AI Art and My Depression

Lately I have been battling significant depression and fear related to the rapid development of machine learning technology (“artificial intelligence”), and how it is and will be deployed in society. There are ethical considerations that are being ignored, or not seriously considered, in my view. Presently, there are few protections in place for society.

Examples

OpenAI, an artificial intelligence company, has two technologies that demonstrate what I am talking about:

1. GP3. GP3 is a program that generates articles using a technology called “natural language processing.” The goal of GP3-like technologies is to mimic human writers. While the current generation of this technology has limitations, the long-term concern is what will happen if OpenAI continues this research without restriction. Find more information here.

2. Dall-E. Dall-E 2 is a program that generates realistic art and photos from text prompts. Its capabilities are stunning. The technology is not presently available to the public, but there are plans to release it for commercial purposes. Find more information here.

Concerns

1. Do we, as a society, want more and more machines invading our lives and replacing human-to-human interaction? Do we want to embrace machine-made art and writing? What does this mean for our humanity? Will we, the people, be given a chance to consider these questions or will we be steamrolled by the unconditional release of these technologies?

2 What is going to stop for-profit companies from prioritizing efficiency and progress over human dignity and value? What will take precedence – ethics or profit?

3. What will displaced workers do? Some suggest Universal Basic Income (UBI) is the answer. This is a program that would give every adult a basic living allowance with no strings attached. Questions remain on if this is fiscally possible.

4. A lack of purpose can lead to mental health issues. What does this mean for humanity as AI developments move beyond replacing manual labor and encroach on more intellectual fields?

5. Some suggest that writers and artists will work with AI tools rather than being replaced by these tools. The idea is that creatives can use AI tools for idea prompts or to enhance their output potential. I take a more cynical view – see my point about profit versus human dignity above.

6. Both examples above draw from vast libraries of preexisting writings, images, and scraped art from the Internet. As a photographer and writer myself who has posts online, I do not want my works contributing to something I fundamentally oppose. There should be a way for writers and artists to opt out of having their materials scraped off the Internet and used in these morally questionable AI experiments.

Conclusion

I am not advocating for an outright ban on these technologies. I do suggest that these advancements receive much more scrutiny and regulatory restraints. I would like to see the pace of research slowed so there is an opportunity to thoroughly investigate the impacts of these technologies on society – and if people want these technologies and the transformations they would bring in the first place.

Please feel free to share your thoughts, whether you agree or disagree. If you share my concerns, please consider signing my petition here: https://chng.it/Hrv4FfNB.

Personal Thoughts

Right now, I feel so powerless about these issues. My online reach is quite small, and I am deeply unsettled by all of this. For one, I enjoy art and writing and I would hate to see machines take over expressions of the human soul.

Secondly, as a Christian, I believe God created mankind in His image, including man’s qualities such as creativity. Creating machines in the image of humans, to replace human workers and creatives without such people having a say, seems morally reprehensible.

I am still grappling with all of this, and trying to come to some peace despite the uncertainties surrounding this technology and its future implications. All I can do is come back to the Word of God and leave the rest to Him.

Psalm 55:22 NLT

Give your burdens to the Lord,
    and he will take care of you.
    He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.

Psalm 75:3 NLT

When the earth quakes and its people live in turmoil,
    I am the one who keeps its foundations firm.

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