Reply To: The Master and His New Emissary

  • Zak Safra

    October 4, 2023 at 7:37 am

    Hi Helen,

    Thank you for sharing that article. I enjoyed it very much and have been thinking about this myself too.

    I think you are right about the opportunity generative AI affords people. At work I use generative AI a lot to code, I find it easier to ask a computer to create something for me, than to work thru the specific technical details of where to place a semi-colon or an indentation. My wife uses generative AI to create images too. The painful element of artistic creativity, or technical problem solving, which involved gaining some kind of difficult mastery, has now been partially or fully automated. So I do agree with you about the tremendous creative freedom it affords the master. Properly contained, it affords the emissary some new tools.

    But I have to say that I think the risks down the line are still unclear, and the winners from this increased ease of creative productivity might not be the creators. For example, the writers in Hollywood and the workers at car factories in Detroit are both striking — in their case — AI (with the car factories it’s not Gen AI, but I think the argument holds) is threatening their job security.

    I’d also add a few more caveats:

    1) psychological: if the master is now fully dependent on his emissary is that a good thing? What if we are now helpless without it?

    2) social: Do we want to think about regulating the emissary’s availability, so as to not create inequalities of creative opportunity?

    3) what about its errors? I have some hilarious examples of how poorly chat GPT performs sometimes, even when I explicitly phrase the question.

    4) what about its limitations? If our creative expression is now enhanced by generative AI models, it is, also, limited by them. What today might seem like magic might tomorrow seem like a tragic constriction of creative options.

    Thanks again for sharing the article, I am grateful to find other people thinking about AI from the perspective of Iain’s work