Monday, April 01, 2024

About AI

In the New York Times, the neuroscientist Eric Hoel argues that the increased use of artificial intelligence is forcing any notion of intellectual or aesthetic quality into a death spiral, prompted as much as anything by human laziness. For example he refers to researchers at a conference on AI using AI to conduct peer reviews on AI-related papers, taking any human critical intervention out of the equation. Which is a problem, because one thing AI is very bad at detecting is bullshit, which is ultimately what peer review is for.

Of course, most of us don’t hang around at AI conferences, but Hoel suggests that the process is far more prevalent than that, eroding the fabric of culture itself, to the detriment even of people who reach for their weapons when they hear the word:

Isn’t it possible that human culture contains within it cognitive micronutrients — things like cohesive sentences, narrations and character continuity — that developing brains need? 
In other words, the processes by which people engage with all the gubbins of society is as significant as the content itself, and that’s what AI is stripping away. But it’s not as if the purveyors of AI are doing this deliberately, is it? They’re not consciously proposing policies that will make humanity that bit more stupid are they oh wait hang on...

PS: And even if you’re not that bothered about AI destroying the canon of Western literature, you might want to know what it’s doing to your fridge

PPS: And, following on from Musk’s tweet, I think this is supposed to be an April Fool’s gag but these days, who knows?

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