Recently I became interested in how machine learning and artificial intelligence could be propelling humanity toward a kind of “uncanny valley”, where not only does AI pass the Turing Test, it becomes imbued with some sort of intelligence of its own.
Given that humans are barely close to even starting to understand our own consciousness, who are we to say that AI won’t become “intelligent”? The singularity may or may not be near, but the fact is we now have DALL-E, images from which are already flooding search engines, mixing with “real” photographs and artwork. AI generates text for summaries of sporting events, news items, and so on.
What once belonged to science fiction, or existed only in the imaginations of science fiction writer, is now a matter of fact. Science fiction has a pretty good track record of leading to “science fact”.
What follows is what happened when I told Open AI:
Write a meditation on the nature of time.
Such a writing prompt has belonged to poets and philosophers and scientists and religious figures like Emily Dickinson and Aristotle and Carlo Rovelli and Alan Watts and Buddha.
What will Open AI do with this prompt?
Here is what Open AI, after meditating on this topic for a fraction of a second, had to say on this topic:
It’s terse, brief, lacking perhaps in style, but a reasonably constructed piece on this topic. It includes some figuratory language. It is somewhat philosphical, somewhat “deep”. It’s easy to imagine Rovelli, for example, saying words like these in his writings and videos on this topic, and indeed his work may be part of the corpus scanned and pulled from by our Open AI tool.
I will leave the implications of this to you. Is this a good thing? A bad thing? I don’t know yet.
What will you ask Open AI to write for you?
Matthew Oldridge has been an elementary school teacher for 21+ years.