Monday, 11 November 2019


Via Gizmodo, we discover that given enough vigorous backing and cheerleading technologists and futurists have had their ethical concerns assuaged and have reserved their stance (at least some have) on keeping OpenAI corralled and not available for public inspection, fearing that its unchecked capacity for generating plausible sounding disinformation would spell the end of human civilisation.
While I certainly don’t think we were unwise to practise restraint and our fears might not be too premature already, Talk to Transformer (try it live) is profoundly off-putting and it’s hard to gird oneself for an onslaught of generative and adverse narratives if one does not know what one is up against.
These first blocks of copy gleaned from scouring the internet in response to a given prompt (in bold text) were strange yet somehow resonant and current in a strangely pandering sort of way. First, upon hearing that New Zealand’s parliamentary transcription service rendered the wilting retort of a member to out-of-touch pushback as “OK Burma,” I wanted to see if the neural network understood accents—and it seemed to deliver. The artificial intelligence also seemed to understand the euphemistic political response to being made redundant, which Norman Fowler, Baron Fowler the Secretary of State for Employment first cited in January of 1990 as his reason to resign was to “spend more time with my [his] family,” noting that public service can come at private costs. A few further iterations got pretty dark but it was nonetheless fun to experiment with. Give it a turn and share the stories you get.