Drowning in AI Generated Garbage : the silent war we are fighting

by Ploum on 2022-12-05

All over the web, we are witnessing very spectacular results from statistic algorithms that have been in the work for the last forty years. We gave those algorithms an incredibly catchy name: "Artificial Intelligence". We now have very popular and direct applications for them: give the algorithm a simple text prompt (don’t get me started on the importance of text) and it generates a beautiful original picture or a very serious-sounding text. It could also generate sounds or videos (we call them "deep fakes"). After all, it generates only a stream of bits, a bunch of 1 and 0 open to interpretation.

All of this has been made possible because billions of humans were uploading and sharing texts and pictures on the commons we call "the Internet" (and more specifically the web, a common more endangered every day because of the greediness of monopolies). People upload their creation. Or creations from others. After all, does "owning" a text or a picture has any meaning anywhere except in the twisted minds of corrupted lawyers?

What we are witnessing is thus not "artificial creativity" but a simple "statistical mean of everything uploaded by humans on the internet which fits certain criteria". It looks nice. It looks fantastic.

While they are exciting because they are new, those creations are basically random statistical noise tailored to be liked. Facebook created algorithms to show us the content that will engage us the most. Algorithms are able to create out of nowhere this very engaging content. That’s exactly why you are finding the results fascinating. Those are pictures and text that have the maximal probability of fascinating us. They are designed that way.

But one thing is happening really fast.

Those "artificial" creations are also uploaded on the Internet. Those artificial artefacts are now part of the statistical data.

Do you see where it leads?

The algorithms are already feeding themselves on their own data. And, as any graduate student will tell you, training on your own results is usually a bad idea. You end sooner or later with pure overfitted inbred garbage. Eating your own shit is never healthy in the long run.

Twitter and Facebook are good examples of such algorithmic trash. The problem is that they managed to become too powerful and influential before we realised it was trash.

From now on, we have to treat anything we see on the Internet as potential AI garbage. The picture gallery from an artist? The very cool sounding answer on Stackoverflow? This article in the newspaper? This short viral video? This book on Amazon? They are all potential AI garbage.

Fascinating garbage but garbage nonetheless.

The robot invasion started 15 years ago, mostly unnoticed. We were expecting killing robots, we didn’t realise we were drowned in AI generated garbage. We will never fight laser wearing Terminators. Instead, we have to outsmart algorithms which are making us dumb enough to fight one against the other.

Time to enter into resistance, to fight back by being and acting like decent human beings. Disconnect. Go outside. Start human discussions. Refuse to take for granted "what was posted on the Internet". Meet. Touch. Smell. Build local businesses. Flee from monopolies. Refuse to quickly share and like things on your little brainwired screen. Stop calling a follower number "you community" and join small online human communities. Think.

How to recognise true human communities free of algorithmics interferences?

I don’t know. I don’t even know if there are any left. That’s frightening. But as long as we can pull the plug, we can resist. Disconnect!

As a writer and an engineer, I like to explore how technology impacts society. You can subscribe by email or by rss. I value privacy and never share your adress.

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