MORE ON AI – The Good, The Bad and the Ugly!
By now you will be seeing ‘AI’ EVERYWHERE. And in Everything (my website software I used just added a feature with ChatGPT to write articles for me!)
But the term is way over used. AI (Artificial Intelligence) has been used in many ways over the years.
The Good –
In early days, AI just meant programs that ‘learned’. For example, Chess programs have now advanced to the point where they will beat – consistently – the worlds best. Were they programmed by some super-intelligent players? No, in fact very ordinary players. But they programmed the program to play against itself, and it played hundreds of millions of games – and learned in that process what moves were week, what were strong. Various strategies were created by the computer, then many games played to analyze the effectiveness of the strategy. For example one strategy might be ‘march the king down the board by himself’. this strategy would quickly be deemed the STUPID strategy – and be discarded. So the programming was to enable the program to test strategies and now they can beat the best in the world.
Another good example – is medical AI. It is accepted now that an AI can find things in X-rays that many doctors will miss – so its a lifesaving feature to cause the doctor to examine the plate more closely. AI can also diagnose very well – by having millions of case histories in its database so it can find many cases with certain symptoms all are present and give a better diagnosis than a doctor who would not be aware of more than a few of the cases. Such use can be of real benefit to all! And ‘learning’ can lead to programs that can solve problems we have been wrestling with for many years.
The Bad –
AI will appear in almost all aspects of our lives. And it is here now. You just don’t know it. When you apply for that loan – who says a human is making any judgement on your form? When you submit a proposal for a project – who says its not a computer saying ‘NO’? AI will replace MILLIONS of jobs. Almost immediately. I was listening to an AI firm CEO relating how their AI was now being used by Walmart to negotiate – autonomously – contracts with vendors. And it was getting Walmart a 4.7% better pricing arrangements. And the AI could handle negotiating with 1200 vendors – SIMULTANEOUSLY. Poof – that sound you here is Walmart’s ENTIRE purchasing department getting laid off. Newspaper reporters? ChatGPT writes perfectly good stories. They don’t have to be true exactly – an added benefit – ChatGPT can create the entire National Enquirer magazine by itself LOL!
What will happen to all these humans? Who cares?
The Ugly –
THE POLITICS OF AI. This is really really nasty. AI will be used by both sides – to identify AND PERSUADE voters. Robocalls pretending to be (and sounding) like your family members are now being reported – as ways to collect money. ‘Mom I’m stuck in the Newark Airport someone stole my purse and I need you to wire me some cash’. Will be replaced by your friends telling you how GREAT that NEW CANDIDATE is. only its an AI not anyone you know! And AIs will be used to identify the persuadeables. Those you can pound on repeatedly to GET them out to vote. And heck, why not just let the AI vote for you? IT knows what you really mean to do in the ballot box (only partly joking). AI will craft messages to ‘convince’ the public on this or that point. That COVID originated in a wet market. Or a lab. Or that Trump won (or didn’t win) the 2020 election. Or 2022. Or 2024. Or 2016. The possibilities are endless! Past AND Future!
The problem is that many many people (way TOO many) will be persuaded by glib ‘articles’ and wont bother to check out the facts that are presented. And its a problem no matter which side of our political divide you are on. BOTH sides will use it! For example, someone recently asked ChatGPT for 10 prominent lawyers involved in sex allegations. It promptly responded with Jonathan Turley and a Washing Post news story (with date, time and authors). News to Jonathan Turley – who had never been accused of such. And the article presented as proof – didn’t exist. The reporters were real. They just had not written any such article!
BUT — (I know finally the point) how may people reading that reply would BOTHER to go look at the Washington Post article? I think very very few. They would assume the existence of the article – and the truth of the allegation. Replace this example with pretty much ANY SUBJECT you value and you will see the insidiousness of this. Any point of view can be challenged and if you don’t question authority (didn’t that USED to be a thing we were supposed to do?) you can be convinced that up is down, left is right. or whatever else. The damage potential of this is vast. And not only in electoral politics. how about office politics? you and a fellow at work are vying for the same promotion. Your boss gets an anonymous email with a picture of your competitor engaged in some unsavory activity. Wow – YOU get the promotion and your competitor will never even learn the reason for the denial! Midjourney can easily create the image you need. AI will also lead to some serious problems with our justice system. The next pedophile with naughty pictures of kids will say they were computer generated. No underage kids involved. How to prove or disprove? And if they in fact ARE AI generated – is that a crime? Hmm. enquiring minds etc. AI will impact so many areas of our lives in ways we cannot really begin to understand.
Buckle up folks – its going to be quite a ride!
BLAST FROM THE PAST! Do YOU have a good website?
Many years ago now (over 30), I was visiting a computer customer who owned a horse-and-tack shop outside Denver, Colorado. This was a wonderful place, with a great history. It was owned by the same family for 5 generations. Anything you can think of to do with horses. ‘You need a website’ I said as I was fixing a computer. ‘No, the internet does not work’ he said. ‘Why do you say that?’ I asked. ‘We paid a firm $25,000 to do a website and we’ve not had a single call!’ I looked at the site and it was horrible. All white, antiseptic. Reminded me of a hospital. The story of the business? not there. They had a large animal veterinarian (horse-doctor) on staff! Not on the website. I said ‘In my view this site actively REPELS customers – if they saw this site they are less like to visit – than if they never saw it! But I’ll make you a deal. I’ll do you a site for a tenth that price, and you pay ME when you tell me it works! ‘Done’ he says. ‘Now we need pictures of YOU’ I say (He was a 3-piece suit fellow) ‘NO I dont want to be on the site’. ‘Sorry – I say your family is the STORY of this place. You will be on the site! Got him out of the jacket, rolled up the sleeves and baling some hey around back. Got the wonderful family story. The passion they had for this business! Got the pics of his top people (many there for 15 years plus) – their stories. The love they had for the area – and horses.
Next time I visited – he immediately reached for his checkbook. ‘Craig’ he said. ‘I have people walking in here addressing my staff by their first names – and they have NEVER SET FOOT IN THE PLACE’. Now THAT was a good website 🙂 How good is YOUR site? I’ll happily look at it no charge!
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