It has been a while since I have written anything, much less posted an article to this blog. Call me a slacker, a habitual procrastinator or better yet a serial creative. My creative energies move from one outlet to the next. I was recently asked to read some of my older spoken word pieces for a group of adult writers. Initially I was hesitant, given the number of years that have passed since I have stood up in front of a group and shared my written work. My excuses included, not having done this is in so long, the fact that what I would be reading to these people would be old writings, many years old, I might add, and actual fear. Fear of not being able to do this anymore. I remember being told if I don’t use this, talent, that I would lose it. But in-spite of my inner quarrels I opted to do the reading. Much to my surprise it was well received and I was quickly reminded of the pleasure it brought me. I have since been asked to do more, an encore of sorts, and that for me was a subtle nudge to rekindle a relationship with a creative expression that I tabled along the way.
The experience made me think of actually writing again. Of laying in my bed, like I am now at an ungodly hour, with only the light of my phone and tapping away in this little Notes app. Past incarnations involved the more archaic notebook and pen method. Oftentimes scribbling in the dark, so that ideas won’t get lost in the night’s dream. Awaking to the groggy memory of having written something, then to see the sideways scribbles along the pages of the notebook that used to sit on my nightstand. Those were committed times, an era when to me the written word, or rather my expression of it was important to me. As I write this I am secretly, well no longer a secret, because I’m about to say it, elated by the fact that I am actually doing this. It is that way when we do those things that truly bring us peace. We experience joy. Real joy. That deeply authentic feeling that you know comes from a purely honest place. It’s simply you and your thing. I just noticed the headache I had is no longer there. Go figure.
Confession. That last article I posted, if any of you read it, the Black & White article, was not written by me. I wrote the prompt for it, but those words, none of them were mine. If you were to read it and have read any of my previous writings you would likely see the difference. I had that article created using AI, in a sort of unscientific experiment to see what it would create and more importantly, how it would feel. And this is where I believe it fell short.
Of late I have been spending some time consuming information and trying out different things using some of the many AI tools out there. The list is growing rapidly and what is possible is simply mind blowing. And in some aspects, quite scary. I have had AI rewrite About pages for my web design work, assist with the language for my social media posts, provide me with appropriate hashtags, re-write professional emails, perform calculations, and answer the most mundane questions I can think of. I have had AI create photo-realistic portraits that I have posted, alongside my real photography. Many were none the wiser, in-spite of the fact that I captioned it with a disclaimer. It is a somewhat eerie testament to AI’s rapidly improving ability. Meanwhile I am quickly becoming, the “what will ChatGPT say” person. See some of those images below. Amazing isn’t it?
For the uninitiated wondering what is AI, I decided to ask AI what is AI, and below is the response:
“AI, short for “Artificial Intelligence,” refers to the development of computer systems that can perform tasks that typically require human intelligence, such as learning, problem-solving, decision-making, and understanding natural language. AI involves the use of algorithms and statistical models that enable computers to make predictions, recognize patterns, and learn from data inputs. These systems can be designed to perform tasks autonomously or to assist human decision-making. AI is used in a wide range of applications, including image and speech recognition, natural language processing, robotics, and self-driving cars.”
A mouthful clearly. But also an explanation that only merely captures the vast implications for use and insertion into our daily lives. As it is with most technologies, it becomes mainstream before many realize that it is. Of course the socioeconomic, moral and human implications along with the inherent challenges run aplenty. And I’m not here to delve into the very large and many aspects of these various ongoing debates. The fact that it is here and rapidly proliferating, is enough to warrant attention. The cheeky phrase, “the future is now”, is appropriate and probably needs correcting. AI is now and will soon be as ubiquitous as the phone you are likely reading this on. I am certain I can have AI calculate the exact percentage of you that may actually read this in its entirety. A nod to the our thirty second attention span, and the reason why AI will continue to seem like science fiction to so many of us, as we exist unaware of the many aspects of our lives that it is already playing a part in.
Again here is AI’s response to examples of AI in our everyday lives:
“AI is already widely used in everyday life. Here are some current examples:
- Voice assistants: AI-powered voice assistants like Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant are found in many devices like smartphones, smart speakers, and smart home devices.
- Recommendations systems: Websites like Amazon, Netflix, and YouTube use AI algorithms to suggest products, movies, and videos to users based on their past preferences and behavior.
- Digital personalization: AI is used to personalize our digital experiences, from the news articles and ads we see to the music we listen to.
- Navigation and transportation: AI is used in navigation apps like Google Maps and Waze to suggest the best route based on real-time traffic data. Self-driving cars are also an example of AI in transportation.
- Fraud detection: AI is used in financial institutions to detect and prevent fraudulent activities.
- Healthcare: AI is used in medical diagnosis and treatment recommendations, drug discovery, and health monitoring.
- Gaming: AI is used in video games to create intelligent non-player characters and to enhance the player’s experience.
These are just a few examples of AI in everyday life. As AI technology continues to advance, we can expect to see even more applications in various industries.”
So yes the future is now. Now is now. This is simply where we are. That last article I posted, if you still haven’t read it, I would ask that you do. And then compare the language, which is perfectly punctuated and written, to this or anything else that I, the human may have written. And notice the major thing lacking, the human nuances. The feeling. The expression of wit, I assume I can be witty at times, the ability to connect with you on a less cerebral level. At least that is my take on its expression of my prompt. The prompt is how you tell the AI what to generate for you. And here as well lies one of its hidden powers. The implications are endless. AI learns, seemingly faster than us. But we also continue to learn, and though there is fear that AI would one day surpass us, the growth of AI still hugely depends on what we feed it, and how we program it to analyze and use that data.
My limited experience using AI produced that article and those images I shared above. All in my opinion, lacking realism and emotion. Presently it is said what you get out of AI is only as good as the prompts you give it. As the old saying goes, “garbage in, garbage out.” And because we ourselves are continuing to learn, our ability to craft prompts that could render things like emotion in writing, and wit, and other more human expressions, would also improve. Soon, if not already, we will not be able to differentiate what was produced my man and what was produced by AI.
We are already there with many things we interact with daily. As it is with technology, the blending into our lives can be seamless and unnoticed. It is imperative for us to keep ourselves informed and get familiar. This is not a “younger people” thing. This is the ATM, or Netflix knowing what you like to watch, or Instagram and Facebook, being able to present you with ads based on a conversation you just had. It is as real as all those other tangible things in our lives and it is here to stay.
“I love my Apple Watch!” someone said to me the other day on the cricket field.
If you got this far. I thank you for reading and welcome your comments.