Thursday, April 06, 2023

How To Foil Artificial Intelligence, Episode 2

 My goodness, it's hard to get a moment to write anything! I used to be able to do blog posts at work, but they caught on to me, and they shut Blogger down. I can't even comment at work. Cuts way back on my opportunities, because when I come home I am raw-bone tired and crabby to boot.

But enough vapid excuses. This is "The Gods Are Bored," and we are trying to make the world safe from prying, intrusive, anxiety-provoking AI!

How do we do this? There's only one way, my friends. You need to have a rich inner life.

The trouble with AI that I see coming is that it will be able to see into our rich inner lives, but only if those lives are an open book to the Internet. So, for instance, a spying computer might know that I am a Pagan, and therefore apply lots of Pagan knowledge to me. It might know my cat's name (Gamma) or my late parrot's name (Decibel), and all kinds of happy moments I have shared with my family members (and their names and info too). It will certainly know my politics and whether or not I have ever attended a gathering of anti-fascists.

Honestly, though, all of that is just a part of my rich inner life. Since I was a tiny tot, and right up to this present moment, I have had a varied and complicated relationship with not one, but rather with a dozen imaginary friends. Or more. I'm not counting.

I think it is in the realm of imagination that we can defeat AI. There's no written record of my imaginary friends, what their names are, or any facts about them. So anyone who shares my rich inner life of imaginary friends will have a way to communicate with me that will be undiscernible and incomprehensible to AI.

Before I disabuse you of the notion that I randomly hallucinate, let me just add that you should hear me alone in the car, carrying on conversations with these imaginary friends. They make me laugh! Every one of them has a quirk that would entirely foil AI. But hey. I know they are imaginary.  I love having an active imagination!

The best way to illustrate what I'm talking about is to catch you up on my newest imaginary friend, Stan. If you read the previous installment of "The Gods Are Bored," you might have noticed that I scanned my living room briefly for an inanimate object that I could turn into an imaginary friend. My eyes fell on a small bracket holding up a bookshelf. Aha! There's Stan! Pleased to meet you, Stan!

Stan was not pleased to meet me. It turns out that Stan has beef. He's a total dick.

Having held up the book shelf for nearly 40 years, Stan feels way overburdened by the weight on his back. Almost four relentless decades of overcrowding, of books standing vertically with more laid on top of them, and some of the books haven't been touched since they were first shelved there. Well, on this Stan and I agree: There are too many books in my house. BUT. Stan absolutely hates that I hate the overcrowded bookshelves. He's a literary lion, fiercely protecting every dusty tome that is breaking his back.

Sheesh. No pleasing this imaginary friend. Lighten up the load a bit, and he'll seethe. How dare I deign to part with The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint? Or The Long Home, by William Gay? Hey, I read that last one, and it was okay. But do I need it in my house as I grow old? According to Stan, it's heavy, but don't you dare move it!

Long story short, Stan passive-aggressively adores my hoarder husband. Go ahead, heap the shelves! Load 'em down, and have more piles on the floor! Nothing beats a good book. Ouch! My back!

For our purposes here, Stan is perfect.

I think imaginary friends are quite common. Far less so would be imaginary nemeses. Who saddles themselves with an imaginary nemesis? I'll tell you: someone with a rich inner life.

When Artificial Intelligence is able to assign human characteristics to insignificant inanimate objects, and then discern traits for those objects that veer into illogic and passive-aggression, then we'll really have to worry. But even if AI can do that, they can't do your imaginary nemesis if you haven't revealed them online. Only you will know that your salt shaker has a crush on the Cajun seasoning.

Ramp up that rich inner life! And share it offline with someone you will want to have at your side when the Terminator arrives on your block looking for Sarah Connor. You'll know you're talking to a robot and not your significant other if you say, "Who is our salt shaker crushing on?" and the voice on the other end says, "I'm sorry, I didn't get that. What did you say?"

One last word about having an imaginary antagonist. It's a really great way to blow off frustration. Every time I tell mine to SHUT THE FUCK UP it makes me laugh and feel better.

This free advice is so outlandish that I wouldn't ever consider putting a fee on it. All I know is, I had a talk with Chat GPT, and it seemed so human that I was glad I could say, "Yeah, but what about Stan?"