On Human Sentiments

One of the reasons I’m coming back to this little blog, is that I think there is a lot of power in putting ideas out into the world. As the internet grows, it’s easy for a creator to believe that their small drop in the ocean won’t amount to anything. But over the years, I’ve taken the stance that if a work has novel ideas, it will inherently have an effect on the people who engage with it. It doesn’t have to change minds or convince anyone; it doesn’t even have to be a good idea, though a quality idea tends to spread more easily. If it simply instills a thought that someone hadn’t considered before, I would consider that a positive contribution.

Most interactions with people’s content are silent and one-way; the impact that someone’s work has beyond their engagement numbers is all but a mystery. Reading comments and searching names can only show you a a slither of what someone has inspired, for better and for worse. And of course, those comments and impressions can have similarly huge effects on the creator who inspired them in the first place. Together, it makes for a feedback loop that I think really made the ‘magic’ of the internet work.

And so you may have guessed this is leading up to a spiel about AI’s effects on our virtual platforms again. Given how quickly our current models can spit out comments and content, and how less-savvy people are already falling for it, I worry sometimes that these bot-nets will have an incredible amount of sway over which ideas circulate the most. It isn’t the implanting of ideas that I’m worried about, so much as having the broad range of human ideas drowned out. When that happens, I can imagine that our media landscape may end up stagnating more than our blockbuster movies and ‘AAA’ videogames already have.

I should mention that I don’t mean political ideas (even if we’ll definitely see bot-fights over that later this year). To keep the blog on topic, I’m mostly thinking about creative and mechanical ideas being warped by machines that can only remix what’s already been done before. It’s one thing when AI produces mediocre content, but what if it were to become the main inspiration for human content too? I think that we might end up diminishing a part of human culture, or at least internet culture as I remember it. Would we try to combat this, or would we stick with the cozy familiarity of rehashed ideas? Would we take the radical approach, turn off our screens, and start venturing outdoors for inspiration again? For now, I simply feel like writing about the possibility. Maybe a stranger reading this post will feel inspired for a solution down the line. I can only hope more of us will give it some thought.






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