I have sympathy for Tycho’s nigh-despairing exhortation towards this news:
…but this has all been baked in the pie for years. Brian Merchant later on noted that Buzzfeed’s (reasonably enough) putting daylight between shutting down their news team, and focusing on AI; he’s also (equally reasonably) noted that you can see where all of this is going. And where is it going? To a model where we’re going to have computers write generic text about news events. Maybe there’ll be an editor on hand to make sure that the text is accurate. That’ll be the next thing to be automated.
Does this suck? Absolutely, if your fundamental life skill was being able to write grammatically, and at sufficient speed and intensity to fill social media deadlines. Which means that those people need to take precautions now, while they still can. I say this because, collective, people don’t really care who are what is writing the news blurbs. If protests and pushback could work against that attitude, we’d have seen signs of it by now.
Sorry, I don’t have any good answer for any of this. All I can say is, pick your ground while you still can, because we have only barely started to work through the larger implications of AI-generated material.
PS: I will readily note that perhaps they’ll eventually design a program which can write better than me; if that happens, I’ll be just as pissed off as are all those folks now watching their livelihoods swirl the drain. I imagine that the universe will be just as interested in my complaint as theirs (which is to say, not at all).
5 thoughts on “Tweet of the Day, It AI’s When It Comes AI Time edition.”
Given buzzfeed was for the most part lazily currated twitter feeds, they absolutely deserved to be replaced by a formulatic computer.
Contribute no actual work, get no actual pay.
Insofar as the news was rarely accurate at the best of times, and has been actively lying to us for at least a decade*…
News and commentary on the news has been fake as far back as I remember paying attention. Let it be openly so.
As to more creative endeavors, the programs are going to be “trained” by the braintrusts dominating publishing, Hollywood, Top 40 Radio, and most recently AAA video games. If you’ve taken a walk through your local bookstore lately, you’ll see we’ve got absolutely nothing to be worried about.**
*I’d put the number far higher. I can’t personally attest to before 1992, but Dan Rather becoming a national name by telling flagrant lies about Dallas Schoolchildren reacting to the JFK assassination, and Walter Durante winning the Pulitzer ought to stand as benchmarks.
**I went to the local B&N last week. The SF book they were being paid to promote most heavily was about lesbian necromancers in space. I know several big name SF/F authors have released books recently, but not one of them was even on the shelves. There was only one copy of one book published by Baen in the entire SF/F section… I recall a time when I’d have to be mindful of my budget when visiting the bookstore, but that was decades ago.
The ironic part is, ‘lesbian necromancers in space’ isn’t a bad concept, if done properly (which is to say, exploitatively*). I doubt it was done that way.
*I have no inherent problems with exploitative literature, whether it be a trashy science fantasy novel, or a the-time-traveling-Special-Forces-werewolf-will-now-rip-your-bodice romance one. I try not to kink-shame consenting adults.
If the entire selling point is about the exploitative content without any other hook, they have placed all their advertising budget in one area.
Which may have a result like unto the beer industry’s recent choices.
Honestly, this seems more like evidence of how low effort and content-free popular media sites like Buzzfeed are.
I would not regard this as compelling evidence that AI is now able to generate genuinely useful content.
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