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Updated: January 25, 2024 @ 12:55 pm
Since ancient times, humans have dreamed of having mechanical servants to do their work for them. Aristotle reasoned that robots would one day bring about “equality” for all. He was not far off.
We have harnessed the energy of the human intellect, so that we no longer need the physical form of a robot to complete our tasks. We have digital technology in the form of apps and software to work for us.
Just a few decades ago, many opportunities were unavailable to the public that technology has now made possible.
Book publishing was an exclusive business jealously guarded by publishers who had to approve your work before you could become an author; movies could only be made by big studios or the dedicated few independents; record companies held a monopoly on music; and even having a store was a highly expensive, bricks and mortar venture.
Yes, Aristotle was right: robots/technology have been bringing about increased equal opportunity for everyone in every field.
I recently saw a documentary on YouTube about the history of automata, which is a primitive robot powered by clockwork mechanisms that first appeared in 18th century Europe.
These automata were life-sized figures that looked almost human and could do things like play instruments, write and draw pictures.
Most of the figures have been lost in history, but a few survive. In the documentary I watched, there was a demonstration of schoolboy automata at his desk. He could move his arm and his eyes and write and draw pictures. Sounds magical, but it was all mechanical and pre-programmed.
The doll was operated by metal rods in its back that read the information for each action of the doll from the grooves in little round spinning disks. There was a disc to direct the eye movement and the hand movement, and there was even removable type setting in the back of the doll so you could change what it writes. I was impressed.
Now, fast forward a couple of centuries, here we are in 2024 and artificial intelligence has burst onto the world stage and entered the mainstream of public consciousness.
We laugh when we think about those who resisted steam power, weaving machines, electric lights, motor cars, airplane travel, movies, television, computers, cell phones, etc., not thinking that we might one day be in that very same crowd only with a different advancement in technology.
One of the first things people worry about is that the robots and artificial intelligence will be taking our jobs, and it is fair to worry about that. But many of the jobs that disappeared due to new technology in the past, we were not too sorry to see go.
The machines of the Industrial Revolution changed the way people lived and worked for the better and helped us reach the standard of living we enjoy today.
Yes, technology has taken away some jobs such as, scribe, town crier, elevator operator, streetlight lamp lighter, switchboard operator, alchemist, telegram messenger, etc. But it seems like when technology takes some jobs, it generally plants a million more better ones.
As a writer, I am interested in the idea of having an AI (Artificial Intelligence) writing assistant. Since I have a story idea database approaching 10,000 ideas, with more being added each week, I had despaired of ever getting all the stories that are in me onto the page, but now with the modern miracle of AI, I begin to think that it is entirely possible.
There is a lot of AI art out there. I did some experiments with creating my new company logo and background art. The quality of your results varies, depending on what platform you are using.
Photographs seem to have arrived already. I am amazed at how art can be generated to look like a photo. I am far from proficient at creating AI art or “photographs,” but I look forward to learning more.
Now, generating cinematic film from text prompts is more complex than generating art and photographs. It is possible, but presently, the process is complex and even the best demonstrations on YouTube leave much to be desired.
I’ve watched a number of YouTube videos going through the process of converting a still image to a few second video clip, generating a voice over and music, then stringing the clips together to make a brief movie trailer. The process is time consuming and can be expensive.
In the AI film technology timeline, I would say it is currently between the magic lantern and the kinetoscope, but I am sure that technology will hop, skip and jump over the decades very quickly.
The possibilities of Artificial Intelligence are vast. I know I have barely scratched the surface.
We are at the dawn of a new technology and preparing to explore a virtual frontier.
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