AI spring and the autumn of my career

Hmm, I am just one year short from a taking a sabbatical. Finally! I am supposed to collect the fruits of arguing with computers for 20 years! And you’re telling me a computer will make me obsolete? Now?

A while ago I was writing on my blog:

What, are you scared of Amazon Go? I am not. In fact I say: thank God for it, we should have it everywhere. But what about all those cashier people? Well, they’re out. And yes this is a good thing.

Me, February 28, 2017

See the hubris? See the overconfidence? I am sorry. I really am.

I don’t know if reincarnation from animals is true, but one thing I learned from having a big brain is that it’s far too easy to be perfectly rational and stupid at the same time.

It seems that what looked then like a far far enemy, is now on my own doorstep with a huge army. It’s no longer about “others”. Looking at Copilot and ChatGPT alone – I panic. Knowing there’s likely twelve to twelve hundred companies trying to learn from these specific AIs of today how to make the next overly specific AI of tomorrow – I have income fear. Knowing that all it takes is one successful demo for a crash of the work market where MY job is – well, I am sorry I did not have more faith in humanity’s ability to overdo itself!

However, old habits die hard, right? I am the same old me, so here is the current shape of my hubris. Right now,

AI is not creative, AI is generative. 

AI generates media not art, because creation in art happens before the result, and from that “before”, the art’s meaning springs. AI generates related tokens, not responses, because the creation of a response involves a thread that is rooted in the experience of the partners in dialogue. AI generates fact correlations, not answers, because to create an answer a political stance is required, and we want anything but political AI.

Anywhere in the combination of AI techniques, some weird connection between machine learning, neural networks, data mining, knowledge discovery, rule-based modeling, fuzzy logic-based approaches, uncertainty reasoning, case-based reasoning, natural language processing, computer vision and, finally, searching and optimization, will make human creativity a sort of amazing ancient naive attempt at solving problems. It’s not impossible that it will appear. But it’s not a pressing matter either. 

Even in that future of AI creativity, as long as meaning craving humans will be the consumers, admirers, paying customers, of said AI creativity, at the very least there will remain the snobbish formation of a reserved, untouchable, unmovable top spot for your fellow mortal’s creative output.

Cool, but the generation is so good. And it’s now! I still panic.

Generative AI is here, it’s almost perfect and it costs a dime.

In a world of automated generative everything, the only thing that remains lucrative and valuable is creative everything. And those who make the tools for human creativity. Yes, those who make the tools for human creativity. We, all who make the tools for human creativity, we have found a warm safe spot. Hurrah. For now at least.

All tools for creators appear to be heading into a bright future. Yes the brightness comes from AI vaporizing many jobs, but the job of empowering humans to create will become ever more important.

The makers of tools for creators are to partner with AI, not be removed by AI, because AI is not creative yet. It, AI, is only, merely?, generative. Learning to play something very well is not a guarantee of being favored by the public. Why? Because, for now, there is a layer of meaning separating the generation of really believable replies to a prompt, from an actual act of imperfect, broken, human creation. 

That is why human creativity, and its emboldening via good tools, is the correct complement to the new technology.

Like others, I think that the welcoming of AI, a welcoming as a partner not as an enemy that will ruin us, will allow us to do business in a way where we can mitigate the potential losses from websites which will likely fall extinct under the deluge of know-it-all bots. 

Partnering up with AI in ways which make self expression become easier for everyone, clearer, more approachable by anyone, cheaper and more discoverable is the thing to do to capture the new long tail forming right now.

I may be a hubris filled human and overconfident chump, from time to time, but, hey at least I am consistent. In that same blog post I wrote:

Human creativity and human emotion are the only safe places to put career prospects into

Me. February 28, 2017

It still holds true, after several leaps of AI state of the art. We’re all here helping human creativity and human emotion find a home in the form of bits and bytes. We’re safe, I think.

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