Text and Hubris |

The Problem isn’t AI

The problem isn’t “AI.”1 The problem is the sad little man trying to sell me an “AI” chatbot, an “AI” artist, or an “AI” storyteller. Much like the NFTs he was probably hawking last year, he still hasn’t learned that those things have no value beyond their initial curiosity.

I am not all that interested in talking to a computer2, nor am I interested in its art or its stories. What I value in communication is the human element. The power of technology comes from its ability to connect us. Technology starts with the human not the machine. Using technology, I can share videos, take pictures, and even interact with friends around the globe and potentially beyond. We create the stories and the art, and that is amazing even when the art we create is silly and less than perfect. That technology helps us do that is endlessly cool. How pathetic it must be to not have anyone you can ask to draw you a picture, share a story with you, and even just talk. How sad and soul-crushingly empty it must be to see art and stories as mere commodities to be bought and sold like stock shares never understanding the value in art is the artist, their work, and their vision. The fact that people continue to tout these options as the true value of AI only shows how sad and empty their vision of the world truly is.

As a productivity and search tool, AI is interesting. There is a real benefit to being able to connect, summarize, and interact with large sets of varied data. I think there are some cool opportunities that can be realized. That said, all that it is now is a form of digital enclosure - scooping up open data and locking it behind a black box. It’s a strategy (maybe the only strategy) these charlatans know all too well. Somewhere beneath all the snake oil, there is a nugget of something cool. We will ever actually see it? I don’t know, but I hope so. I really do.

  1. Except, perhaps, for the broad misinterpretation of the term AI; although, this is not the first time Silicon Valley finance bros who like to pretend they understand tech made such a mistake. I doubt it will be the last. ↩︎

  2. Especially when everything I say is swallowed up by the computer and fed into the sad little man’s financial machine. ↩︎

There but by the grace of god..

I built my early career managing systems and networks for telcos in the dotcom era. Mismanaged layoffs were a regular feature of the work. It paid well, but so many burned out along the way and no pay was worth that.

I went a different direction. I got to teach and found new ways to work with tech and people. In that sense, I was lucky. There are times, though, when I still think of that younger me desperately struggling on the razor’s edge of burnout.

The events of today brought a lot of that back. While the scope of today’s grotesque chaos may have been an aberration, the systems and structures that allow such practices to exist remain prevalent and powerful. I look forward to the day when we tear them all down.

Writing Progress - November 1st, 2022

Rethinking the Narratives of Retro-Tech (no working title as of yet): 539 words

A cartoon blue bird on a dark background with its eyes x'd out

The World Beyond the Gates

I still remember when one of USENET’s biggest gripes was the influx of users from AOL. As a shared space (or spaces) of communication, USENET had its own parlance and etiquette and suddenly all of these new users were invading and ignoring all of the informal rules that had helped make the different groups fun and interesting. This was not the fault of the AOL users. They didn’t know. All they knew is that the walls were down and they were free to roam.

They understood the Internet from an AOL perspective: capital exchange. They were Internet consumers. They wanted what AOL sold them: access. They paid a fee and they were provided service and access to a ton of stuff. It didn’t matter who created the stuff or the networks that had come together to share and build the stuff. They paid money to AOL and they wanted their stuff. They got it, too. USENET still exists, today. I check in every few months or so more out of a sad sense of diligence than anything else. The vibrant nature of the forum (in areas that I know of, at least) has all but disappeared.

Then again, so, too, has AOL.

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Not Really a Revamp?

So I have moved to a new theme which is my old theme rebuilt for a new engine. Is that a revamp?

I originally built this theme for the pelican static site generator when I moved to pelican from Ghost. It’s inspired, in fact, by an now defunct version of an Eston theme that I had purchased for that Ghost site mixed with a bunch different things that I liked. Once I got the design where I wanted, it became was my primary site theme for several years. When I moved to Hugo, though, I decided to adopt a new Hugo-styled theme.

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© Geoffrey Gimse (2023) - Built using Hugo.

Opinions expressed here are my own and are not neccessarily shared by employers, friends, or colleagues. Except where noted, all photos are my own. Other images used on this site are in the Public Domain or have been purchased for use via The Noun Project."