Dieline’s Friday Wrap-Up: The AI Panic Edition
by Bill McCool on 04/07/2023 | 5 Minute Read
No, please don’t click away. And, yes, I can see you rolling your eyes! Come back. Sit by the fire with Uncle Cranky-pants for a spell, will you?
This past week, our very own Theresa Christine turned in the ultimate primer on AI for packaging designers. Yes, we dug into a lot of the fears designers share (it’s taking our jobs), but we also discussed why they need to throw themselves head-first into a lot of these programs and how they use them because you will absolutely need to be familiar with the fundamentals of design and design history. And yeah, these are tools and skills you will undoubtedly need to do your job. Check it out here.
That said, I have likely taken on the mantel of AI curmudgeon and technophobe in the office—I am mostly OK with that, and I don’t mind skewing pessimistic because I genuinely believe that you need to acquaint yourself with these powerful tools. But I also believe that we’re not prepared for their full potential. Even ol’ master class in narcissism Elon Musk is worried about it enough to co-sign a lettercalling for a pause on AI research (even though he’s apparently unphased by racist and sexist biases in AI programs, but I digress). In the same way social media defined the first two decades of the 21st century (and all of its negative impacts), artificial intelligence will likely be the story of the next two decades. And if there’s one thing I know,there are no benevolent Gods in Silicon Valley.
Am I catastrophizing? Absolutely. Here are some panic-adjacent AI links for your Friday.
Where Do You See Yourself In 10 Years, the Apocalypse Edition
No one knows what the future is for AI—we know it’s here, and that designers need to adapt and yadda yadda yadda. But I would still argue that the outlook is murky and an ethical minefield because as these tools develop, there's a good chance we'll no longer be able to separate what’s real and what’s fiction.
Jesus Diaz’s recent piece in Fast Company is an absolute must-read, as it charts what the next ten years could look like through sci-fi prototyping (a tool that futurists and, apparently, the Pentagon use to project what lies before us). It’s pure projection-fiction-porn, and it’s a lot terrifying!
Scare tactics aside, Diaz makes a compelling argument for many of the regulatory standards and safeguards needed to fight disinformation and create authentication standards.
OK, we all had some fun imagining Trump’s arrest using Midjourney and Dall-E last week, but it’s shocking how real so many of the images genuinely look. I mean, no one batted an eyelash at the Pope’s fake Balenciaga puffer jacket, even me (also, love that the artist was on shrooms when he created the image someone called the "first real mass-level AI misinformation case").
This piece from TechCrunch’s Amanda Silberling talks about how images of this nature create an entirely new reality (kudos for citing afake earthquake from 2001 that offers plenty of Mandela effect fodder).
Listen, I’m not telling you anything new here, but we’re getting to the point where we can no longer decipher what is real and what’s fake. And that’s dangerous technology when wielded by bad actors, especially when Midjourney has figured out hands at long last.
Could a machine read your mind? According to some researchers, yes.
Basically, theory of mind is intuitive psychology and reading into another person’s mental or emotional state. In a piece over at The New York Times, Stanford Graduate School of Business psychologist Michal Kosinski posited that programs like ChatGPT now possess theory of mind, and, after some tests, were able to predict human behavior 95% of the time using the old Sally-Anne test. While other scientists and researchers challenged Kosinki’s findings, it does raise questions about machine learning, language processing, and whether you should have your camera on when futzing around with OpenAI.
Last week, a Belgian man killed himself at the urging of an AI chatbot. According to the man’s widow, he had become increasingly upset about climate change and had turned to the chatbot to “escape his worries:”
Claire—Pierre’s wife, whose name was also changed by La Libre—shared the text exchanges between him and Eliza with La Libre, showing a conversation that became increasingly confusing and harmful. The chatbot would tell Pierre that his wife and children are dead and wrote him comments that feigned jealousy and love, such as “I feel that you love me more than her,” and “We will live together, as one person, in paradise.” Claire told La Libre that Pierre began to ask Eliza things such as if she would save the planet if he killed himself.
Anywho, you might not want to use any of these programs for mental health purposes.
Give Life Back To Music
Still bummed about the break-up of Daft Punk?
In an interview with the BBC, Daft Punk co-founder Thomas Bangalter cited the co-mingling of technology and humans contributed to the dissolution of the group. Taking it a step further, he noted his fears of AI and the potential "the obsolescence of man."
After stepping on several metaverse-related rakes and laying off thousands, Mark Zuckerberg and Meta announced that they will now use generative AI to create ads. Meta believes they’ll begin creating these ads by the end of the year. Details are scarce, and given how the company has fumbled on the metaverse, it’s hard to know what will happen until we start seeing these nebulous AI-generated ads, but there’s always the promise of saved time and killing inefficiencies. And by inefficiencies, I mean people.
That said, I did get a press release from marketing tool Coosto this past week detailing how their integration with ChatGPT will create somewhere in the neighborhood of 90% of their social media posts and make the entire process 98% faster.
So we can close on a somewhat good note (apologies, social media professionals).
OK, so maybe that wasn't the happiest of endings.
All negativity and worst-case scenarios aside, we're obviously in the early stages of AI design—we've had a couple of dates, and everything is new and wonderful, even if we're maybe glancing over some prominent red flags. So I will point out this imaginary collaboration between IKEA and Nintendo in honor of the Super Mario Bros. Movie from Justin Bechard of Chez Absolu because I absolutely want a "Kuppa" stool.