On the Banality of A.I. Writing
I'm not sure what AI writing is like, but I'll read Walter's superb writing anyway. Mencken would be proud.
1974 College Graduate here... passionate English major who pulled more all nighters than I can recall, amending umpteen rough drafts with sticky notes..oh wait, no sticky notes. Following an outline with critically placed index cards, finally ready around 4 am, caffeinated to the max to start typing correcting any typos with white out...oh wait, no white out. Twenty years ago while auditing a Renaissance Lit class at Drew University, I told my kids that a word processor in college would have set me free. Copy/paste alone would have saved hours. “My English papers could have been so much better! “ Big eye rolls at Nerd Mom. Thank you dear Walter for pointing out the uber obvious... we are now willing to use our brains less in the name of “ convenience.” With AI, the dumbing down of America just took a quantum leap towards permanent mediocrity. Everyone gets a C. Boo! Hiss!
Artificial Intelligence is subordinate to Human Ignorance. Your niche is secure, Walter. Write on!
It is the further devolution of the species formerly classified as Homo sapiens. Dumbed down, incurious, devoid of independent thought, pragmatism, commitment,intimacy or nurture. Dehumanized, unpersoned an ripe for Huxley’s “Brave New World” of technocratic transhuman serfs ruled by a megalomaniacal, psychopathic, self ordained overlords.A fiefdom.
Perhaps there would be greater pushback if millenials, Gen-Z and the self proclaimed geniuses of the pundit class and the pontificators left and right actually read the damned book.
Years ago, Gutfeld authored a brilliant essay, “ The War Of Two Ideas”.. Today it could be whittled down to the “ Battle Of Two Books”- Gender Queer and the Holy Bible. Both interpreted as all that is sacred by fundamentalist , ideological zealots. As the world burns.
I worry about what will happen in a few years when AI writers are reading AI writing, could create a recursive consolidation of language use towards ease of AI use rather than human.
Ah, Walter, as long as you’re there to muse on over the changing landscape around us, I can take whatever comes next. Thanks, dear!
Many tweets are well below chatbot levels of intelligibility, which may be one testament to human uniqueness--a kind of eccentricity software cannot replicate.
I’m frequently disturbed by writer peers who provide the AI prompts just to delightedly mock the results. My policy is one of non-engagement but I worry that there are not enough hold-outs and the war is already lost. (Though, as you mention, maybe either way, composing my own thoughts with nary a thought to what the chat bot would make of me, I win?)
It'll be mediocrity all the way down.
I remember when my junior honors classes turned in their Gatsby essays. I took all 75 of them home and began the process of correcting them. This was during the 80’s and 90’s. Cliff Notes were the AI of the day. My brain scanned for key words-- Daisy was “hollow.” That’s it! Plagiarism.
My daughter Sara, who may meet on the W.B. this summer, teaches Honors English now. She has given up assigning take-home essays because these unimaginative lazy kids are using ChatGPT. We are in a very bad way.
One un/intended consequence will be the death of the metaphor. Since it is a given that allowing any chatbot to imagine its own metaphors will be like making a skyscraper out of meringue occasionally appearing attractive to the eye but incapable of fulfilling its most fundamental requirement supporting the floors above it, we can be certain that AI generated metaphors will be unable to perform their primary task of illustrating the situation they are meant to describe accurately & memorably.
It is bad enough on the net now where any type of apt metaphor is ruthlessly plundered by others for their latest tweet, once these chatbots swamp twitter and such posts will be repetitive cliche ridden facsimiles of communication which lower the intelligence of both the reader and the cbot.
I spend virtually no time on twitter so I have yet to come across ctbot product to be able to identify it on sight. I have no doubt that most of the emails that pollute my inbox will be cbot driven but I never read that dross either. What I'm trying to say is that it would be helpful to learn these identifiers but only if the indicators can be passed on is a way that doesn't alert the cursed linguistic analysers who would then alter their pets to conceal cbot product better.
Please write more, your words are medicine to me.
The feedback aspect of it harvesting the work product of other AI runs introduces the possibility of instability due to a potential positive feedback loop. Kind of like a PA system if you turn it on with the mike too close to the speaker. Hmmm.
AI could never create the stark beauty of This House of Sky or the raucousness of Desert Solitaire. Or anything Hunter Thompson wrote. Or the quirky brilliant insights of the authors I published such as Victor Niederhoffer.
Thank God for Walter’s writing!
Walter! It's robert porte
I love you man. And miss you.
Can I quote you? "The modern world is held together by fudge." I can hear you laugh.
I'm with you here. Hope to see you in tbe living stone soon.