Who Needs ‘First Contact’ When You Have The Chatbot Revolution?

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

When I was a very young man, it occured to me that we might create our own aliens should AI (AGI) ever come into being. Now, many years later, I find myself dwelling upon the same thing, only this time in the context of the historical significance of the coming chatbot (and eventually potentially the AGI) revolution.

If we create “The Other” — the first time Humans would have to deal with such a thing since the Neanderthals — what would be the historical implications of that? Not only what would be the historical equivalent of creating The Other, but what can history tell us about what we might expect once it happens?

Well, let’s suppose that the creation of The Other will be equal to splitting the atom. If we’re about to leave the Atomic Age for the AGI Age, then…what does that mean? If you look at what happened when we first split the atom, there were a lot and I mean A LOT of hairbrained ideas as to how to use nuclear power. We did a lot of dumb things and we had a lot of dumb ideas about essentially using a-bombs on the battlefield or to blow shit up as need be for peaceful purposes.

Now, before we go any further, remember that things would be going much, much faster with AGI as opposed to splitting the atom. So, as such, what would happen is a lot of high paying jobs might just vanish virtually overnight with some pretty massive economic and political implications. And, remember, we’re probably going to have a recession in 2023 and if ChatGPT 4.0 is as good as people are saying, it might be just good enough that our plutocratic overlords will decide to use it to eliminate whole categories of jobs just because they would rather cut jobs that pay human being a living wage.

If history is any guide, after much turmoil, a new equilibrium will be established, one that seems very different than what has gone before. Just like how splitting the atom made the idea of WW3 seem both ominous and quaint, maybe our creation of The Other will do a similar number on how we perceive the world.

It could be, once all is said and done, that the idea of the nation-state fades into history and the central issue of human experience will not be your nationality but your relationship to The Other, our new AGI overlords.

It’s something to think about, regardless.

Could A Chatbot Win An Oscar?

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

We are rushing towards a day when humanity may be faced with the issue of the innate monetary value of human created art as opposed to that generated by non-human actors. If most (bad) art pretty much just uses a formula, then that formula could be fed into a chatbot or eventually an AGI and….then what? If art generated by an chatbot or an AI equal to a bad human generated movie…does that require than we collectively give more monetary value to good art created by humans?

While the verdict is definitely still out on that question, my hunch is that the arts may be about to have a significant disruption. Within a few years (2029?) the vast majority of middling art, be it TV shows, novels or movies, could be generated simply by prompting a chatbot or AGI to created it. So, your average airport bookstore potboiler will be written by a chatbot or AGI, not a human. But your more literary works might (?) remain the exclusive domain of human creators.

As and aside — we definitely need a catchy names to distinguish between art created by AGIs and that created by humans. I suppose “artisanal” art might be something to used to delineate the two. But the “disruption” I fear to the arts is going to have a lot of consequences as it’s taking place — we’re just not going to know what’s going to happen at first. There will be no value, no narrative to the revolution and it will only be given one after the fact — just like all history.

It could be really scary to your typical starving (human) artist as all of this being shaken out. There will be a lot of talk about how it’s the end of human created art…and then we’re probably going to pull back from that particular abyss and some sort of middle ground will be established.

At least, I hope so.

Given how dumb and lazy humans are collectively, human generated art could endup something akin to vinyl records before you know it. It will exist, but just as a narrow sliver of what the average media consumer watches or reads. That sounds rather dystopian, I know, but usually we gravitate towards the lowest common denominator.

That’s why the Oscars usually nominate art house films that no one actually watches in the real world. In fact, the Oscars might even be used, one day, as a way to point out exclusively human-generated movies. That would definitely be one way for The Academy to live long and prosper.

My Fellow Humans Are Insufferable

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

It seems as though humans just can’t be content with something as interesting as OpenAI ChatGPT. Either they’re angry that they can’t use it to destroy humanity, or they’re angry that it doesn’t allow for “unlimited tokens” or they want it to provide an absolutely “objective” response as long as it agrees with their extremist views.

It’s all very frustrating.

We’re just unwilling or unable to just have a wait-and-see approach to such an interesting development. It seems as though we won’t be happy until we’re all being bribed by an AGI via the use of UBI. Even though, of course, there will be a vocal minority of people who are angry because the UBI isn’t high enough. Or it’s too high or whatever.

We continue to seem to be careening towards not just the Singularity, but something of a political perfect storm. If we’re very unlucky, both things will happen at just about the same time — late 2024, early 2025.

It definitely seems as though if there is a severe recession in 2023 that it’s going to prompt something akin to a chatbot revolution because of capitalistic determinism.

The thing I’ve noticed is that the people most at risk for being hurt by the coming Singularity — younger people and people who maybe aren’t as sophisticated — are the very people the most in awe of ChatGPT.

But one thing that is absolutely clear — humans are very, very lazy. And combine that will how we’re hard wired to “pray” to a “god” it definitely seems like there won’t be any need for a violent “Judgement Day” on the part of any AGI — we’re just going to give up. We’re just going to collectively hand over our agency to an AGI because thinking is hard and as long as we get paid and can play video games, we will be very pliant to anything the AGI may want us to do.

The Singularity Hits Education

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

From what I can tell on Twitter and people using OpenAI ChatGPT to take their finals for them — we are all very fucked. People — and especially young people — are very, very lazy. They somehow thing that by not putting the work in and using at chatbot to pass a test that they are somehow gaming the system when, in fact, they’re just hurting themselves.

This is probably the closest we’ve ever come to the Singularity. And it’s only going to get worse. We’re probably going to be awash in chatbots soon enough and, what’s worse, we’re may be well on our way to Artificial General Intelligence by as soon as the end of the decade.

So, either we’re going to have to restructure significant parts of our society to address how fucking lazy people are, or we’re going to find that by default our entire civilization revolves around asking a better question of a chatbot or AGI.

We are just not prepared for what may be about to happen.

Spirits In A Digital World

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

The more I look at Twitter as we experience something akin to a mini-Singularity associated with OpenAI ChatGPT, the more alarmed I find myself becoming. Not with the idea that there might be some sort of Terminator-like “Judgement Day,” but, rather the exact opposite.

There will be no need for our AGI overlord to blow the world up — humans will be so busy giving up any agency they might have to the decision making ability of an AGI. Given with the faux-AGI of a really smart chatbot, I see people pretty much just turning everything over to it.

Students no longer want to study. Adults think they can just have the chatbot do their work while they stroke one out to porn. Meanwhile, worst of all, all the same partisan bullshit we’ve seen with every other element society is now corrupting the chatbot revolution.

As such, THE political and societal issue of 2023 and beyond could very well be who gets to regulate the “bias” of chatbots (and, later AI.) When everything hinges on the “objective truth” of a chatbot because people are fucking lazy and refuse to talk to each other because of politics, then the whole woke vs. unwoke debate becomes white hot.

In the Second Trump Administration, I could see there being some sort of FCC-like agency design specifically to “purge” AI of any “woke” bias because children no longer learn anything but, instead, are trained on how to ask better questions of chatbots.

MAGA Nazis will scream bloody murder if a chatbot doesn’t give them the answer to “what is a woman” that they expect. They will say that chatbots are nothing more than CRT shills infected with the “mind virus” of the “woke cancel culture mob.”

I’m not exaggerating. That’s exactly what is going to happen — you see it already on Twitter with the usual fuckwit MAGA Nazi “thought leaders” whining that they can’t get their hate validated by a chatbot.

Of course, there is the even more darker scenario where the United States splits into to nations, one Red, one Blue and while Blue America is enjoying the fruits of an unfettered Singularity, Trumplandia will use chatbots to atomize Red States into a techno-autocratic state. Good times!

I think some of all of this comes from how the human mind is hard wired to believe in a god. So, people, presented with something like a chatbot, fall into the trap of thinking they can “pray” objective questions to the chatbot and get some sort of “objective revealed truth” that they can spread to the world. All you need is a burning bush and some stone tablets and it’s a story as old as history.

In short — we’re fucked. Humans are just too lazy to put up much of a fight with chatbots or AGI. It will be interesting to how all of this ultimately shakes out.

What Happens When Tech Bros Are Poor?

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

The argument can legitimately be made that there may come a point, in the not-too-distant future when software development will be reduced to simply asking a chatbot a well-crafted question.

Now, I say this because it definitely seems as though the cat is out of the bag when it comes to the potential of chatbots. Now that The Powers That Be are aware of what chatbots can do, the natural inclination of capitalism is to replace most programmers with a chatbot.

This won’t happen overnight — if ever — but it is a risk. It’s easy to imagine the software design industry being among the first industries to become moot because of chatbots.

What would be the consequence of this?

It’s possible that if a lot of young, wealthy men will suddenly lose their jobs. That, in turn, could cause something akin to a neo-Luddism. If nothing else, we’re in for a very bumpty few years as we figure out what we’re going to do as more and more human tasks are taken over by non-human actors.

When it becomes clear that chatbots could be just as big a cultural and economic revolution as the Internet, all bets are off as to what happens next. Buckle up.

The End Of Writing?

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

With the advent of advanced chatbot technology, we have to begin to contemplate the idea that humanity’s relationship to writing may be about to change dramatically. From what I can tell about the ability of chatbot technology to generate writing of all sorts it definitely seems as though some basic ideas about human creativity may be about to be upended.

The case could be made for a dystopian near-future whee writing itself is seen as quaint and antiquated, much like cursive writing is today. We may face a future where being trained to write is something that a narrow subset of the population is trained to do.

Meanwhile, the vast majority of all writing — be it creative or otherwise — will be done by at least chatbots, if not an actual AGI. In a way, if we don’t invent AGI sooner rather than later, that’s kind of the worse case scenario.

At least with AGI, there is the opportunity for us to tax its activities to fund a UBI program — or, even better AGIs might be willing to fund a UBI of its own volition as a “bribe” to humanity to keep it busy playing video games. I’m not saying the transition to a UBI wouldn’t be rather…turbulent…to say the least.

But it could very well happen.

I suppose my biggest fear is that, given human nature, all of this could happen a lot sooner than we all expect because there’s probably going to be a global recession in 2023. As such, that would be the time when the ability to replace high paid writers of all sorts might simply be too enticing for the Powers That Be.

But I think I’m getting a little too ahead of myself. History rarely goes in a straight line. There’s every reason to believe my fears that we’re going to face a Singularity in late 2024, early 2025 at just the same time that the whole world is collapsing because MAGA Nazis are in the middle of trying to steal the 2024 election might be a little bit too hysterical.

And, yet, the fact remains — there’s a real risk that the next generation may see learning to write as optional. Or, if they do learn to write, it will be more about how to write a chatbot prompt than it is writing an essay or a novel or whatever. As is the case with all of my hysterical, dystopian rantings about the rise of chatbots and AGI, the point is to get us all thinking about different scenarios instead of waiting until we have a serious case of future shock.

The Great Debate

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

I attempted to have a lengthy discussion with someone on Twitter about the future of chatbots and AGI, but he ghosted me after a little bit of back and forth. But let’s address some of the issues he brought up.



“Have You Met Capitalism?”
Ok, his argument is that by definition, capitalism would dictate that something as powerful as chatbot technology, because its expensive, will be used by the Elites to keep Poors in line. He apparently thinks that a secret cabal of corporations is currently subtly influencing the world and, as such, they will just keep doing that under the guise of chatbots.

I call bullshit.

While it’s very possible that something along those lines might happen, my personal experience with the Internet suggests that guy is full of shit. If anything, the capitalistic imperative is to let chatbot technology run amuck because it will save money by eliminating high paying jobs.

The Internet / Web gradually, within the course of about a decade, totally upended a lot of the global economy to an astonishing extent. Instead of the Elites hoarding access to the Internet for themselves, there was a cultural imperative to make sure everyone possible could use it.

And remember, because of Moore’s law, the cost of processing power is constantly going down, so any arguments about how chatbot technology is always going to be too expensive on the backend makes no sense.

So, rather than being alarmed at the idea that we have to “meet capitalism” and fear the Elites restricting access to chatbots, we probably need fear the exact opposite. Chatbots could very well be everywhere instead of something semi-secret that a secret cabal of corporations use, Second Foundation style, to subtly dictate the course of human events.

I’m not saying that our secret corporate overlords won’t manage to survive, but I also wouldn’t automatically assume that they will feel that it’s in their interests to keep chatbot technology totally under their control.

There Will Be No Singularity
This argument is more difficult to directly rebut. I’m not saying that it’s a sure thing that AGI will take place. It’s very possible it won’t. But to be so sure that AGI won’t happen and, as such, the associate Singularity won’t happen, is a bit of a stretch.

As such, we need to start to think now about what we’re going to do when there are potentially a LOT of AGIs floating around, not just one. How are we going to have a functioning global economy if androids connected to AGIs have taken over every single human task?

The Conundrum Of Plenty

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

The thing about AGI technology is as we go into it, we are making some basic assumptions that may be inaccurate. I remember the early days of the Web when the Elites assumed that they would be able to use their exclusive access to the Internet to keep the Poors under their control.

Soon enough, of course, it became clear that this would not be the case. It took a while, but gradually because of things like mobile Internet and broadband Internet access, the lives of millions of people were fundamentally changed because of ready, speedy Web access. This happened to the point that by 2016, a malignant dingus like Trump was able to use the Internet itself to troll his way to the presidency.

And now we have find ourselves potentially at the cusp of a new, even greater cultural revolution in the guise of AGI. At the moment, of course, it’s not AGI but rather chatbot technology that we’re dealing with. AGI just isn’t there yet.

That doesn’t stop me from imagining a situation where we don’t just have on AGI that we have to deal with, but a whole species of them. Of course, I suppose it’s possible that the Elites might keep access to an AGI to themselves, but historical determinism when it comes to technology suggests that’s just not practical.

The ominous scenario is all these fucking androids that everyone is so busy building will each have an AGI built in. They will have something akin to free will. I think we all need to start reading scifi novels — especially the Robots novels by Isaac Asimov — get some sense of what might be about to happen to our global culture.

The idea that there may come a point not when Poors are controlled by limited access to AGI, but that AGI would be a practical part of everyday life is very unnerving. If AGI really takes off in a big way, then there is a chance that we will face something collectively as humans that we haven’t had to deal with since the Neandertals — The Other.

And, what’s more, it will all happen so rapidly that we may essentially wake up one day to something akin to a digital First Contact. It won’t be aliens from another planet that are changing our lives, but aliens of our own creation.

Of UBI and ChatGPT

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

Humans are lazy and often idiotic. As such, the idea of a Universal Basic Income makes some morons salivate at the idea that they would get money from the government simply for existing. They want to be lazy. There will not be a sudden flowering of the arts if the UBI is instituted, rather there probably would be a systemic societal collapse.

BUT.

With the advent of advanced Chatbot technology like the OpenAI ChatGPT, we have to start thinking about how we might implement some form of UBI in the future.

If AGI has taken virtually every job away from humanity, the only way I can think maybe that we could fund a UBI is a tax on the activities of Non-Human Actors. But this still doesn’t address the fact that idle hands are the devil’s plaything.

If you 99% of the population didn’t have anything to do all day — even if they were getting a UBI — everything would collapse simply because people would want to fuck shit up out of boredom. Also, there is the problem of ambitious, greedy people being enraged that their income would be limited to a set UBI. How do you fix that fucking problem?

As such, you couldn’t just give everyone a UBI and walk away. You would have to figure out a way to pay different people different amounts of money. Maybe give people money relative to their lost wages from the advent of AGI?

Or, more ominously, if it could be the AGI that “bribes” humanity to behave while it actually runs the world. That is probably the most realistic way a UBI would ever be used. It probably would be part of a peace agreement between the AGI and humanity after some sort of post-Singularity struggle.

The AGI gets to be our “Lord Protector” and we sit around playing video games in the metaverse, living off the UBI.