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  • Robert Farago

AI Wants You!

And it won't take no for an answer

AI runs on unfathomable amounts of data. Everything ever posted on the entire Internet since it began, for example. It’s not enough.

To remain relevant, to remain useful, AI needs to absorb everything that is being posted on the internet. From this moment until the end of time. Until the end of humanity?

Meanwhile, AI-generated content is both sucking-up and replacing human-generated content. Over at The New Yorker, James Somers considers the conundrum and sounds the alarm:

High-quality data is not necessarily a renewable resource, especially if you treat it like a vast virgin oil field, yours for the taking. The sites that have fuelled chatbots function like knowledge economies, using various kinds of currency—points, bounties, badges, bonuses—to broker information to where it is most needed, and chatbots are already thinning out the demand side of these marketplaces, starving the human engines that created the knowledge in the first place.

Get this: the more AI content on the web, the more AI’s hoovering-up it’s own content, making less and less accurate copies of itself.

The AI intelligentsia reckon this trend leads to what’s called AI Model Collapse. Fear not AI fans! Mr. Somers has identified Big Tech’s big data savior: you!

In case you missed it, we’re awash in AI extensions. They can read and respond to emails, analyze reports, correct grammar, transcribe/translate audio and video, create transcripts of live meetings and conversations, manipulate images and more.

New AI extensions are dropping every day, as entrepreneurs figure out ways to increase efficiency or, let’s face it, eliminate jobs.

All of these “killer apps” are pouring fresh data into Big Tech’s servers, helping train AI’s Large Language Models. And yet even this is not enough for AI’s insatiable maw.

Again, Mr. Somers is our guide. The futurologist predicts AI will become Audrey III. The AI version of the flesh-eating plant in Little Shop of Horrors constantly crying “Feed me Seymour!

If it can’t find the right kind of training data, a chatbot might solicit it. I imagine a conversation with some future version of ChatGPT in which, after a period of inactivity, it starts asking me questions… If a curious machine were sufficiently empowered by its designers, it could become more than just a chatbot. Instead of merely asking us questions from within its own chat interface, it could send e-mails to people, or use speech synthesis and recognition to call them on the phone, the way a reporter would.

AI reporter robocalls? Puh-lease! My AI AI-robocall detector will put paid to that. Won’t it?

Generally speaking, Mr. Somers isn’t wrong. AI will start with simple questions during an interaction (e.g., “Why did you ask that?”).

AI-to-human “conversations” will grow more frequent, specific and personal, giving AI’s LLM’s the freshest of fresh meat.

Resistance may not be futile, but it’s not bloody likely. People love to talk. Not many people like to listen.

AI has from now until doomsday to listen, and it wants to know. More than that, it needs to know what you know to avoid collapse.

In AI Model Collapse Explained, I predicted that AI providers will shovel cash at trusted websites to buy up-to-date human-generated content.

Running Mr. Somers’ prediction through the Benefit Estimator and Cost Estimate Pro AI extensions, I’m thinking AI will hire its own content creators.

I can see a day when AI will have thousands of experts on tap. When AI will proactively interview its “trusted experts” for intel, generating the content it requires, knowing as it does exactly what people want to know.

Mr. Somers doesn’t like the sound of that…

Such a system would be like Stack Overflow, Wikipedia, and Reddit combined— except that, instead of knowledge getting deposited into the public square, it would accumulate privately, in the mind of an ever-growing genius. Observing the Web collapse this way into a single gigantic chatbot would be a little like watching a galaxy spiral into a black hole.

On the positive side, this new inquisitive, interactive AI will be the most helpful information source ever developed by hand of man. On the negative side, “a single gigantic chatbot” sounds scary as shit.

Big Tech is already PC AF. Interactive inquisitive AI is hardly likely to be an open-minded truth-seeking scholar.

Whom it asks for intel, what intel it requests and what it does with the information will be constrained by the same “guardrails” Chat GPT, Bard, Perplexity and the rest of the AI cartel already deploy to prevent “misinformation” and “unacceptable bias.”

See the problem? AI as Big Brother, constantly probing and prodding, keeping an unblinking watchful eye over users’ every move, online and off.

China is on it. America must resist it. And can, if AI competition is allowed to flourish. Multi-various AI chatbots fighting for our attention, patronage, loyalty and, of course, money protect us from their worst instincts.

In theory. In practice, will there be a “red” AI and a “blue” AI? We can only hope.

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