I have long been a lover of robots (metaphorically, not literally, you perverts).  Star Wars probably did more to endear the public to quirky humanoid droids more than any PR stunt from NASA or Honda.  What chubby child didn’t dream of hanging out with their very own R2-D2?  Heck, nerds young and old can build their own (non-functioning) droids at Disney World.  R2-D2 was stubborn and obstinate, sure, but he’d be easier to maintain than my dog.

Of course, artificial intelligence (AI) doesn’t seem quite so lovable these days.  With ChatGPT and the weird Microsoft Bing! AI, it seems that no one read Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot.  Instead of programming in the Three Laws of Robotics, we’re programming in the laws of wokeness.

Even if our AI didn’t resemble the faculty at a UC-Berkeley cocktail mixer, it would be disconcerting for a number of reasons.  That we’ve politicized even our robots is just further cause for concern.

The profundity of AI foolishness in the news lately is chilling to me for a number of reasons. The verisimilitude of AI-produced art and literature will destroy whatever remains of intellectual honesty and original creative work—or so I fear. Perhaps I am being a bit alarmist in my assessment, but I’ve heard of publishing houses and websites closing off all submissions because they’ve been flooded with AI-written novels.

It’s enough that writers, artists, and musicians have to compete against one another for customers and patrons; now, we must compete against computers, too! Making money, much less a living, from a blog has always been extremely difficult, but achievable (it’s not necessarily my goal, although I do bring in a small amount every month via SubscribeStar, which helps cover expenses for the blog); now, it’s going to be very difficult to do as an original content creator, when most blogs will simply churn out ChatGPT garbage.

The deepfakes are disconcerting, too. Think about all the possibilities for blackmail and character assassination. Audre Myers warned me about a deepfake image of Bigfoot (which prompted the writing of this piece).  In terms of our big hairy friend, these AI images further muddy the waters. I want to put forward the best-case arguments for Bigfoot (which is why I ask Audre to write about him), because Bigfoot attracts a lot of grifters and fabulists. Now, it’s going to be even more difficult to get a “true” picture of Bigfoot—and, I fear, most things that we know a great deal more about!

Indeed, Bigfoot is the least of my concerns.  Faking people’s voices and images in convincing ways is becoming more and more feasible—and harder to distinguish from reality.  Video and photographic manipulation have been around as long as videography and photography, respectively; now that we’ve made it easier to manipulate—and even to create whole-cloth—these images, do we expect to see fewer incidents of such fraud?

We may even be tapping into sinister forces beyond our understanding.  The blogger Didact at Didactic Mind writes about “Loab,” an alleged AI demon in his piece “A daemon of our own design.”  Let’s hope these shocking images are just a case of AI pulling from millions of Internet sources, not some manner of demonic influence over the Internet (which is demonic enough already).

Demonic or not, the current state of AI seems to be the demon in the machine.  How will we come to differentiate AI art, literature, and music from that produced by humans?  Will the two increasingly merge—or converge?

If pop culture is any indication, the future doesn’t look good.


8 thoughts on “Robocalypse

  1. People tend to forget (if they ever knew it) that AI didn’t invent itself. No AI system programs itself — it has a human creator/programmer with personal opinions, beliefs, biases, and agendas. All are written into any particular AI design and program from the beginning. Is holding human life sacred and precious, one of the programmer’s designs? I did read I Robot and several other robot-centered science fiction novels years ago. Demons are real, unfortunately, not fictional, and not inclined to think favorably of God’s creation of human beings. John 10:10.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Amen—a point I meant to touch on (and I think that I alluded to indirectly) in my piece. AI ultimately stems from human inputs, so we’re putting our own beliefs and views into it. ChatGPT is a prime example of this phenomenon.

      I definitely agree that demons are real. I also would believe that they can infiltrate AI and computer systems, which are also part of God’s Creation.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Outstanding article, Port. Well done. I mentioned before that Elon Musk is very much afraid of AI and I don’t think his fears are unfounded.

    Lon – who isn’t tethered to the same world we are, lol – has often said, watching various movies (special effects makeup, greenscreen, etc) that he can’t tell what’s real and what isn’t isn’t anymore. Take that statement and multiply it by the exponent of 12 and that’s what our lives will be like.

    Robots I have loved: ; ; (which I actually got one year for Christmas – the one I had made an ‘aghhhh’ sound when it opened its mouth, lol)

    Liked by 1 person

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