Friday, January 13, 2023

AI vs. Poetry.

Once again, the Ad Industry (more a pop-gun than an industry, but whatevs) and seemingly the rest of the world is lusting after the new in lieu of appreciating the better.

I'm talking about the subject of about 92.4-percent of everything I've seen in social media for the past month--not counting asinine platitudes about you being you in 2023.

I'm talking about Chat GPT-3 and the even more holy and magnificent and powerful Chat GPT-4. 

Reminder: There's nothing new under the sun. And the Wall Street Journal--The Daily Diary of Eating the Poor™--has just run this 500-word article:

Remember how 5G was going to change everything--and the $10B of commercials that assaulted you with visions of sugarplums in the 5G future?

Before I go on, let me repeat myself. Repeating myself is a privilege of age, and I deserve it.

We are lauding the new rather than appreciating what we have.

I'm talking about AI versus the human brain. Supercomputing versus the capabilities of your very own grey matter. That spongy stuff you've spent a lifetime ignoring and/or abusing that is orders of magnitude more capable than the most powerful computers ever built.

Yes, your brain.

Your sad, neglected, underutilized, underpaid, underfed brain.

A couple decades ago when I worked on IBM--the International House of Pancakes and Business Machines--their engineers announced Project Eliza. That was an effort to build a computer as powerful as a lizard's brain. Forget about a human brain. A lizard's brain. They're not there yet.

Your brain. 

You can climb up on a ten-meter diving platform, do three twists and two somersaults, splash into a pool, descend ten feet through the water, resurface and wave at the judges and smile. 

You know what your brain never does in all that time? It never says "buffering." Your eyes never lose focus. Your body is never in freefall. You keep your equipoise as you're plummeting at 16-feet-per-second-per-second. 

That's your fukcing brain at work.

You can take small dabs of ochre and cobalt and paint the Sistine Chapel. 

You can even remember 14 different passwords so you can log in and play Angry Birds. Your spouse can remember the socks you left in the living room in 1994--and company was coming over!

We marvel at the trillions of calculations per nanoseconds that AI can perform. We ignore the many trillions of calculations per nanoseconds our brains are performing. Even if they're wasting it on tripe like this.

Somehow a couplet written by a human brain comes to my all-too-human brain right now. From Robert Frost's great poem "The Mending Wall."

I'll see that and try to raise Frost one. For the purpose of ending this thing. What are we ignoring and keeping out while grasping for the unnecessary or over-hyping something deserving of under-hyping.

Before I sing a hymn to a machine I'd ask to know
What I was ignoring above my shoulders,

That ain't poetry. 

But it's good enough for me.


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