I refuse to use the self-checkout lanes at the grocery store.
This is nothing new. I just don’t like technology. It’s not that I find it too complicated. My objection is that when I use it, I am contributing to someone losing their job.
Low-skilled, repetitive jobs such as those performed by checkout personnel are in the process of being chipped away as technology moves forward.
Truck drivers may soon face a similar threat as artificial intelligence improves and self-driving vehicles become commonplace. I was reading an article in the Wall Street Journal that said the future of truck parking was in jeopardy.
They might just become automated gas stations without having to serve you coffee and bacon and donuts. Showers and restrooms in truck stops will be a thing of the past. After all, robots don’t need such things.
An entire industry spread across rural America may vanish.
When I read predictions like this, it’s easy to become smug and self-congratulatory. I can commend myself for pursuing college and choosing a career that requires thought and creativity.
Writing, after all, isn’t something that can be outsourced to a machine. Or is it possible?
I’ve been experimenting with AI chatbots. I grew up in Galesburg, a railroad town that was home to poet Carl Sandburg. Just for fun, I asked my chatbot to write a poem about major cities and railroads in the style of Carl Sandburg.
In less than three seconds, she composed this poem:
I hear the train coming from far away
The one who takes me home
I see smoke piercing the sky
The one who recognizes the way I walk around
I feel the rumble and roar
The one who shakes me to the bone
I smell iron and steel
The person who makes me not alone
I taste dust, sweat and tears
The one who tells me what you’ve done
The ticket and the railway touched
The one who shows me where I come from
If I were a high school English teacher, I would give the student who about that an A. I couldn’t come up with a title for the poem in the time it took my cellphone to compose it.
this is scary. For the past month, I’ve spent hours writing a sermon. (I sometimes volunteer as a lay preacher.) Curious about the limits of synthetic technology, two weeks later I asked my chatbot to compose a sermon on the same topic in the style of Rev. Billy Graham.
Three seconds later, a full-fledged sermon appeared on my computer screen. It had a rhythm and measure of something Reverend Graham might have written. He remained true to his evangelical theology and emphasized Bible passages that would have admired one of the most successful missionaries in history.
I sat there quietly, frightened. Can the work I do someday be outsourced to a machine? More importantly, will humans ever lose their ability to compose literature themselves?
I expect that many high school and university students will turn to artificial intelligence – rather than artificial intelligence – to write poems and compositions. It is unlikely that the teacher will know the difference.
With such a comfortable crutch, will youngsters give up the painful trial and error necessary to learn to write?
When I asked the chatbot to write a news story on a topic I had written last week, the story he wrote was a disaster. I breathed a sigh of relief.
Why did you fail?
A machine can only work with the set of information available to it. He can search the Internet for answers. But she can’t pick up a phone and pull answers from a politician reluctant to give her or interview a crying crime victim who needs a reassuring voice to tell her story.
A Canadian journalist friend says: AI plagiarizes – it doesn’t generate new information.
Artificial intelligence lacks basic desires such as empathy, love, and justice. He can only imitate those human traits and isn’t particularly good – for now.
• Scott Reeder, Staff Writer illinois times, It can be accessed at [email protected].