Fuck AI […content generation]

I want to ingest art, information and ideas from humans, as imperfect as it may be.

This is a spur-of-the-moment / stream-of-consciousness post, something I’m intending to do more of. There are lots of facets of AI which are and will be amazing for us, but here I’m talking about content, text and idea generation.

There’s now a disclaimer in the footer of this site proclaiming that all content herein is bona fide human. I’ll be encouraging companies and creatives I speak with to boycott AI, or at least customer-facing generated content.

But wait – am I just getting old? With every technological advancement you’ve got the old guard lamenting the demise of the world they knew. The fear is that the new technology will degrade human capability or experience. Meanwhile generations born into change don’t notice these missing things at all, they just use what’s at hand to do what they think is important.

The new tools we have for generating images, text, ideas and thoughts represent the early spread and democratization of the next major technological leap… AI. People can create art, written content, and astoundingly, solve complex problems by chatting to an algorithm.

There may be higher order types of creativity and authenticity that make better use of AI than the use we will find for it today. What is our content and art in service of? Will AI generation mean easier ways to communicate what is actually important? Will it create a closer bridge between us and our imagination? Will it empower otherwise non-creative people to create? Will our artistic and intellectual muscles atrophy? Will AI outpace human creativity and help us create a world we could never imagine, but is exactly what we need? If we build a future reliant on AI and we end up unable to maintain the complex physical and software systems AI will rely on, will we be totally fucked?

Probably, to all of that.

But for now, fuck AI. Or, more specifically, fuck presenting AI generated content as human ideas or creativity. If I know content is generated, I’ll steer clear. Imagine arriving at a website looking for information on a topic and being greeted with “this content has been generated by AI but verified by experts in the subject matter.” I would like to think that generated content would be vetted for accuracy/suitability, but in reality, it would be employed to fill knowledge/ability gaps.

The business case for AI in our current society is all bullshit shortcuts to grab and hold attention to sell. For example every small business that finds customers online has people creating pages of soulless content designed to trick Google into thinking it knows and cares about this topic. AI will serve these needs perfectly.

I want to ingest art, information and ideas from humans, as imperfect as it may be. My biggest reason for wariness is respect for the creative act itself, how the confluence of specific personal and environmental factors combine to make something what it is. It’s difficult to put into words, but I wrote a whole post book exploring this concept (Dirt in Art).

Human perception and communication would have to change in fundamental ways to make the automation of creativity OK. I don’t see that happening, or care if it does. I could be spectacularly wrong about all this and we might be on the verge of something amazing, where what we see as art and ideas changes (or what takes their place?) but for now, don’t you want to see people making things and exploring this world with their own eyes and hands? In any case the tools will be shaped by how we use them and if they are being employed to replace skill, thoughts, creativity, I’m not sure this bodes well.

I like people who care about what they do and bravely create with imperfection and integrity.