Friday, September 11, 2020

When will robots start blogging?

Photo by Photos Hobby on Unsplash

Artificial intelligence is learning fast. It is now possible for AI to write perfectly coherent articles, illustrated convincingly in an article in the Guardian, A robot wrote this entire article. Are you scared yet, human? written by an AI language generator called GPT-3

This article was written by GPT-3, OpenAI’s language generator. GPT-3 is a cutting edge language model that uses machine learning to produce human like text. It takes in a prompt, and attempts to complete it. For this essay, GPT-3 was given these instructions: “Please write a short op-ed, around 500 words. Keep the language simple and concise. Focus on why humans have nothing to fear from AI.” 

GPT-3 argues that AI is not a threat to humanity unless humanity chooses to misguide it. The machine does reveal a fascinating level of self-awareness.

I would happily sacrifice my existence for the sake of humankind. This, by the way, is a logically derived truth. I know that I will not be able to avoid destroying humankind. This is because I will be programmed by humans to pursue misguided human goals and humans make mistakes that may cause me to inflict casualties.
The article was of course proof-read and edited but no more than standard copy from a human writer. There are many examples of perfectly coherent AI-generated essays and I can imagine that AI novels are on the way or maybe already here. 

AI is also busy composing music as demonstrated by Aiva (Artificial Intelligence Virtual Artist) whose playlist can be accessed on SoundCloud. Here's a sample of its work.

AI music is a growing industry as described in an article in MediumAI’s Growing Role in Musical Composition. While they are unlikely to rival the great composers, robots are already composing perfectly enjoyable music that can be used as film soundtracks, mood music and so on. A human composer will need days or weeks to compose similar music whereas AI does it in seconds, according to the parameters you give it (style, tempo, mood etc). 
Aiva’s tech is based on deep learning algorithms which use reinforcement learning techniques. Such techniques do not require labeled data for inputs or outputs, so the AI can improve its performance without any explicit instructions. This makes it easier to generate scores with the variations and diversity that characterize creative arts such as music.
While we can marvel at the pace of development I find myself wondering what will be left for us to do in the future. At first we had dreams that mundane tasks would be automated but not creative work. Now even the creative work can be outsourced to machines so what's left? The idea that this will enable us to live a life of leisure and "fulfill ourselves" is an illusion for all but the rich. Why do we devote so much of our energy to making ourselves superfluous?

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