The Bridge: The rise of AI shows no signs of slowing. The proliferation of Artificial Intelligence is peeking through in every aspect of life: online, in real life competitions, and even at the drive-thru.
Robots, Robots, Robots!
The winner of this year’s Colorado State Fair in the fine arts competition has sparked an incredibly salty debate. His piece, a breathtaking digital painting, was made with MidJourney – the AI art module that has taken the internet by storm. Instead of creating art using dozens of hours creating individual brush strokes or mouse clicks (as most digital artists do), the artist composed the piece using dozens of hours of fine-tuning his text prompt to “guide” the AI Art Bot to compose the masterpiece.
“But he didn’t actually do anything,” is the common complaint from the losers and non-participants alike.
By that logic, neither did Dostoevski or Stephen King or Edgar Allen Poe. 📝
It would be like telling a musician using a digital medium that they’re not really creating music, when that’s just not the case. The artist put in the work, the work was judged better than the rest, and the internet had a tantrum.
Beneath the complaints is an understandable fear – the fear of becoming obsolete, replaced by unfeeling machines.
May I take your order, please? 🍔🍟
On the other side of the country, in upstate New York, Panera Bread is replacing humans with unfeeling machines. The company is testing an AI Assistant (think Siri or Alexa) at the drive-thrus of 2 restaurants. If the rollout is successful, we can expect to see more of this kind of innovation.
While some might worry that the tech is taking our jobs, others might be sighing a breath of relief. There have been plenty of viral videos lately of customers freaking out on cashiers (and vice versa). Whether due to pandemic stress or just general frustration, interactions between customers and employees seem to be getting more tense.
Will the AI component deflect this stress or compound it? Time will tell.
God only knows what I’d be without you
Some users are deliberately blurring the line between what’s real and what’s not. Last week a young, prolific TikToker tricked his fanbase into believing he didn’t actually exist – that in fact, he was a sophisticated 3D mesh run by another user. It was a deft prank, and some people still aren’t sure what to believe. This echoes our sentiments the past few weeks that AI is consistently and exponentially making it difficult to believe what you see online.
We might be in for a bumpy ride as technology becomes more sophisticated, much quicker. A few weeks ago it was difficult to get an invitation to use MidJourney, but now anyone can be a digital artist capable of winning the state fair. Burger flipper might be a job of the past a decade from now. And the influencers in your kids’ feed might not be entirely human for long.