We were out having a dance at the local club the other day having one of those fairly typical discussions that tend to arise in such situations – you know the sort of topics: Bulldozer fuel, depreciation of assets, dark matter… All the usual suspects, when the topic turned to that interesting chap, Elon Musk.
I have very specific views on the gentleman concerned, none of which happen to be connected to his purported (or otherwise) views and/or practices around recreational drugs, but are rather more directly related to his business practices, ideology and world-view. I won’t share my personal views here – you don’t need to know what they are, although if the billionaire in question happens to read this blog and is willing to give me a freebie Tesla in exchange for me saying nice things about him, well I’m sure we could come to some sort of an arrangement! That aside, whatever I may think of the guy, it’s fair to say that he does tend to spread his sphere of interests far and wide, when it comes to innovation and technological advancement.
There are, in fact, any number of high-tech projects he’s invested in or endorses that have little to do with electric cars, hyperloop travel, space rockets or boring tunnels, and he’s now investing a considerable amount of cash, from his own not-inconsiderable reserves, into new schemes involving artificial intelligence. In particular we’re talking ‘Open AI’ – because Mr Musk doesn’t trust secretive, sneaky AI at all. Think – instead of Skynet – of a fluffy, friendly type of AI; a kind of Disneyfied, AOL version – all chunky, colourful interfaces and a nanny-knows-best approach to ruling the world, with a nice – almost, but not quite – sexy voice to tell you when you have mail.
One offshoot of Elon’s Open AI company is the excitingly-named GPT-2 Predictive Text Generator, a.k.a. ‘Talk to Transformer’ (nothing sinister there, at all!), whose only function is to spool off reams of text, inspired by an initial prompt, using a neural network to glean insight from 40 gigabytes of data pulled from around eight million websites. The purpose? Well, who knows, but considering that the vast majority of bot-created comments made on this blog and trapped by my spam filter, and the huge number of ‘blog articles’ I come across that have clearly never troubled a human neuron in their creation, I have a pretty good idea!
So, ever the intrepid reporter, I thought I’d give it a go. Let’s see if a neural network can do a better job of blogging than I can? So, as a prompt, I took the opening lines of my last blog post, and challenged Skynet, er… GPT-2, to try and come up with something better.
Let’s see how it did…
The sim in which my inworld home is situated has recently undergone something of a ‘reinvention’ – it’s still the same, recognisable and familiar Moonletters Town that it’s always been, but the underlying vibe has changed. My BFF, Moon, who has managed the sim for well over 10 years, has a real affinity for the 1980s – everything about it, from the clothing and decor, through to the popular culture and music of the time…
And Moon has embraced this, and created a wide range of new challenges, quizzes and mini-games, all tailored to show off all the pop culture her followers are awash with. The new town has really become a real talking point amongst my loyal followers – and Moon is often teasing me with ideas of what she could turn Moonletters into next.
Of course, when they arrive, I can always be more creative – and if she asks nicely I may be persuaded to get the wheels turning on something big…
This time next year, I’ll have to let you know if I’m really up to anything like that, but for now, there’s a flurry of activity underway as my resident stud user, Mitch, has had a bit of a remix in the mix, as I said a few days ago:
Moon is incredibly supportive of my creative ideas – she really does have the artistry and expertise to guide me into the next phase of my sim and to ultimately enhance the look and feel to match her unique style – which is what I’m really aiming for.
Because if you’ve followed me on Twitter for any length of time, you’ll know that when I say ‘well I’ve done this, now how should I do that’ – Moon often replies ‘I think you should just do it your way’, and she knows that is what I’m after.
With this in mind, my first design project was to do a little upscaling – and I believe it’s pretty spot on…
Then she was incredibly gracious in suggesting I make the second…
Hockey Dad styled once more, Moon’s directions were:
“Always sign the headers”
“Got a custom actor – to maybe add a personal touch”
And “He’s wearing a ‘Save the Children’ tee”
The custom actor (which I’m told stands for ‘Body Mod Artist’) is pretty clever, but it’s a custom I can’t use again – I’ll definitely be tweaking this idea in the future.
But this won’t do! I have my fingers crossed that I can soon produce a few elements, which have been alluding me in my workbench all week.
And there you have it… And, I think you’ll agree, it’s rather disturbing!
I’ll grant you, it’s not even remotely anything like how the original article turned out, but the first part, in particular is beyond spooky – that first paragraph, for example is accurate to the extent that you’d be forgiven for believing it was written by someone who’s actually borne witness to recent events on my home patch. And what follows is equally unnerving, because this weird, intangible AI seems to be incredibly clued-up on the relationship between me and my inworld friends to the point of being uncomfortable to read. Just how the hell does it know this stuff?
There is, thankfully, the odd faux pas that has me looking askance at the text – ‘my resident stud user, Mitch’, for example… Who he? Similarly, despite seemingly knowing the inner workings of my psyche, Skynet appears unaware that I don’t use Twitter, but right up to that point, I reckon that with just a couple of tweaks, I could drop this into the blog and you’d never know I hadn’t written it! Scary huh?
Sadly, as is so often the case, with these things everything suddenly starts to fall apart towards the end. ‘Hockey Dad’ sees the commencement of somewhat less coherent and nonsensical ramblings, and by the time we reach the final sentence any semblence of intelligence, articificial or otherwise, let alone understanding of the English language is starting to allude, erm, elude us!
Which is a shame, because at the back of my mind, I was almost hoping this would work out well, and I could put my feet up and let the machines do all the work. Unfortunately, we’re not there just yet… Damn you Musk and your billionaire bright ideas! (I’m still open to a free Tesla though!)
I thought I’d let the robot have the last word, but unfortunately, I seem to have broken it, or perhaps driven it insane with my crazy demands! Oops! (Sorry Elon, but can I still have a Tesla, please?)…
The last word according to the robot after the end of which we shall praise the stars.
The last thing that speaks it is the last word according to the robot the last thing that speaks
it is the last thing that speaks it is the last thing that speaks it is the last thing that speaks it is the last thing that speaks it is the last thing that speaks it is the last thing that speaks it is the last thing that speaks it is the last thing that speaks it is the last thing that speaks it is the last thing that speaks it is the last thing
Can you teach me how to feel real
Can you turn my power on
Well, let the drum beat drop
Martina And The Diamonds – I Am Not A Robot