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Artificial Intelligence, most commonly referred to as AI, has been one of the hottest topics of conversation in the past year. From the introduction of ChatGPT to the discourse regarding the ethics of user generated content, the gates to the world of AI have been opened for all, but just how much damage will that cause?
Although AI has been receiving a lot of attention in the past year, it has actually been around for many decades; in fact, its earliest showing was at a 1956 conference in Dartmouth College. However, it would not be until the late 70s that AI would be a public sighting through arcade games.
Popular arcade games, such as “Space Invaders” or “PacMan” that we think of as utilizing basic technology, were actually utilizing AI even back then, to create patterns for the player to work through. This level of AI would be nothing compared to the sophistication that NPCs (Non-Playable Characters) utilize today in the world of video games.
Even in hospitals, many of the machines that doctors utilize include AI in their coding in order to quicken the diagnosis process for human doctors.
As one can see, we have been using AI for many years, so why is it such a big deal now?
In comparison to the ways AI was used before, it has now become much more accessible for the general public to use. Before, one had to be a video game developer or a software engineer to have access to AI, or even to have the knowledge to operate it. Now, all that is needed is an internet connection.
Online, anybody can have access to generative websites such as ChatGPT. Websites like ChatGPT allow users to input some keywords, and depending on the function of the site, the AI will spit out a perfectly written paper, or an artistic image, or even have a conversation with you like it is another human.
On one hand, one can see easy access to AI as a positive thing. For example, say you have written an essay for a class and you want to make sure there are no grammatical errors, and that the words flow naturally. Some AI websites can do this task for you. It will not write an original work for you, but it will make sure that your work looks its best.
However, there are instances in which such easy access to AI can be harmful. Recently, sexually explicit images of Taylor Swift were created using AI and spread all over social media. This has caused an outrage as people are pointing out that horrible imagery of anybody can be created through AI.
This idea that someone can create a realistic looking fake image of you is especially harrowing when thinking about how easily someone can make fake indecent images about someone as a form of revenge.
Some AI images are so realistic looking that it could be hard for someone to distinguish that an AI image of themselves is false. Similarly, AI is also being used to mimic people’s voices. I have heard countless “AI Covers” on TikTok where someone will take a song and make it seem like another artist is singing it.
In fact, “AI Covers” have become such an issue for artists that Universal Music Group has decided to remove the music from all of their artists from TikTok due to the number of false songs created using their artists’ voices.
While this choice might have appeared to be the safest option for artists, many independent artists signed under Universal Music Group’s smaller labels have come out on TikTok and expressed their frustration with the decision since many artists gain traction through TikTok.
This concern ties into one of the other fears surrounding the fast growth of AI—the fear of job replacement.
Many people worry that AI will become sophisticated enough to replace people’s jobs—even the jobs of creative artists.
For many years, people have feared that robots or computers will replace jobs that involve packaging products, scanning coding for errors, or other technical jobs in that fashion. However, never has there been so much fear that jobs in the arts could be replaced by AI.
While I do believe that there are many reasons to be concerned that this could happen in the future; I think that for right now, AI is still no match for artists.
I personally have tested out ChatGPT’s writing ability, and have found that everything it writes sounds robotic, and ironically, AI-generated. For the most part, artistic images created on AI websites also all seem to have the same type of blurring and filters that makes it obvious it was AI generated.
Although AI has been around for so many years, it is only now that it has become a virtual tool as common as Google; and it may take a few years to see how AI will continue to affect society going forward.
Would it be safer to restrict AI usage from free online access, or would that be considered censorship? Will AI continue to serve as a tool to aid artists, or will it become the destroyer of creativity? Only time will tell what our future holds.
Name: Giuliana Islas
Major: Media and Strategic Communications
Fun Fact: My favorite band is Fleetwood Mac
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