6/15/23

This was a fun topic of discussion towards end of 2022 and beginning of 2023. Now I find myself incredibly tired of the conversation. Especially because I see worse and worse hot-takes from well-meaning people who don’t take a moment to consider the implications of what they’re saying. AI “art” took the internet by storm and caused a tremendous uproar for quite some time, just as crypto, NFTs, and other technological advancements have done and are doing with increasing frequency in our manic modern world. If you read no further, please, be considerate of others. Even if our tech oligarch overlords are not considerate, you should be.

Before I give into the temptation to ramble endlessly, let me state my position on AI (and technology generally). I am, and always have been, a very imaginative person greatly influenced by art, music, writing, etc. After painstaking amounts of soul-searching and an ever increasing obsession with words I set my feet solidly in the craft of writing. Because I care deeply about every word, the idea of using automated tools to replace my human intention is completely out of the question. However, to grandstand and say I would never use AI for anything ever is naive at best.

Why naive? Because artificial intelligence is not going away. The incentive structure for those who spearhead industrial society (elites, or whatever boogeyman term you prefer) creates an impulse so strong they become as helpless against this progress as you or I. Until the apocalypse or an EMP strike this will never go away or be uninvented. It will always be present in technological society to some degree or another regardless of any supposed government regulation (which will not save you by any means, only usher in worse forms of control). For this reason I reject the temptation to completely disregard AI in everything in all forms.

You have 2 options:

  1. Become a hermit in the woods (which I am by no means demeaning, it's a perfectly valid and often tempting prospect).

  2. Learn to manage your relationship with technology.

You can put any technology in place of the word “AI” and what I say will be true. Social media, as an excellent example, must be managed or it will consume your life. AI is the next iteration of the consuming industrial world. If you cannot manage your relationship with the processes that expedite your life eventually you will be completely subsumed into the machine. If you can’t say no to your phone, your computer, or your television they will consume you. To a large extent this decision will be made for you, but to whatever degree or power you have make automation follow your rules.

Draw a line in the sand, but don’t dig a trench too deep unless you are okay with innocent people falling inside. The trench will also serve to isolate you which, if you are to become a hermit, is not a bad thing. However, if you want to interact with computers in any way you must state what you are and are not willing to do. My line in the sand is I will not use AI to extrapolate, interpolate, edit, expand, abridge, or directly interact with my writing in any way. If I use a search engine to find the answer to a grammatical question I have and an AI fetches the answer for me, I will have no guilt.

I seek to maintain the personal touch of creativity. I don’t seek to make “content.” I want to write art from my heart. I will use a diverse set of tools to do this but I will not hire a robot to do it for me. I encourage any kind of artist in any medium to develop traditional skills with their digital ones. I will not fault those who use AI in more open or express ways . . .

. . . But I will leave these 2 warnings:

  1. Don't be a liar. Be honest with the tools you used.

  2. Don't be immodestly attached to technology. Have a foot in the real world or you will be eaten.

7/1/24

Concerning the question of AI copyright disputes, until there is a means of (at a minimum) properly crediting everyone who, willingly or unwillingly, contributed to LLM datasets it will continue to be in violation of not only my (comparatively lax) license but also in violation of general copyright law. There is a transformative nature to AI outputs even if I find the outputs largely not to my taste. With all that being said, I believe the greatest positive outcome that can result from the propagation of artificial intelligence is for people to reassess their relationship with the digital world and give proper respect to the real world.

Artificial "Intelligence" and Your Creative Future