The Nanny vs. the Nanny State

by on October 2, 2023 · 1 comment

in Labor, Media

 Only one thing can save us from predatory AIs: our own data

by John Robb and Jacob Siegel / Tablet / Sept. 25, 2023

As Hollywood recycles comic book remakes with funding from China, the once-great cultural capital appears to be in a state of steep decline. But in one area, at least, the movie industry is offering a bold and inspiring vision for the future. The writers and actors who went on strike to prevent studio owners from using artificial intelligence (AI) to exploit and expropriate their work are on the front lines of a new data war triggered by the explosive growth of AI. This past July, Fran Drescher, former star of the popular sitcom The Nanny, and now president of the SAG-AFTRA union, described the stakes: “If we don’t stand tall right now, we are all going to be in trouble, we are all going to be in jeopardy of being replaced by machines.”

Drescher is right. Across the U.S. and the global economy, corporations are strip mining people’s data and then using it to train the AI systems that will put those very people out of work. Two days before this article was published, the Writers Guild of America reached a tentative agreement with the studios for a new three-year deal. According to Variety, “details of language around the use of generative AI in content production was one of the last items that the sides worked on before closing the pact.” With the writers bringing their five-month strike to a close, the actors guild could soon reach its own deal. While the Hollywood shutdown has undoubtedly been painful for many of the people involved, we believe that workers who do not manage to secure protections against AI will be in for far worse outcomes. Doomsday scenarios about fully sentient AI—aside from being good marketing gimmicks for the tech industry—distract from the real and immediate danger posed by the technology: Not the rise of terminator robots but that tens or hundreds of millions of people will suddenly lose their jobs.

Though AI technologies have been around for a while, they have only recently begun to work in a way that everyday people can understand. ChatGPT isn’t the super intelligence of science fiction, but it delivers results on par with the capabilities of a well-educated or skilled human being across various tasks. As a result, thousands of new AI companies launched over the last couple of years have collectively generated billions of unique monthly visitors to their sites. And as the immense power of Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites has shown, platforms capable of generating billions of visitors are extraordinarily valuable.

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Chris Kennedy October 2, 2023 at 2:10 pm

This article mentions ChatGPT, and I have been having a really good back-and-forth in numerous sessions on Chat on a complex scientific matter that’s always fascinated me. It really is like communicating with an actual, patient person, and I have checked-out everything discussed with separate sources and everything I have been told seems correct. Whatever you think about AI, I encourage everyone to try ChatGPT out and see for yourselves. My personal opinion is that I don’t think ultimately there is anything that Hollywood can really do to stop or direct this technology.

/s/ Chris Kennedy


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