After years of bullshit, the new crop of AI is worth the hype. Text and image generations actually save time (ergo money) and effectively pass the Turing Test. Servers have finally become servants, capable of taking orders. These are 3 ways I have used AI to actually save time and improve my life:
1 | Batch Bullshit
My wife had to get estimated flight costs for 40 academics. Tedious repetitive work. I simply copy/pasted the list in and asked ChatGPT to find:
- Their university
- The city that’s in
- The nearest airport code
Then I had to manually search for flight costs, but Bing can almost do it. Irregardless, it saved me hours of work and made my wife look smart. It was helpful in my life and—if this was my job—would have saved a lot of money (ie, time).
2 | Obdurate Searches
I have a few search queries that just never get answered. One is how to find a GMT (dual-time) watch that accounts for half-hours (ie, the IST timezone I’m in). This is really hard to search for and you have to dig. I could only find two watches because few people have written about them. But the answer exists. ChatGPT gets it.
ChatGPT gave me a list of five that I was much happier with. More conventional watches from Rolex, Omega, Tudor, etc.
Am I going to get one of these $10,000 watches? Not right now, but I just enjoy thinking about it. Mechanical watches are something completely useless and completely detached from reality. Thinking about them is just an escape for me. And ChatGPT makes my thinking better and easier. I’m using it for mere daydreaming, but this AI is powerful.
3 | Daydreaming
This brings me to Midjourney, which I’ve been enjoying playing with. DALL-E is very fun 2. These AI art tools are just fun. My wife and I were thinking about local artist Senaka Senanayake and I asked the AI to ‘imagine’ a jungle scene based on his style. And it gets his style. The plants aren’t real and the eyes can be unnerving, but it looks cool. It’s fun. You should never underestimate the power of fun in new technologies (before they inevitably become nightmares).
I also use AI art for all my blog posts now. They’re a bit DeviantArt’ty, but I’m getting better at the queries and they save me opening Illustrator, which saves me headache and time. I also use AI for just fun, and to show my kids and wife. That’s the sign of a game-changing technology. It’s interesting, you want to share it with people. Like a virus.
To me, the next step of this AI visual shit is virtual social networks. Where someone that looks just like you can show off with whatever cars or yachts or dragons or clouds you want. Where you can show off your imagination, rather than your dreary life. This virtual incarnation of self will be the next social network and it will be huge (and then horrifying). Technology goes in cycles. From changing the world to becoming the world you need to change. It’s inexorable, our time on the wheel. Best you can do is hold on and enjoy the ride.
Do I think AI improves my life in general? No, not really. I’d be improved by lying in the grass for a while, or playing with my kids more. Technology is not the way out of suffering. It’s just a distraction. The great truths, the great meanings are contained in your breath alone. Everything else—all this AI, all these gadgets, all this energy—is just scratching an itch. Enlightenment is having a cool bath and not being itchy at all. But, like children, we don’t want to have a bath right now. We want to keep playing. And so we keep playing with toys until we die.
AI is, for now, a fun toy which inevitably—under the force of the higher AI called corporations—becomes evil, shit, and, worst of all, boring. This is how Google Search appears now, honestly, and of this they must be terrified. Now we’re going to have an AI arms race until your smart speaker eats your dog and fucks your wife. But now, in the brief fun moment of the tech lifecycle, it is a fun toy, it is free, and the hype is real. This shit is really going to change our lives.
For the better? Who cares? Carpe diem. Like a carp dying, we take the bait every time.