The Public Eye

printed 09/30/2022

This Artificial Intelligence business, or AI as it is known, is beginning to worry me, although I have begun to think any intelligence has to be a good thing, since we seem to be running out of the regular kind.

Still, it may be a matter of survival of the species when AI can do so many more things than we humans can.

There is, for instance, an honest-to-goodness AI application on the internet that can put together any kind of picture you want just by typing in a description. It’s a fact.

Let’s say you typed into the program, “Nancy Pelosi in a high school prom dress.”

Within a couple of minutes, just such a photo-like picture would pop up your computer screen. And no, I didn’t try that.

And then you could write, “Nancy Pelosi in a high school prom dress making out with Sen. Mitch McConnell.”

Within a couple of minutes, you’d get something pretty close. No, I didn’t try that either.

So, then, emboldened by your successes, you could write, “Mitch McConnell wearing nothing but a wrist corsage.” No. No. No.

The truth is, you can do so many things, good, bad and horrifying things with this application that some scientists have begun to worry that people will see and believe these creations even though Mitch McConnell doesn’t wear dresses (that we know of) and Nancy Pelosi hasn’t gone to the prom anytime recently.

But it gets worse, as is known by anyone following the recent chess match scandal between the world champ and a young player, who beat him by making perfect moves throughout the contest.

The first comments following this huge upset — make that the second comments since the first were, “You cheatin’ little so-and-so”— involved the rumor that the young victor was aided by AI.

Yes indeed. This unsubstantiated report, which appeared on dozens of websites, alleged that the young player was receiving coded messages during play via a small transmitter that he (or a very close friend) had inserted in his, um, well, you know. Let’s just say the approach to victory in this case started at the bottom.

I’m not kidding. You can look that up. But while I’m sure that something like that can be done and probably has been — “Jeez, Tommy, you killed that entrance exam” — I seriously doubt that happened in this instance.

For one thing, I can’t imagine that anyone would be able to concentrate with all these messages arriving. I mean, how in the world would you transmit the chess move, “Sanz' Shocking Endgame Sacrifice?”

The greater question, though, is whether the recipient of this message would sit still for it.

Although I see great things being made possible by AI, I tend to agree with its critics that the evidence so far suggests that too much dependence on AI will get us in the end.

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