The Guardian: “Artificial intelligence in its current form is based on the wholesale appropriation of existing culture, and the notion that it is actually intelligent could be actively dangerous..
The entirety of this kind of publicly available AI, whether it works with images or words, as well as the many data-driven applications like it, is based on this wholesale appropriation of existing culture, the scope of which we can barely comprehend. Public or private, legal or otherwise, most of the text and images scraped up by these systems exist in the nebulous domain of “fair use” (permitted in the US, but questionable if not outright illegal in the EU). Like most of what goes on inside advanced neural networks, it’s really impossible to understand how they work from the outside, rare encounters such as Lapine’s aside. But we can be certain of this: far from being the magical, novel creations of brilliant machines, the outputs of this kind of AI is entirely dependent on the uncredited and unremunerated work of generations of human artists.
AI image and text generation is pure primitive accumulation: expropriation of labour from the many for the enrichment and advancement of a few Silicon Valley technology companies and their billionaire owners. These companies made their money by inserting themselves into every aspect of everyday life, including the most personal and creative areas of our lives: our secret passions, our private conversations, our likenesses and our dreams. They enclosed our imaginations in much the same manner as landlords and robber barons enclosed once-common lands. They promised that in doing so they would open up new realms of human experience, give us access to all human knowledge, and create new kinds of human connection. Instead, they are selling us back our dreams repackaged as the products of machines, with the only promise being that they’ll make even more money advertising on the back of them…”
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