Monday, April 22, 2024

A.I. is everywhere now.

Watching a.i. take over everything that I see has been really weird and unsettling. Whenever I spot it "in the wild" as it were, I know that the people who used it are just "phoning it in." Here's some examples.

1) Recently, Wizards of the Coast who owns the Dungeons & Dragons intellectual property had to fire an artist because they had hired the artist to produce illustrations for one of their books called Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants. The reason? They had used a.i. to produce more than ten images for the book, and they hadn't disclosed that at all. The images look great by the way. However, there was an uproar once it was "discovered" by a clever spot person who knew what to look for when it comes to a.i. images. What's the fallout going to be over this? Well, in the short-term the company fired that artist and ordered the digital version of the book to be redone with art from another artist. However, this is simply a company choosing to do the right thing. I mean...the a.i. art was good, and it passed in front of a lot of eyes before it was caught. I also understand why the artist chose to do it: money. Imagine getting like ten to fourteen images done in a single night and then just collecting a big paycheck from a company that just wants to do the right thing. But the message is also clear on this one: why do companies even need artists anymore? If they chose to do the wrong thing, then they'd just end up with more money in their pocket.

2) I see books all of the time on Amazon or on Reddit or on Facebook and the art for the covers looks really great minus maybe a few tells: an extra finger that most people might miss or a dragon's tail that is duplicated. Click on the comments and you see people asking why the self-published author used a.i. art for the cover. Well...I'll tell you why. It's because it actually does look professionally done, and if the author had even a smidgeon of talent at photoshop and also had attention to detail, they could have corrected that extra finger and then it would have been indistinguishable from a piece that might have cost $2,000 to have done by a real artist five years ago. What's the fallout for this? How do we know that half the book (or more) wasn't also written by a.i. if the cover was done that way? And why should we be concerned? Because there's no effort in it. The person is just phoning it in. This is the way our society is going: low to no effort and people are phoning things in from their place on the couch and expecting to get paid. Maybe the late Janet Reid (from Query Shark) passed away at the right time as it's obvious that the literary world she so loved has gone into the toilet. Also, I mean no disrespect to Janet Reid by making that comment. She was a titan among literary agents out there and did a lot to help struggling writers who legitimately weren't "phoning it in." I've heard stories where she attended writer's conferences and sat outside the conference hall to hear pitches from every single writer who wanted to pitch something to her before she left.

3) Real Estate Agents who saw their commissions cave-in within the last year (and who have dangerously bloated lifestyles) have turned to consulting as a gig to try and replace some of that lost $40,000 a month they were used to for basically doing nothing. Consulting (if you don't know) is one of those jobs that really appeals to narcissists who want big bucks for low effort stuff, and there's always a sucker willing to hand over their money because they followed/benefited from one of the four rules of getting wealthy in the United States:

  1. You inherit the money. If this isn't an option see number 2.
  2. You are smart and clever enough to be a really successful criminal. If you are too stupid for this see number 3.
  3. You have a good idea and then you take that idea and you outwork everyone else. You don't let any single person outwork you, and you sacrifice everything to keep working on it. If you don't have the spark and the drive for this see number 4.
  4. You are pretty enough that people will give you money for your favors. And yes, "favors" is a euphemism.
So what do consultants do? Well, they used to try and offer some wisdom into whatever their specialty is. But I know a few of these former real estate agents who turned to consulting and their websites are all a.i. garbage with things posted on the blogs they threw up there that clearly were written by ChatGPT. How? I can spot the tells. So basically, they are phoning it in too and hoping that ChatGPT is good enough to land the big whales who want to benefit from ChatGPT wisdom. But what could possibly be the fallout for this? As soon as those "whales" with money find out that it's just ChatGPT, they may (in fact) decide to take the advice of ChatGPT instead of paying a consultant fee.

This is just three examples of how a.i. is really saturating everything. But I'll hand you a few more. It's difficult to find actual art anymore. Everything you google is just a.i. art now including things I see a lot on DeviantArt and Artstation. I read more and more articles everyday that seem to be written by a.i. appearing on Facebook. How do I know? There's no depth. There are just so many people using a.i. that I wonder if any of it has any value, because it is so easy to get your hands on a.i. stuff. Adobe Firefly has advertisements that tout the built in a.i. features that allow you to be a "better illustrator." Give me a break. Having a.i. draw the picture for you is just a gussied up paint by numbers. I think the biggest thing that is shattering in my head about this whole a.i. takeover is that the caste system of the United States no longer makes sense to me. It used to be that I'd do this little trick in my head and convince myself that rich people were people who had talent. That little trick is dying because of a.i. and now all I see are people who were just lucky. That's it. Luck. And that's a bad reason to use to explain to a struggling person why they are struggling. "Sorry man, you just drew the short stick, you know what I'm saying? Bye, Felicia. However, you are in my thoughts and prayers." This is basically the new reality of America, and I wonder if anyone is going to do anything about it, or are we all just going to start accepting this new reality as a group and just phone in everything from now on?

So many avenues where people used to be able to make money are going to dry up from all of this. And the irony of it all is that this is probably the worst time for something like that to happen, because everything is just costing more and more and more.


  1. Good on Wizards of the Coast for pulling those illustrations. However, I predict soon they won't care and will embrace AI art.
    There was recently a test with a fighter jet - AI controlled jet versus one with a pilot and wizzo. The AI jet won hands down. Young fighter pilots should be very worried.
    What will it invade next?

  2. I was playing with an "AI" yesterday just to see what it would draw vs what I could find on stock photo sites. Most of the pictures were OK but for some reason when I ask for a sexy woman it gives her a lot of muscles and visible ribs. Not all that sexy to me.

    Something I was wondering this morning: I saw a huge uptick in Kindle Unlimited pages read starting in December. I wonder if someone(s) have been using Kindle Unlimited to "train" "AI" writing programs?

  3. The French Revolution happened for a reason...

    Janet Reid died?!? Yikes. I hadn't heard...

    So, the other day I was reading this thing on social media about a guy who works in entertainment (film or TV, not sure which) and his company had hired some AI prompters to come up with production design stuff. He decided to keep his job and treat these people like any other artist.

    They brought their images in. Some needed major work. Some were close. But none of these prompters could do anything to modify the artwork when they were close. They instead came back with brand new images. When the guy asked for a tweak, they couldn't do it. They all got fired.

    I would love to think this is what'll happen when people try to use AI instead of the professionals who know what they're doing. I hope.