As AI begins to mimic humans more and more accurately, we will begin to rely on it for doing ever more important tasks. Think “AI assistant”, Siri and Alexa are only the beginning, when will they be smart enough that they can anticipate what we will say, or how we will react in any given situation, from observing our interactions and communications with others. Imagine an ai assistant who can be empowered to “like” social media posts, or even comment on them in an estimation of your voice. What about an “autochat” function on your messaging app so that it can communicate with friends or business relationships on your behalf when you’re busy? What happens when you forget to turn it off? Will we succumb to apathy because our ai nannies handle everything from emails to business decisions on our behalf, without need of our direct involvement, but with our permission? What happens when the ai makes a decision based on more information than you would normally have been privy to? What if its decisions affect your immediate future negatively in favor of some estimated long term benefit?
The advent and evolution of ai art generation is unfolding before our eyes. There are many artists who, rightfully so, object to their hard learned and refined styles being used as part of an algorithm to generate new images not created by any human hand. Is it the death of human art? Will these artists die out for lack of work? Drastic, I know it sounds, but consider this advancement in a more historical context. The invention of automated farm machinery displaced the jobs of manual laborers, automated factory machinery; the jobs of line workers. Consider the feelings of musicians when synthetic music became accessible and even popular; any kid with a keyboard can reproduce the style of a violin that a virtuoso spent decades learning. I know that I’m being dramatic, and that there are elements of art that can ‘never’ be imitated by synthetics or AI’s, but those points of view are popular only among the minority, aren’t they? Do not the vast majority of music enjoyers not care whether there is a musician playing on stage or a DJ remixing other’s work? There are already instances of AI creating music.
Music and image art are not the only potential targets of AI either. Financial news articles are already being “generated” by vast amounts of data from multiple firms, displacing the jobs of journalists, subject matter aside. When will automated news become more normalized and bleed into human interest articles, what about literature? Science fiction authors may be wary, but not surprised at such events. These things have been foretold for decades in their genre, even mimicked by authors. It’s only a matter of time before the ‘fiction’ is dropped. There is an ever moving line in science fiction, where books written in the past become more fact than fiction. What will we do, when there are shelves in bookstores packed with books by no human author?
There will be a future, whether we want it or not, where music, novels, art, even architecture is created by ai. Will we be ready?