Portrait of an AI as a Young Technology

Perk@Work | “Robot Cook” | Published January 28, 2009

There’s a lot of chatter these days about AI. How much of that talk is generated by AI itself is unknown. After all, the percentage of internet users that are bots is growing. Soon, there will be more bots than humans online. And you thought the rise of the robots was a conspiracy theory.

I’ve seen these AI programs that create art: paintings, drawings, music, etc. Specifically, I’ve noticed folks using AI to make a snazzy portrait of themselves for their social media profile pic. In all honesty, I like what I see. Yet, wouldn’t it be just like the robots to hit us where we’re vulnerable: our own faces? It’s like the robots read “How to Win Friends and Influence People” and used those tactics against us to build some sort of artificial rapport; making us open to the idea of using their services.

ChatGPT seems to be all the rage, though I haven’t dabbled in it. I didn’t include a link to it since I don’t want ED-209 to come to my house and pellet me with bullets. Although come to think of it, he may do that because I neglected to add the link. You’re damned if you do…

I believe it was in the book “1984” that there were novel-writing machines. Seemed so outlandish at the time of publishing (even in 1984), but here we are in the future doing exactly that. The author of the book “Alice and Sparkle” used AI to flesh out [shutter] his idea. There’s even a whole website for comics with AI-generated art. This is clearly bad for artists… right?

To be honest, I have mixed feelings about the whole thing. Yes, I want artists to be paid for their talents and work. Yet, as a creator with a job and a family, I don’t have the time or money to produce my ideas. AI could be my creative team and get my ideas out into the world. Then again, I don’t want to take work away from a human. Then again, I don’t have the money to hire a human to do the work. Grrrrr!

There’s an even darker side to all this (aside from the robot uprising). The mindset of wanting someone else to do the heavy lifting – with little to no compensation – then taking that product, calling it your own, and profiting off of it is akin to… shall I say the word?

Here’s a workaround: AI should come at a price; twice as much as hiring a comparable artist. Call it a “Tech Tax” if you like. This Tech Tax would act as a deterrent to using AI and an incentive to hire a human. Look, I’m not big on taxes, but there has to be some way to keep this under control. If we lose our human artists for the sake of saving money, we lose more than what we’ve saved.

George Bernard Shaw said, “Without art, the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable.” I would swap “art” for “artists.” Robots have no soul. They can mimic art styles and such, but they cannot breathe life into any creation.

Have we crossed the Rubicon? Can we go back to life without AI? Does that make me a Luddite or Amish? Would this message be better presented on paper and sent via pigeon? What do you think?

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