Journey

NYT photo, 4/8/2020

Saturday, April 16, 2022

(April’s “Pink Moon” is Waning Gibbous @99.2%”; Next full moon, May 15.)

Although I saw it clearly, I didn’t photograph last night’s full moon, beautifully positioned in the eastern sky. I hoped to capture it early today but became sidetracked by an article in the NYT.

That article describes advances in artificial intelligence (AI), which is fantastic stuff. The advances challenge our brains; they raise questions about humanity’s future.

Open AI’s GPT-3 is a neural net system. It can create original prose and poetry and has mastered other complex linguistic challenges. The article includes examples of queries to AI and explains how it develops logical responses. Reading is mind-boggling. It forces us to focus on understanding how our brains work internally and how they thread through knowledge for the logic to communicate accurately.

We already accept much from AI. Examples are our ease with internet search engines, including our routine interactions with such as Alexa and Seri, and our appreciation of software’s abilities to complete sentences we’re typing. We have become accepting and now think little about utilizing common AI attributes.

Now, AI is being elevated to the level of creating original manuscripts. It’s raising frightening questions about the future of humanity’s social structures. Advanced AI can impact how we learn and think; it could put many out of work. For sure, used correctly, highly advanced AI offers learning and assistance, but used wrongly could become a destructive force.

Examples today are controversies surrounding Facebook and Twitter. A huge problem has been the capability of these AIs to spread disinformation to the extent of influencing national politics. They and other commonly used AI processes are capable of changing how we understand politics and affecting the public’s voting now and in the future.

It’s essential to have an awareness of significant advances in AI. This long NYT article requires close reading and careful thinking. It’s predictive, suggesting social changes for humanity’s good and evil. It’s an appealing and cautionary read.

As a writer comparing my thought processes to OpenAI’s GPT-3, how that system is trained helps me recognize that AI’s ability to process is similar to how my brain creates logical responses to questions.

I ask myself, if OpenAI’s processes were fully developed and available, would I use them? The answer is yes. Just as I have learned to use Wikipedia and google search. I also ask myself, what might happen regarding my brain’s abilities to investigate internally? The answer is some diminishment, at least, and much diminishment, at worst.

Learn, think, and answer from your perspective. Here’s a link to the fascinating article, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/15/magazine/ai-language.html

Dear Friends: Even dependable moon phases can’t always re-ground and reassure us. Diana

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