Are We Giving Up On Facts?

Artificial Intelligence remains and will remain all the rage. Whether it be text in Large Language Models or Digital Art creation there’s a rush, gold and otherwise, into this new world fueled by impressive technology. Impressive as it may be, at its core it remains a regurgitation of creations by humans. Which we all know at times have been impressive and at other times less so. (See Today.) Even once it reaches the point when new AI creations are redigesting its own regurgitations, its core will still be based on what has come before.

Ouroboros dragon serpent snake symbol

Set aside the sometimes laughable mistakes (two different models have declared me dead) and the “who owns this stuff” issues over the text and images these engines are trained on. Set aside the labor issues. (I’m waiting to see the sex-worker protests over AI generated porn spring up.) Those are fundamentally no different than the advent of any new disruptive technology business springing up. See Uber. See the explosion of rented scooters. See food delivery services. Ship it and sort out the problems later. The rush of the immediate craze always meets reality at some point and slows down before settling in, and in some cases fading from the scene.

But this rush feels different. Not the gold rush part. There’s nothing new under the sun there. But the rush to adopt. Which now that I think of it is essentially the same thing.

It feels different because I think it means we’re giving up on facts. Yes, sure these models are being trained on facts. But they are also being trained on a ton of bullshit. Because hey, again, they are being trained on all the stuff we’ve spewed out and is indexable on the Internet.

I may be wrong but I can’t find any reading that suggests that there are any attempts to weed out the wheat from the chaff. We can’t solve that problem in the real world, so I don’t have much hope that anyone even desires to in the artificial one either. On the on hand why do that? Aren’t these just tools for humans to use? And humans do human things like make mistakes, make stuff up, and make trouble. Often while trying to make money.

On the other hand, I’m not sure there will be another hand. If this new technology phase achieves the aims its creators are using to sell it, the next phase will be new tools that promise to do that wheat/chaff separating. Which, in turn, will get fed back into the same machine in an infinite loop that eventually churns out bread that all tastes the same. I can’t wait to read all of the AI generated articles that feature headlines reading “Everything You Need to Know About AI” a decade or so down the road.

There’s no great conclusion here. There’s merely questions. Or maybe just more fodder for the AI bots to suck up. But as I ponder this I am reminded of this quote from Frank Herbert’s Dune:

“Once men turned their thinking over to machines in the hope that this would set them free. But that only permitted other men with machines to enslave them.”

Author: Warner Crocker

I stumble through life as a theatre director and playwright as well as a gadget geek...commenting along the way. Every day I learn something new is a good day, so I share what I find exciting, new, stupid and often worthwhile.

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