A Serious Discussion About AI

On my social media tonight, I’ve seen a few criticisms of AI, and certainly I think there are some very serious issues at hand.

On the other, as a writer who until relatively recently never dreamed of getting anything published because I’m both broke and lacking in artistic ability, I’ve found AI to be a godsend. It’s one thing to have an idea for a character in my head, it’s another to get a clear picture that can then get me focus (and if anyone has seen my Mutants & Masterminds character thread, you know that once I do focus on something, I focus).

While I am concerned about other artists, I do think there’s room for both AI and human art. Certainly, the advent of electric lighting didn’t kill the candle industry, the latter just had to make adjustments.

These are just my thoughts. I’d love to hear the opinions of others.


I admit it: I hid the AI thread because I find most of what it produces a bore. Then there’s the whole matter of automating the world so that we all still have to drag our butts to a crappy job every day, but now Managers have yet another threat to hang over the heads of real artists so they can underpay and further devalue them.

Deviant Art forcing everyone using their service to become unpaid AI trainers, then belatedly pretending to back off when many of us complained, all the while aggressively hawking their own AI machine and its output? That didn’t thrill me, either. :roll_eyes: I hope to end '24 not using them anymore. Slimy dickweeds.

Overall… Blecchh!!!


Yeah, uh, I’m on the no side myself, mainly because A. the whole business seems to be built off of ripping off a legion of artists without permission and B. because I would rather see the work of a good artist than a machine just sort of trying.


Yeah, and I’m fully aware that plenty of people would still tell me that using Photoshop means I’m not a real artist, either. But the fact remains that I’m not spinning a wheel/using a sentence while a machine does all the rest of the work and then claiming I just did a creator-ing. So, whatever. :stuck_out_tongue:

Derivative work (much like this show) =/= extractive, exploitative burps from a machine doing almost all the processing. :person_shrugging:

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AI is a tool no different than the computer or the camera. I do believe it is a technology that can be used for good.

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I do not understand why we are training automatons to make “art” and “poetry” and “music” while I still have to sort my own damn laundry.

That said, I’m now going to drop out of this thread because I do not have the equanimity to engage in a thoughtful discussion of the pros and cons, and I’m going to leave this topic to those who do. Debate away!


Good for who, is the question. lol

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I think this is a little bit dismissive of those who use AI as a springboard, as such. For my experience, I’ll write a prompt for a character, often rewrite it, get a picture, and then do MORE writing to flesh out the concept to match the picture I have.

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I was talking about visuals, not verbiage. I wrote a preamble thing for a group I volunteer in, and my co-writer ran it through AI afterwards to see if it would make the seams caused by two different people’s tones less obvious. I thought it was all right. He’d already done a bunch of unpaid work for us so I wasn’t going to argue about it.

But I also feel real unease about unaccountable institutions leaving AI to hand out medical advice and so on. Seems pretty obvious that the orgs fired up about this “revolution” are placing individual users at risk for the sake of forcing more people out of the workforce and grabbing up even more money for themselves. Creeeeeepy.

Oh, I absolutely agree about accountability. I’m using AI mostly for leisure and possibly the start of a side hustle. If AI is going to be used as a part of infrastructure, whether that be medical, transportation, or any other of a number of essential services, then there NEEDS to be regulation and oversight, full stop.


And also, don’t force it on users without their consent like DA/Wix did. That’s gross, and isn’t going to win over people already predisposed to distrust it.

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I’ve never used generative AI, but I assume it’s built with affirmative consent requirements for the people whose work/images it uses as a reference, and that those people are well-compensated for their contributions when the AI is monetized. Because otherwise it would just be exploitation.

I also muted the AI thread because I find the outputs to be truly uninspiring.

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As are many others here abouts, I’m an old guy, more grey hair than not.

I ‘member reading an article in Popular Mechanics (or maybe Popular Science) back in the 1980s (or maybe the 1990s, certainly not after Y2K, I’m fairly sure) about something called ‘The Hell Machine’ (or maybe ‘Helle’, the Great Google isn’t helping a bit).

Anyway, this magazine article was about a computer that could spit out a graphic file that, when printed on a really good printer (NOT dot matrix), was indistinguishable from a wet photograph.

All of a sudden, the saying “Photographs don’t lie” was relegated to the dustbins of history. People (for small values of ‘people’, like major corporations or some spy agencies of more advanced countries) could create photographic evidence of, well, anything, like a President wearing a tan suit!

Imagine the horror! Why, it was enough for a certain guy to buy a real registered copy of Adobe Photoshop in hopes to create convincing pictures that would make people laugh. Alas, it was not to be, because that stuff (comedy, that is) is really hard. But fake photographs have been with us for a while.

And the sky hasn’t fallen. The sun still shines. The gods are still in their heavens, all is right in the world.

The point is, yeah, AI can possibly fool some of the pudding brains out there, but so can a smooth talking con man, P. T. Barnum be praised!

The idiots will always outnumber thinkers, and some thinkers will try to manipulate the easily manipulated. It is the duty of the rest of us to call it out.

In the meantime, have fun with the technology. If it helps create something funny, it’s a good thing.

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Very good point. Like my candle analogy earlier, technology changes, and people change with them.

Or, to use another example, John Philip Sousa argued vehemently against the phonograph, fearing that it would kill live performances. Taylor Swift and Beyonce have had record breaking tours, so obviously that didn’t happen. Admittedly, there was a bit more to Sousa’s opposition than that, but the point stands.

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Photographs have ALWAYS been able to lie. In-camera effects are almost as old as photography itself.

Look up ‘Spirit photography’ for a pretty widespread practice from the 1860s.


Indeed. But they have always been easy to spot, and only fooled the pudding brains.

I propose ’Johnny Rocket’s Law #69 - “Every advance in technology will be able to create something that will fool a percentage of the population, and that percentage will remain unchanged.”. *

I leave the proof as an exercise for the reader.

*Prove me wrong! **

**Yes, I know that’s not how proof works, but work with me here!

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My two bits on AI:

I am a writer. I am not thrilled with the idea that my output was potentially used to train AI systems without permission, compensation, or even acknowledgement until the owners of such systems were caught. Then it was all “for the greater good” blah, blah, blah.

I can see situations where AI assistance in writing something, suggestions on rephrasing, suggestions of better/different verbiage, basically an editor, could be of value and useful. The user must create the work first. The AI involvement comes later.

But feeding an AI generator a prompt and it then spitting out a product is … not good. Some users may claim they are using that as a starting point to build something, but the sad fact is most users aren’t. We already have magazines getting caught creating fake staff and fake material from feeding prompts into AI generators.


“Pudding brains” including… uh… the creator of Sherlock Holmes.


Everyone is stupid about something.

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