the rich heavily). We'd have to get people to treat other people like equals. We'd have to get people to stop exploiting. Companies wouldn't be able to make as much money. People wouldn't be able to get such huge houses. There wouldn't be super yachts running around on the ocean all in service to one guy. Once humanity did all of that, then A.I. would be an amazing next step. But as it stands, none of the things I mentioned above are even possible because people want to think of themselves as elite. All you have to do is follow the Midjourney (A.I.) page on Facebook, and you'll see thousands if not hundreds of thousands of people who were (essentially) talentless who are now creating art and think of themselves as "elite" to the point that they want to/are trying to sell their art on Etsy and other places.

But it isn't their art. It was created by Midjourney and they typed in the prompt. But they think it is "theirs" because they came up with the idea. Real artists who go on that FB page and complain are chased out of there with virtual pitchforks. Many of the most vocal and adamant users of Midjourney say, "This has helped so much with my mental health! I was never able to draw but now I can realize everything I have ever wanted with this tool!!!" It's such an interesting turn of phrase. The word "tool" is used when Midjourney in fact was not a "tool." It did ALL of the work. That's like saying that a "Care Provider" is your tool when in fact, they got the ingredients, prepped the meal, cooked the meal, fed it to you, and then cleaned up afterwards." Sure...that's just a...tool...I guess. But we all know it isn't. If someone else goes to work for me and does my job while I sit at home and then turns over all of the money they made...that person isn't a "tool." At least that's not the word I'd use to describe what they are. We are getting into some weird realities here with the way people are embracing a thing that literally does all of the work.

The way I see it, for now all physical labor jobs that break your back and pay badly are not in danger. So woo hoo! Yay! You can still go and clean manholes, scrub toilets, and wipe people's butts and clean up dog poop. Those jobs are not what A.I. is going for. But if your job uses a computer, it's on the chopping block. The next ten years will be telling as the job report showed just on Friday that it has started. In the month of May, 3900 people were fired/replaced with A.I. What's that number going to be in May of 2026? That's only three years away? Look at how far we've come since February.

So what say you? Anyone else out there feeling the same things?


  1. There was a Yahoo! News story about what you were saying: people who had white collar type jobs and are now walking dogs and working on air conditioners to make ends meet

    I think using these things and calling yourself an artist is like if I go to the grocery store, buy a ready-made cake, and call myself a baker. But there was someone on a "friend"'s Facebook advertising his "services" as an "illustrator" using AI. [eye roll]

  2. I've been reading some people who find people using AI for lawyer stuff, and the stuff is not good. The AI makes things up, and the "lawyer" didn't check. Also, sci fi magazines are saying that people are submitting stories written by AI, and again, not good.

    Not that AI won't get better, but I think if you dig a little deeper, those utilizing the AI are going to find that it's not doing quality work. It's great for random emails and blog filler, but actual law and such? At least, not yet.