Monday Notes: AI

Recently, I used Lensa to generate some artificial intelligence (AI) photos. I’d seen a couple of celebrities do it and thought why not?

So, I uploaded 15 photos, and two hours later these appeared.

They’re beautiful, right? I was amazed. It was mystifying to see how the app captured my spirit. How these photos look is how I feel on the inside. I perceive myself as a powerful being who can do anything to which I set my mind, and these computer-generated images illustrated it.

That’s scary.

I was so amazed with these photos that I almost cancelled my photoshoot. Why do I need to pay someone hundreds of dollars if AI can create a perfect looking me? I wondered. Don’t worry. I didn’t cancel. But I did consider it.

“These are stunning,” a blogger friend commented after seeing this set in my IG stories. “Did you have someone commission them for you?”

This person, who I admire as an intelligent being thought an artist had drawn these, that I’d paid thousands of dollars to have someone draw these! That’s how perfect they appear.

That’s scary, and I think we need to be more aware of what AI can do and how it will change our lives.

For example, I read an article on The Atlantic about ChatGPT, a type of AI that not only writes essays, but also synthesizes information. That first part isn’t a big deal. That last part…is the beginning of the end for a lot of things, namely, English teachers and the types of assignments they create. The author interviewed Derek Thompson, another staff writer, about ChatGPT.  

Thompson explained how life changing this app is, and as a former English teacher, I agree with his points. In the past, it was obvious when a student plagiarized essays. There were tells, like using a larger vocabulary or writing phrases that didn’t sound like them; the tone was off. Well, ChatGPT mirrors the person’s writing style, which thus far has been challenging for other programs.

As an editor, this part is a bit scary, too. Will my business be threatened because scholars can upload their work to ChatGPT, which will write a flawless thesis that sounds just like them? Maybe not today, but eventually in the near future, I’m confident in the possibilities.

So, here’s my concern. We’ve gotten ourselves into a bit of pickle over the past century or so because we innovate, without considering the unintended consequences of technology. For example, computers make things a lot easier, but many Americans are more sedentary due to sitting for long periods of time. Social media is a tool used for connection, but depending on how you use it, you may feel less connected to friends and family.

As a member of Gen X, I’ve watched technology evolve, and I understand how an initial fascination with these types of things can leave us awe-struck. In the past, all we had were sci-fi novels to warn us about some futuristic made-up consequence. Now, though, we have wisdom and experience. We don’t have to wait for the next George Orwell or Octavia Butler to warn us about the ills of fake, dystopian societies. We can see what’s happening in real time. Because we can see what’s happening, we can change what’s happening. We can do something now, even if it’s as small as weighing the possibilities and considering ethics. AI creators don’t have to be in control; we can be in control.

Here’s one last story. One of my former colleagues used ChatGPT to create a course syllabus as a test, just to see what would happen. Guess what? It was perfect. She shared on social media how the app developed an ideal syllabus for a young adult literature class, with a course objective, appropriate readings, and assignments with a grading scale.

That’s nutz, and I think we should all be a bit worried about how our futures could look if we allow AI to take the wheel.


76 thoughts on “Monday Notes: AI

  1. I frequent a Reddit called Boringdystopia and it highlights some pretty interesting things when it comes to technology and AI. Did you hear that there’s a fully automated McDonald’s in Houston ? Like no people at all. It’s kind of spooky to be honest and a little worrying for the workforce . Like how much of our future will jobs be taken . Perhaps it’s a good idea to do some sort of Universal income style thing .
    On a more positive note , I do like how your pictures look similar to the Afrofuturism aesthetic . It’s the more hopeful counterpart to the cyberpunk aesthetic.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had not heard about a fully automated McD’s! We are, indeed, in trouble. That does sound odd. You mean robots are making the food, too?

      I think you’re right about the universal income idea. It’s already something our government is talking about, so I’m sure it’s on the way.

      Thank you about the photos! They do look like Afrofuturism 💜

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yup there are no human beings at that mcdonalds , and a few other companies are talking about becoming fully automated . Nothing is really safe (sorry sound like a nihilist) thats why I think we should push back a little . I’m worried it will further the class divide . In some ways technology is great , but we also have to keep capitalism in check .
        But on a lighter note , you could make your own tarot card deck with some AI art ! Could even make your own theme too !

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That’s absolutely insane, girl. Dwight and I looked it up, and we can hardly believe it’s a real thing.

        I saw the tarot card deck idea on IG! I guess one way or another, AI is going to reel all of us in lol

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Its so crazy , I also heard yesterday that a popular Sci-Fi magazing ( Clarksworld) had to close their sci-fi stories submission due to a high volume of AI written submissions . Like the irony lol .

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I haven’t used the lensa yet… I’m on the fence about it and this crazy chatGPT… I don’t know but I feel like it’s like the rest of these trends… I’m not getting with them. Bitcoin etc… I see all sides but at the same time…. All these people disappearing with all the money… lol idk I’m just watching and seeing how things continue to unfold for the time being. I like my autonomy. 🤌🏾

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lensa was really cool (as you can see ). I want to download Chat GPT just to see what it does, but at the same time, I’m afraid I’ll like it and become part of the problem 😭

      I hear you. It’s hard to distrust all of these things.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I think that if we approach AI like any other tool, we will automatically build in safeguards to protect ourselves from excessive harm. It’s the developers that want to automate warfare that we really need to be worried about. However, humans are industrious animals so even if we don’t have abacus operators or bean counters anymore because calculators made those jobs obsolete, humans will just find another thing to do. Making our jobs obsolete is the only way to truly grow as a species anyways. I’m sure the guy who built stone tools was totally upset when the new copper axe came out, but I guarantee he adjusted just fine. As will we. Thanks for sharing this thought provoking article! I love your viewpoint!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is a great point, Frank! I’m hoping what you’ve said is true. Historically, you’re right. When it seems like a piece of “technology” is going to take over, we find a way for it not to. Fingers crossed this is the case with AI.

      Thanks also for reading and commenting here!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Such an interesting post! Those photos (drawings?) of you are remarkable — and I say that as an avid amateur photographer. I see how they capture an essence and I’m a little flabbergasted that there’s an AI program doing it.

    We were just discussing ChatGPT with my sister-in-law. She’s a school psychologist and is watching the effect on the education system from within. There’s a lot of fallout there.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s hard to fathom. I’ll just say I’m grateful not to be trying to teach English these days — just the thought of teaching essay planning with a unit on exactly which internet resources are considered supplemental and which are cheating makes my brain tired.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi KE,
    It is both wonderful and concerning. Everyone is so quick to start using the new technologies without giving it a second thought to its future consequences. Perhaps even some of the creators do not realize the consequences, ethical, moral, and others.
    We often want quick and easy, and embrace the shortcuts of technology, but is it really good for us?
    No matter what, there will be a lot adapting that we will have to do, and I am not really that excited. I already struggle with Instagram and my blog alone, I can’t imagine having to embrace all else.
    Thank you for your wisdom! Blessings!


  6. I’m so glad to read this post! AI is truly a game-changer, and in ways we can’t even begin to imagine. But I don’t believe it’s mostly a good thing. Reading an actual person’s writing is a unique experience, because each person is unique. That will be lost when new books are written by AI instead of people. As for students writing papers, yeah, that’s going to be a huge problem. Why should they when they can just create one from the new technology? What, exactly are people going to do when AI begins to do everything for us?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s what I’m afraid of, Ann. We are way too lazy of a people to think about the consequences first. It seems we are always ready to leap to do what’s easiest and cheapest (myself included) than what is “right. ”

      A few people in the comments have shown how there are already books written by AI in collaboration with a person that are on the market. I think that is totally unethical.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. AI is a slippery slope. We have sadly progressed with technology further than we know how to handle it ethically. I’m not sure where to draw the line, but we as creatives have a lot to lose and I’m sure that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Pandora’s box.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Katherin, you ended your post with “if we allow AI to take the wheel.” Sadly, I think it will take the wheel quickly, before we can rein it in. The possibilities are endless. My son, who is a teacher, has already discovered how helpful it is for his lesson plans and writing to parents. He is in awe of the capabilities and keeps telling me about it.
    As far as art goes, your Lensa pics are stunning. To me – they are still Lensa. I hear there are already programs that can replicate any artist’s style. Wow! I love art that is unique – we’ll see where this goes, too!
    Thanks for such a compelling topic, Katherin!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Judy, thank you for the compliment on those AI photos. I was completely surprised when I received them. I am a little shocked that your son is using the app to create lesson plans and write letters to the parents. That’s insane. This is the type of thing that I’m talking about. I don’t even think we realize how we are edging our own selves out of industries by over using technology.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome, Katherin. Using my son as an example shares how easy this is going to spread and get out of control. He is a good writer, but not confident. And being overworked has contributed to him finding what he perceives as a fantastic tool and shortcut.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Let’s be frank, our demise is written in stone and we might get a second chance to climb back into the trees. Progress is inevitable, whatever the outcome. The same concerns had been voiced when Gutenberg’s printing press sped up the technological advances of the western world. Did anyone listen?

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Kathy this is a very interesting post, and brilliant experimentation with AI. Your voice adds to the current and hot debate; praise for or concerns about AI.

    I’m neither an AI enthusiast nor a non-fan. That is, I have mixed feelings. When it comes to writing, I view AI as a writing assistant and creative inspiration. But things are foggy and troubling in some areas.

    When a local author announced a few days ago that they’ve written and illustrated a poetry book in just 12 days using AI, I couldn’t help but feel irritated. Pure envy, I admit. Because it takes me at least 2 years to write and publish a poetry collection. The book is out now with a price tag and for readers to buy.

    To be fair, I bought their first book which was also in collaboration with GPT-3, and I liked it. It was refreshing and humorous. But I guess emotions will still be central to storytelling.

    Anyway, one thing for sure is that we will all use AI, whether we want to or not. Big tech companies are coming to play, and if one uses technology in some form, there’s no escape. What I believe we need is regulation. Policymakers should act, fast…my two cents.

    Btw, your images are super cool! That’s inspiration there to help me save some money on a photo shoot. Scary, right! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nooooo, Khaya! Go pay a photographer to do your photos. I didn’t mean to inspire you to use AI lol Anywho, after I published this, then I read an article that described how there’s an AI program that can create an audiobook for you. So, I suppose you’re right. We all will be using AI in some form because paying $30 for an audiobook to be read as opposed to $2400 seems like it may be a little bit worth it 😭😩😅

      Your country may be more likely to have regulations than we are in the States. I’m definitely not holding my breath for them to create regulations centered on how and when we should use AI.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. LOL! No worries. 😀 I’m one of those people who still stand in a queue to the cashier, despite the availability of self-service options. Call it my small contribution towards helping people keep their jobs. So, I’ll continue to use services of my photographer. 🙂

        Regarding audio, $30 against $2400 seems an irresistible offer. See where my mixed feelings come to play! As for regulations, time will tell… 😦

        Thank you for this thought-provoking post, now we shall ponder.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. You KNOW I feel you on this! (Also, I need to do a photoshoot bad bad, lol)

    I’ve heard people are already writing entire books using AI. That’s wild. It also reminds me of when Self-Publishing with POD first took off, and now you have people publishing books who don’t even read just because the technology says they can.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So, the photoshoot reminds me of what we were just talking about. At first, I was going to go with someone that I knew, which is something that I did before. The pictures didn’t turn out well, though. So, I ended up investing quite a bit of money in some quality photos by a professional who used to shoot in NYC
      for magazines and such. It was worth it. Sometimes you gotta treat yourself as an indie author.

      As far as AI publishing, there are a few people in the comments who have known people personally to do that. That. is. scary…and unethical lol

      Liked by 2 people

      1. ” Sometimes you gotta treat yourself as an indie author.” – I’m not an indie author (although I finally started working on a novel, so maybe someday!) but I gave myself permission to pay for a headshot shoot for LinkedIn – I’m neither photogenic nor sufficiently professionally-successful such that a better LinkedIn photo is *so* important to my life, but at the same time, why not? Anyway, I like this line, and I kinda want to steal it and make “sometimes you gotta treat yourself as an indie author” a thing we say in normal conversation.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Steal away, JYP! The photoshoot was my most favorite idea. In the past, I’ve kind skimped on the photographer and used a friend, etc., but this time, I was like if I want people to take me seriously, then I need to take me seriously. Anywho, these turned out to be some of the best photos I’ve ever taken.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Reblogged this on Elizabeth Tai and commented:
    With ChatGPT, Dall-e, the recent announcement of Google’s Bard, AI seems to be everywhere. While the tech-inclined are excited about changed, some of us are more … wary, depressed, even. And I notice those who are feeling this way are the artists, the writers, the people who create. We worry that AI will not only take our jobs but affect the mental development of generations to come.

    I’m depressed and down not just because of that, but because I’ve seen this all before and human beings are determined not to learn from mistakes of the past.

    Seen it all before. you ask? What do you even mean?

    Social media. Today, the ramifications of algorithm-influenced communications is apparent. Data harvesting, democracy collapsing, the increase of misinformation, and the rise of extreme views. And most of all … so many of us are finding our brains changed because of social media. Many of us have lost the ability to focus or even be bored!

    What will AI technology, deployed carelessly, do to society? Time will only tell, but let me assure you, society will feel its effects whether we like it or not.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. If social media affected our attention spans to such a point that we can’t even read long-form content like books … what will ChatGPT do to our cognitive abilities? Brainstorming, coming up with creative ideas … these are cognitive muscles that we need to exercise and develop if we are to be good creators. But with ChatGPT coming along, how will that impair those muscles?

    Honestly, I’m pretty annoyed with tech right now. Tech is being developed far too quickly without any considerations on how it’ll impact society.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I’ve been dismayed by the fact that AI can easily write things I pour my heart into. Where does that leave me? My writing group critiques each others’ work and it’s a fulfilling process. I don’t know what lies ahead, but I don’t think I’ll like it.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. I got really pissed off at a friend who said she wanted to write a children’s book and then had AI do it for her. I took it personally and told her not to share it with me.

    Why did I take it personally?

    Because I felt attacked, like my creativity was no longer important because AI can do it better than me. Why write a book from scratch when AI can do it for me, and do it better?

    Never have I felt more inadequate.

    So, what do we do?

    As a GenX like you, I was there at the beginning of the tech boom too. We know we can’t resist, but how can we adapt and make it fit without destroying our unique and individual creativity along the way?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Ummm did you say do you know someone who had a I write a children’s book for her? That’s insane. I see why you would be upset. Creativity seems to be the one thing that human beings still can hold onto, and AI is taking that away as well. I don’t have any answers. But I do think that we can be a lot more mindful of how we use AI so that it doesn’t become the sole thing that we use in life. It’s like we start off just using technology a little bit, and then all of a sudden it’s the only thing that we use, kinda like your friend and the book.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think she didn’t see it through. She wanted to test it and see how easy it is to feed a few ideas into the app and AI wrote the whole story for her.

        She sent it to me in text format and I deleted it. I was in shock.

        Meanwhile she’s not doing that at all (writing books), she just thought it might be an easy income stream potentially. And she understands why I was upset.

        But it’s food for thought, isn’t it. Kids in high school and post secondary are playing around with these apps writing essays etc…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Unfortunately someone on the Internet already created a children’s book with ChatGPT and Midjourney & sold it on Amazon. There was a huge uproar over it, and the guy didn’t seem to understand why writers and artists were so upset.

        Liked by 1 person

  16. Wow, a great piece. You’ve hit on a lot of my concerns with the technology. I’ve tried to keep a positive attitude. When I first started working, I worked as a newspaper reporter. I saw how that industry tried to fight the internet. They fought it tooth and nail until it killed their way of life. I’m trying to take a more positive view. I think ChatGPT could have some useful properties. A friend of mine was telling me how it will really help in the realtor business. But I still worry for high schools and some other areas. I like what you’re saying too about the tech leading or taking the wheel versus it being a compliment or supplement. Those are two very big important distinctions. Thanks for putting a focus on this issue.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for this comment, Brian. And thank you for your expertise in the field. I understand what you mean about the Internet and social media as opposed to traditional newspaper reporting from decades ago. And I guess that’s what I’m thinking… We need to be more creative so that AI doesn’t take over the whole industry/industries. I think that’s where we go wrong with technology.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know the new tech is good. I’m interested and concerned about where things are going. I’m hoping that it can’t replace “the feeling” and emotion of a real writer, but I’m not even sure that’s going to work. (The examples I’ve seen so far are pretty compelling.) I think in thx end, we need to do what you’ve suggested: pay close attention to how it’s being used and manage the tech, instead of the tech managing us.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for this comment E A. I think one thing is that we have to not rely on the technology so much. For example, I really did think about not getting any head shots done because I only paid eight dollars for 100 of these photos, which look “perfect.” But I had to stop myself and think about how that would impact the photographer, the photography industry, and myself. I think we don’t do enough of stopping and processing how things can impact society over all, instead we just roll with whatever the latest technology is and then complain about it later.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Right there with you! This stuff has power to make some things easier/better—like leveling reading passages for the students I work with. The larger implications are definitely scary! Is it worth the trade off-and where do we draw the line between what’s allowed and what isn’t? The ethics are insane.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura, I know you get it because you are there in the day-to-day with students. I don’t think we really ever think about the ethical part at all. It’s like we engage in the technology in all of the ways, and then later it’s like oops what have we done here? lol

      Liked by 1 person

    1. VJ, I think that’s part of the issue… it’s challenging for many of us to see the future of things like this until it’s too late. And the people who create technologies like this are just so excited that they “cracked the code” that they don’t share what they already know can be the consequences of something like this.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No I think your concerns are valid. Someone in the comments gave an example of how an author used AI to write a book and published it and made money. That is highly unethical in my opinion.

        Liked by 1 person

  18. Scary times for sure. As a society, we’re still not able to cope with the unintended consequences of social media, let alone AI. I was watching Bret Weinstein talk about this, and as powerful and wonderful as it is, it’s really frightening, too. What’s even more frightening is that chatGPT will release version 4 soon, and so on. Who knew that the Terminator films would end up as docu-dramas one day.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Tamara! That’s the scary part…AI is capable of doing something that creatives haven’t quite master themselves, or those who have know how long it takes to do something like this.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I agree! It would take me many many hours to complete those pictures! I still love them even though as an artist I can appreciate how this encroaches upon art-making from the soul!

        Liked by 2 people

  19. It’s like all tech….there are amazing things that we can do that enhance our lives. Then, there are things it can do to make us not matter at all. We have to be smart about how we apply tech to our lives and remember it should aide…not replace

    Liked by 4 people

      1. The problem is that people don’t open their eyes to all the consequences…they see the good, the easy and they want to know what else happens

        Liked by 2 people

  20. You’ve articulated very well the reasons we should be fearful or at least very wary of the world we’ve created, Kathy. I agree completely, scary stuff. But … those are totally awesome pics of you!!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Haha see that’s how technology gets us. They make everything all shiny and perfect hello well thanks for the compliment and also understanding that we are in deeper trouble than what we know 😉

      Liked by 2 people

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