On the topic of AI; Chat GPT and Stable Diffusion
I’ve come to the conclusion that how impressive you think a piece of AI is directly correlates to your level of expertise in the skill that the AI is emulating (AIs don’t have skills, in my opinion – they emulate them by shredding, blending, and regurgitating the work of others).
For instance, I’m not blown away by Chat GPT. It seems to me like a small advancement on Google’s ability to use smart snippets or Wolfram Alpha’s natural language search. Nothing truly original pops out of it and the quality of the writing is far below what I would expect from a human author.
For a more detailed tear-down of the limitations of ChatGPT, Vice has you covered…
For as an author, however, I set a very high standard for writing. I see the repetition, the clumsy connectives, the mealy-mouthed hedge betting in Chat GPT’s output and I sneer at it. It’s not as good a writer as me, I assure myself. I am not in danger of being replaced.
AI is like a magic trick – it’s only impressive until you know how it’s done.
However, when I hook up to AI art generator Stable Diffusion, it’s a different story. I’m not a great artist – I can sketch a little and used to do a passable dinosaur for the kids to colour in, but I’m not Jack Kirby. Here, I find my feelings are different. I’m having fun, generating images that I couldn’t generate for myself. I’m creating things that feel original to me and that I’m already thinking up ways to use in future projects. Obviously, the output isn’t great but, to my eye, it’s good enough – especially for the transitory world of social media where content has a half-life shorter than most unstable nuclear isotopes. For example, I wondered what it would look like if someone put a cow in Ironman's armour...
This is where the danger lies. Historically, if I needed a piece of artwork for a project, I’d need to seek out an artist. Now, I have an on-demand option that, quite often, is going to meet my uneducated (and therefore lower) artistic standards.
It falls on us all to remember that these systems have been trained on the output of human beings. Human beings who, in what seems to be the vast majority, did not give their consent for their work to be used this way.
I don’t want you to use Chat GPT, hire a writer instead. In exchange, I won’t use Stable Diffusion as anything other than a toy to make things like – I promise.