I loved Nichols' book when I read it 42 months ago. With the onslaught of acclaim for our latest rendition of people-annihilating technology, AI or Chat GPT or Whatever, I thought I'd revisit and see WTFIGO (what the fuck is going on.)
"That is where lidar comes in. The technology works like radar except that laser beams rather than radio waves are used to locate and map objects....
“'You can map in minutes what we once mapped in years'” said Carlos Morales-Aguilar, a geography researcher at the University of Texas at Austin and co-author of the research.
The new lidar data revealed how much previous excavations and explorations had missed, Dr. Hansen said. 'We never would have found all the causeways and numerous massive platforms without it,' he said."
The above example, I think, is important. It changes things around a bit. Tech doesn't replace humans--and human expertise. Tech makes us better humans.
Way back when I was on IBM, the preferred term among people I knew was that AI should stand for Augmented Intelligence, not Artificial Intelligence. And certainly, the technology being used to uncover Mayan civilizations in Guatemala is deepening human perception. It's augmenting--making us greater than our corpuscles can, if left to their own devices.
Surely, however, thousands of marketers will replace shitty human-derived copy with faster, cheaper, never-needs-a-break computer-derived copy. Just as thousands of marketers replaced shitty human call-centers with faster, cheaper, never-needs-a-break computer-derived call centers.
Here's the thing.
Is any of this any good--human or machine-derived? Most copy I read, as an ex-boss of mine used to say, is flat as a plate of piss. It sticks to you like dogshit sticks to a lug-soled boot. I'd imagine that much of the copy that's foisted upon us does more to depress a brand's value than elevate it. Just because you can annoy me doesn't mean you should.
I feel the same way about phone centers and bots that are supposed to help customers.
Yet, they're cheap. Forget about whether or not they suck. They're cheap.
No question we have the power to bombard every human being on earth with a trillion messages a day. I wonder if we have the restraint not to. Will AI--in whatever form--improve our judgment. Or will it make crap more ubiquitous?
My questions about AI, whether it's augmented intelligence or artificial intelligence are these:
- Can AI surprise me?
- Can AI make me laugh?
- Can AI understand me and show me empathy--
cheer me when I'm sad, soothe me when I'm in need?
- Can AI put two things together that don't belong together
and therefore create an unexpected effect? A tear? A guffaw?
- Can AI comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable?
Can AI be thoughtful and kind? Respectful and considerate?
- Can AI be human or just replace humans?
- Can AI be nonsensical and weird?
I don't know why anyone anywhere thinks this latest innovation, really talented AI, will be any different to anything that's gone before.