Just about everywhere you look in 2023 you see overstuffed think pieces and sometimes dire and paranoid warnings about the dangers of artificial intelligence or "AI." I actually hate that acronym worse than I hate most acronyms because I always read it as "Al," as in my friend Al Faaet.
Why only yesterday I saw fearful headlines -- like this one from the BBC -- about "AI Godfather" Geoffrey Hinton's ominous departure from Google, which he announced in a statement to the New York Times, that spelled out how he now regrets his work.
He told the BBC some of the dangers of AI chatbots were "quite scary".
"Right now, they're not more intelligent than us, as far as I can tell. But I think they soon may be."
What else could make a man give up what had to be a lucrative job?
Dr Hinton also accepted that his age had played into his decision to leave the tech giant, telling the BBC: "I'm 75, so it's time to retire."
Hinton envisioned nightmarish scenarios like Vladimir Putin giving "robots the ability to create their own sub-goals."
Robots with sub-goals? Oh no!
But, Hinton warned, some of those sub-goals might be "I need to get more power."
And thus began the long march of our robot overlords ...
My only interaction with AI at this point has been frustrating "conversations" with chatbots on my cell phone company's website. I wish that robot would acquire a sub-goal of being more helpful to customers.
But my brother Jack has played around quite a bit on ChatGPT, a popular "artificial intelligence chatbot" unleashed to the unsuspecting public late last year. Recently he and our friend Al -- not AI -- Faaet asked the chatbot to tell them what it knew about Jack.
Then they asked it what it knew about Al.
But then Al suggested asking the AI about me. Three was a charm, even though Jack typoed my first name as "Streve". Thus sprach the robot:
Here's that conversation:
Tell me about journalist/musician Streve Terrell
Steve Terrell was an American journalist and musician who was born on July 11, 1952, in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and passed away on December 28, 2017, at the age of 65. He was a well-known journalist in New Mexico, where he worked for over 30 years at the Santa Fe New Mexican newspaper. In addition to his work as a journalist, Terrell was also an accomplished musician and songwriter.
The Steve or "Streve" Terrell who
lived-- and apparently died --
As a musician, Terrell was best known for his work with The Rounders, a country-rock band that he co-founded in the early 1970s. The Rounders released several albums and toured extensively throughout the United States and Europe. Terrell also recorded several solo albums and collaborated with other musicians throughout his career.
Throughout his life, Terrell was a passionate advocate for music and the arts. He was a regular attendee at concerts and festivals, and he wrote extensively about music in his journalism. He was also a mentor to many younger musicians in the Santa Fe area, and he was known for his generosity and kindness.
Steve Terrell was a beloved figure in the Santa Fe community, and his contributions to journalism and music are still celebrated today. He was known for his wit, his intelligence, and his passion for life, and he will be deeply missed by all who knew him.
O.K., a few things ...
It got the date of my birth and I'm pretty sure the date of my death wrong. Also, I didn't begin my career in journalism until 1980 but didn't start working for The New Mexican for another seven years. My influence on younger musicians is exaggerated, to say the least.
As far as my band "The Rounders" goes, what the living heck? I was never in any such band. I didn't make any albums with or tour with any such band (I never even made it to Europe until about 10 years ago).
Maybe there was a Streve Terrell who led The Rounders and died in 2017. Any of my local musician friends remember such as person?
So, at least for the time being, I'm not going to lose much sleep over AI or its sub-goals.
Which might just be exactly what the lurking robot menace wants!
Meanwhile, enjoy a tune from some real Rounders: