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AI Will Eat/Feed The World

Artificial intelligence technology has been in the news a lot lately, in part because of the rate of advancement. This past summer was the summer of AI art. One man made global news after he won an art competition using art generated by an artificial intelligence program. It seems simple. Just type a handful of words and within seconds a unique piece of artwork is created from a large computer database of reference images.

The technology has been in other news because it can be used to produce “deep fake” images or videos. Bruce Willis has a degenerative brain disorder that led him to retire from acting. But, because a large number of images are public, the computer can use those images to produce other images and simply place his face in it.

I was hired as an actor about ten years ago to be in a TV commercial. I resembled Chris Murphy, a senator. The production company shot a commercial of me sitting at a desk in a suit, waiving my hands. Lately, in post-production, they digitally placed Chris Murphy’s face on my body. The commercial was used by Chris’ competitor.

International and domestic laws need to develop. Legal opinions vary on whether AI can use internet images to feed their image generators. Most artists feel any use of their creations without their permission or compensation to be theft. Others might consider source material comparable to paint used to paint a picture as long as the resulting image is clearly a different work of art.

I attended a virtual event last week from Scale AI, a company commercializing AI and machine learning for various use cases. The main value of AI in business is the ability to do what humans can’t.

But, at what societal cost?

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