AI hasn't taken over the world yet, but if you ask me: it will soon.
Like, in my lifetime.
I don't mean "taking over the world" as in humanoid robots revolting Will Smith in iRobot-style, computers locking us out of all our security systems, and military drones wreaking havoc on anybody brave enough to walk outdoors...
I mean "taking over the world" as in taking over our news and entertainment. In the near future, everything you watch, read, and listen to will be generated by AI. Your favorite shows, most the videos on social media... the news... the majority of podcasts... all of it generated by a computer.
... but generated so well, that you don't even know it's generated by computer.
I believe that in the near future, governments and content platforms might enstate rules that require anyone (or anything) posting content publicly to disclose if that content was generated by AI; just like how today they require you to disclose if there is paid advertising included in anything you post publicly. As a matter of fact, I hope platforms and governments do so. AI-generated content will soon become indistinguishable from content generated by bags of meat (read: humans).
Being a human will become your single most valuable asset. AI will make much better content than any human. It will also make much more content than any human. It will have the power to endlessly pump out hours of completely original, riveting movies, informational videos, documentaries, newscasts, etc. The content will be so good that you won't want to stop watching, and there will be so much of it that you won't have to.
AI will also have the power to create videos that manipulate the masses very effectively... but let's not get political...
You may have seen some funny videos about an AI system that generated e.g. a script for a romantic comedy or an episode of The Office. The system trains itself on real scripts from previously-produced romantic comedies or episodes of The Office, and then uses what it can learn from them to create a new script that sounds like the others. These videos are funny because generally, the AI gets a lot of details right, but it's usually off on some big-picture logic that is obviously nonsensical to humans.
Today, these kind of videos are funny, one-off experiments. They're like young children, just learning how to talk and how the world works. We smirk and laugh because "the wittle compooter don't understanding humans so good and make a funny". Tomorrow... these AI systems are going to full-grown adults... they will generate episodes of The Office that are funny — unironically. They will understand exactly what makes a character of The Office what they are, it will understand basic human logic, it will understand how the world works, it will take popular culture into account, and it will generate original, Oscar-worthy episodes at the touch of a button.
Bloomberg already generates X% of their articles via AI, they are just double-checked by humans. I've read these articles before I knew they were AI-generated, and I had no idea.
There are AI tools in existence today that will blow your mind. They certainly blow mine. There are public AI tools that you can access right now which are gold mines for the proverbial Nigerian scammers...
For example: you can generate a "random" image of a person's face. It looks just like the profile picture of a normal-seeming person, but that image is completely original. It doesn't exist anywhere on the web. The person you see in the image does not actually exist. Here's an example... this is an image I just generated today (April 30, 2022) on the website:
And a Google reverse image search yields no results of the image existing anywhere online:
Another example: there is an AI-based tool that can analyze a few sound bites of you speaking phrases, then allow you generate audio of you saying anything you want, just by writing it. Text-to-speech, but with your voice. And it doesn't sound like a modified version of Microsoft Sam, it sounds like you speaking in a natural conversation.
To be clear, I don't think this is necessarily the bad thing.
I mean, yes... these systems are ripe for abuse, and surely they will be abused. A ill-intentioned person can set up a fake profile of a celebrity, send you sound recordings that sound 100% legitimate, and scam you out of money, etc...
But I digress. These systems are powerful, they will only become more powerful with time, with great power comes great responsibility, there will be abuse, there will be scams... let's move on.
When it comes to TV shows, movies, and social media content... if everything will be generated by AI and it will be fantastic, then what hope do us lousy humans have for creating content and having anyone watch it? Will all the top YouTubers of today starve and become nothing but a page in our grandkids' history books?
Will children no longer be able to dream about becoming famous influencers when they grow up?
No. I can't guess whether human social media stars will gain a larger following or lose tons of followers in the coming wave of AI influencers and organizations, but I believe human-generated content will become its own category that will remain strong for as long as there is a distinction between humans and computers.
Being human is the one thing AI cannot take away from us right now. There is something special about watching reality shows, vlogs, etc.
I mean, I don't particularly enjoy watching the Kardashians live their lives, but I can't deny that millions of other people do.
Humans like human connections... even if you're watching a YouTube celebrity that you will almost certainly never meet in real life... you and that YouTuber are still real humans on this Earth with roughly the same feelings, emotions, bodily functions, everyday problems, etc. Watching a real human face real human problems will always feel more personal than watching an AI try to reproduce human life.
So, my dear friends (and especially content creators), I encourage you not to fear the future, but to embrace your humanity — perhaps it will be the only reason that people want to watch you in the future.
This is the most speculative post I have ever added, and that should say something because I've posted about the future of blockchain technology.
I take all the opinions I'm expressing here with a grain of salt, so I hope that you do too.
Cheers to being human — for now! 🍻