Friday, September 29, 2023

This is issue five hundred of me pointing out how weird things are getting.

It's hyperbole of course. Still, things are getting weird, folks, and I'm here to point out why.

FACT: The SAG-AFTRA Writer's Guild strike has reached an agreement. The thing my mind focused on were the wins for writers against artificial intelligence. Here's what came out of the settlement (in a nutshell). No artificial intelligence will ever be credited for the writing in a show. The credit and the payment will all go to living writers who have been hired (and who are in that position) to write.

HOW DO I FEEL ABOUT THIS? Fantastic. This is a win for writers!

THE WEIRD: Yes...nothing is without the weird these days.'s the thing. This protection for writers is an artificial boundary. It was created by people who are hedging out a thing that (quite honestly from what I've seen) actually can and does replace writers. The thing writes better than me. Could it write better than Neil Gaiman and George R.R. Martin? Probably, yes. Better than J.K. Rowling? Yes, I'm saying it can. That is an uncomfortable truth. I'm saying...absolutely yes in case I'm being misunderstood.

So...the people who have these jobs should probably be thanking their privilege. Full stop, I realize what I just said, and it will probably make people angry. I'm ready for the "Mike, I think you mispoke. I am here in this position pulling down hundreds of thousands a years with access to fame and fortune on skill alone. No one, and I MEAN NO ONE has my talent." 

And then there's my response with a loud obnoxious "BUZZZ...YOU'RE WRONG." However, the thing that could replace you is on the other side of that artificial wall over there. So, you're safe. But you shouldn't proceed forward as if you aren't in a position of privilege. If capitalism were to just be unfettered in this instance, you actually aren't needed. But I'm a person, you're a person, and at the end of the day, I fully agree I would rather that art be generated by real people. But every single one of us needs to understand that something happened here in 2023 that has never happened before. We actually can see the privilege of remaining employed here...of drawing down fame and fortune...and for those things to be actually reserved for humans (as they should be). But the humans in those chairs need to be grateful that it turned out this way. They really do.

But we all know that many of them won't. Many of them will not understand how close they came to utter extinction of the fields in which they have spent their entire lives to achieve. And they certainly will not accede luck or privilege to any of it. No...they got there by skill and skill alone. Okay...whatever you need to tell yourself to sleep at night, I guess. But I can hope that these writers for the shows that we watch do not come down on other writers who have wanted to do that self same thing and been unsuccessful in breaking into show business by telling them, "You just need to work harder," or "Maybe you don't succeed because you aren't good enough." That would be awfully cruel for a person to say when the very chair they sit in is a "gift" because it could have been taken away by artificial intelligence.

But it is privilege. It is a huge privilege. And that, friends, is "The Weird."


  1. They won - this year. But that will eventually change. AI will replace them and sooner than they think. It's going to make a lot of jobs obsolete. I don't envy anyone getting a creative arts type degree. Or other degrees that can also be replaced by AI. Now is a really good time to learn a trade instead.

    1. Only until the robots learn how to repair air conditioners and pipes. ;-)

  2. I think first you would have to define a metric for "better." Right now the "AI" can't produce anything better than those authors; all it can do is copy them. It's like in The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay (a book written by real human Michael Chabon) Sammy Clay starts creating comics by tracing the drawings of others and then repurposing them for his own stories. That's basically where "AI" is right now. It is just an elaborate form of plagiarism.

    Eventually the "I" will actually stand for Intelligence and it will be able to think for itself. Then we'll have to decide whether it's "better" than what real humans do.

    But a lot of what real humans (like me) do is just dreck anyway, so that would be easy for an AI to churn out.

    BTW, I wish I could cut and paste some quotes from this Travis McGee book by John D MacDonald (also a real human) for you. Trav has some great rants about how one day everyone in New York is going to rise up and kill each other and stuff. Sounds kinda like your blog entries only it was written in the early-to-mid 1960s.