AI machines aren’t ‘hallucinating’. But their makers are

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AI machines aren’t ‘hallucinating’. But their makers are

Naomi Klein

Quote:Tech CEOs want us to believe that generative AI will benefit humanity. They are kidding themselves

Quote:Inside the many debates swirling around the rapid rollout of so-called artificial intelligence, there is a relatively obscure skirmish focused on the choice of the word “hallucinate”.

This is the term that architects and boosters of generative AI have settled on to characterize responses served up by chatbots that are wholly manufactured, or flat-out wrong. Like, for instance, when you ask a bot for a definition of something that doesn’t exist and it, rather convincingly, gives you one, complete with made-up footnotes. “No one in the field has yet solved the hallucination problems,” Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google and Alphabet, told an interviewer recently.

That’s true – but why call the errors “hallucinations” at all? Why not algorithmic junk? Or glitches? Well, hallucination refers to the mysterious capacity of the human brain to perceive phenomena that are not present, at least not in conventional, materialist terms. By appropriating a word commonly used in psychology, psychedelics and various forms of mysticism, AI’s boosters, while acknowledging the fallibility of their machines, are simultaneously feeding the sector’s most cherished mythology: that by building these large language models, and training them on everything that we humans have written, said and represented visually, they are in the process of birthing an animate intelligence on the cusp of sparking an evolutionary leap for our species. How else could bots like Bing and Bard be tripping out there in the ether?

Warped hallucinations are indeed afoot in the world of AI, however – but it’s not the bots that are having them; it’s the tech CEOs who unleashed them, along with a phalanx of their fans, who are in the grips of wild hallucinations, both individually and collectively. Here I am defining hallucination not in the mystical or psychedelic sense, mind-altered states that can indeed assist in accessing profound, previously unperceived truths. No. These folks are just tripping: seeing, or at least claiming to see, evidence that is not there at all, even conjuring entire worlds that will put their products to use for our universal elevation and education.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


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Provocative. I like that about Naomi's writing. I'm not sure I agree with everything in the piece, but it definitely raises possibilities and perspectives very worth taking seriously.
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He sounds like a bitter man refusing to accept the new realities we are heading towards.
(2023-05-09, 10:52 AM)sbu Wrote: He sounds like a bitter man refusing to accept the new realities we are heading towards.

How so? And what "new realities"?
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


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(2023-05-09, 07:51 PM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: How so? And what "new realities"?

https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-65102150
(2023-05-09, 08:38 PM)sbu Wrote: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-65102150

How does that go against Klein's assertion that AI will not benefit humanity?

Didn't you have a "spiritual crisis" about AI replacing you just a few weeks ago? Huh
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


(2023-05-09, 11:24 PM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: How does that go against Klein's assertion that AI will not benefit humanity?

Didn't you have a "spiritual crisis" about AI replacing you just a few weeks ago? Huh

This was not the message I took away from reading Klein’s post. Of course english is not my native lang so I probably “hallucinate” the intended meaning of a text from time to time

I definitely still have issues with AI. But I won’t fool myself by not recognizing that this tech will have a major impact on our society. Maybe it’s best just to ban it right away but that will probably not happen.
(2023-05-10, 09:20 AM)sbu Wrote: This was not the message I took away from reading Klein’s post. Of course english is not my native lang so I probably “hallucinate” the intended meaning of a text from time to time

I definitely still have issues with AI. But I won’t fool myself by not recognizing that this tech will have a major impact on our society. Maybe it’s best just to ban it right away but that will probably not happen.

She isn't saying there won't be a major impact, she's saying the impact will not beneficial no matter how Tech CEOs try to spin it that way.

That's what I got out of it anyway...
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


Members of the entrepreneurship group I'm part of have already integrated it into their workflow, using things like chatGPT to help them write marketing copy for example and putting courses together on how to use AI productively. I've seen posts by artists on how they use it to speed up their process, its already massively beneficial to those willing to dig into it. The general sentiment is that its little more than an advanced calculator, you put in some values and it gives you an output. However, you still need to know what done right looks like, so its not really doing all the work for you. They also use it to help generate starting ideas for projects or next steps to help get through mental blocks. To say its not beneficial is already wrong.
"The cure for bad information is more information."
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(2023-05-11, 04:16 AM)Mediochre Wrote: Members of the entrepreneurship group I'm part of have already integrated it into their workflow, using things like chatGPT to help them write marketing copy for example and putting courses together on how to use AI productively. I've seen posts by artists on how they use it to speed up their process, its already massively beneficial to those willing to dig into it. The general sentiment is that its little more than an advanced calculator, you put in some values and it gives you an output. However, you still need to know what done right looks like, so its not really doing all the work for you. They also use it to help generate starting ideas for projects or next steps to help get through mental blocks. To say its not beneficial is already wrong.

It’s definitely already starting. I have used chatGPT 4 every day in my work since March
some days increasing productivity with maybe up to 50% - now if everybody does this will there then still be work enough or will people be made redundant? I think the latter.
(This post was last modified: 2023-05-11, 06:23 AM by sbu. Edited 1 time in total.)
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