What Are We Actually Doing With A.I. Today? citationneeded.news

Molly White:

I, like many others who have experimented with or adopted these products, have found that these tools actually can be pretty useful for some tasks. Though AI companies are prone to making overblown promises that the tools will shortly be able to replace your content writing team or generate feature-length films or develop a video game from scratch, the reality is far more mundane: they are handy in the same way that it might occasionally be useful to delegate some tasks to an inexperienced and sometimes sloppy intern.

Mike Masnick, Techdirt:

However, I have been using some AI tools over the last few months and have found them to be quite useful, namely, in helping me write better. I think the best use of AI is in making people better at their jobs. So I thought I would describe one way in which I’ve been using AI. And, no, it’s not to write articles.

It’s basically to help me brainstorm, critique my articles, and make suggestions on how to improve them.

Julia Angwin, in a New York Times opinion piece:

I don’t think we’re in cryptocurrency territory, where the hype turned out to be a cover story for a number of illegal schemes that landed a few big names in prison. But it’s also pretty clear that we’re a long way from Mr. Altman’s promise that A.I. will become “the most powerful technology humanity has yet invented.”

The marketing of A.I. reminds me less of the cryptocurrency and Web3 boom, and more of 5G. Carriers and phone makers promised world-changing capabilities thanks to wireless speeds faster than a lot of residential broadband connections. Nothing like that has yet materialized.

Since reading those articles from White and Masnick, I have also experimented with LLM critiques of my own writing. In one case, I found it raised an issue that sharpened my argument. In another, it tried to suggest changes that made me sound like I spend a lot of time on LinkedIn — gross! I have trouble writing good headlines and the ones it suggests are consistently garbage in the Short Pun: Long Explanation format, even when I explicitly say otherwise. I have no idea what ChatGPT is doing when it interprets an article and I am not sure I like that mystery, but I am also amazed it can do anything at all, and pretty well at that.

There are costs and enormous risks to the A.I. boom — unearned hype being one of them — but there is also a there there. I am enormously skeptical of every announcement in this field. I am also enormously impressed with what I can do today. It worries and surprises me in similar measure. What an interesting time this is.

Update: On Bluesky, “Nafnlaus” pushes back on the specific claim made by Angwin that OpenAI exaggerated ChatGPT’s ability to pass a bar exam.