Revolution Against AI

Revolution Against AI
Photo by Possessed Photography on Unsplash

You should be well aware that I have opinions about Large Learning Models. Mainly that the techbros who insist they're good after all can go fuck off and die in a fire. Especially the ones that just outright stole all the grist for their "AI" mill. There's machines that allegedly create pictures. Machines that allegedly create music. Machines that allegedly write stories.

Needless to say, all the folks who do that for realsies are slightly pissed off. To say the least of it.

My favourite is a tweet that's been passed around that I shall paraphrase here: "Machines were meant to automate work so we could spend more time making art. Now they automate art so we can do more work?"

I don't think I'll ever use any kind of machine to write for me. I like writing. It's the process of creation that brings me joy. Making summaries, on the other hand... that might be better for a machine to do. It's something I'm horrible at, something I hate doing, and something I really need help with. That said, I still refuse to touch an LLM unless I'm absolutely, positively do-or-die certain that it's an ethical one.

Which will be a long, long, long time in coming.

Mostly because LLM techbros would rather seek forgiveness than permission, and literally everybody with two neurons to deactivate is adding "AI" as a feature nobody asked for.

Meanwhile, the actual creative people are doing what they can to prove that their hard work is not from a machine. All while LLM techbros rip off the finished product to 'teach' their algorithms.

Artists are sharing speedpaints of their process. Musicians livestream their noodling until a song comes out. And writers like me? Well. We can't exactly share the entire process of writing a novel from 'go' to 'whoa'. That's because you can't publish that thing if everyone's seen it.

I've been streaming my flash fictions for a couple of years at least. Since before "AI" in fact. I have a hearty backlog of proof that I can do what I do do. There's other writers streaming their editing, or reading their published books for an audiobook. I'm still not sharing the novel in progress. Even the bits of it I do share are left with obvious signs of where it might be taken from.

In the unlikely event someone steals my work, I can tell where it got stolen from. And this paranoia of mine has proven to be a great precautionary measure. Every day, there's another platform announcing that it's launching into the LLM-osphere, using all the user-created content for their LLM learning, and then selling the results to anybody who just doesn't want to make an effort.

As someone whose life is creating, I'm understandably upset about that.

There's too many techbros out there who sincerely believe that code can replace years of practice, effort, and learning. Or what the uninitiated keep calling "talent". Turn a handle on the mystery box and get an output that looks suspiciously like it could have been made by a human. Or it looks like it could be made by a human who's never seen what professional-levels of writing look like. Or even glimpsed at a fanfic or three.

We all know about the "Willy Wonka Experience" and more than that. People have actively mocked the atrocious "slop novels" that have never been examined before publication. People are despairing because the "real" work is getting buried under mountains of slop.

And that is where another revolution is happening. Writers, professional and ameteur, are banding together to recommend each other to potential readers. Artists are self-hosting to avoid being ground up by the corporate LLM machines.

We've almost gone all the way back to Web Rings. Remember them? I remember them. Before there were search engines, there were like-minded sites that banded together to direct like-minded nerds to more content like the one you initially found by bumbling around on the forums. We're going back to that system again.

Because some search engines [coughcoughGooglecough] have not only decided to be enshittified profit factories, but also to add LLM generated gibberish to their increasingly useless search results.

But because nobody's quite back to doing Web Rings again, we're still distributing links via all our socials. Which have yet to figure out we're just using social media to direct people to people-made things.

Who wants to start a Writer's Web Ring with me?