Okay, So the AI is Coming for Creative Workers. But, Is That the Real Problem?

Or, is the problem with AI something subtler and more pervasively insidious (a brief rant).

Okay, So the AI is Coming for Creative Workers. But, Is That the Real Problem?
Photo by Xavi Cabrera on Unsplash

Okay, so this is a hot issue as of the time of my writing, but I’ve got to weigh in because I think many of the discussions about the use of so-called “Artificial Intelligence” are missing something important.

The technology to create material through machine models is here, and probably here to stay.

But, that’s not the problem. The problem is that we treat art, blogs, and everything else in our lives as a generator for, or an afterthought to, financial gain. The concern with AI isn’t AI, the concern with AI is capitalism.

As we move further into an age of high technology, many of the jobs we’ve come to consider stable norms within our capitalist society are going to crumble and fade.

White-collar jobs will probably be the first to go, actually, though as Amazon has recently shown us, warehouse workers are marked for termination as well.

So, let me ask: why do you create art? Why do you write? Plenty of people are trying to live the dream of practicing a creative task and subsisting off of that work alone.

Some lucky few actually do. But, I would argue, most of us would still find ways to be creative — and find meaning in creative pursuits — even if we made squat from it.

In fact, this is exactly what the capitalist counts on! Creative types are historically willing to create for free because we love to create.

And therefore, someone can step in and become the middleman, or find ways to take control of our creative products: the bossman steps in and gets the benefits of our creative work, without having to do anything for themselves.

I wouldn’t care so much about AI creating novels if my ability to subsist did not depend on selling my work.

If I were simply free to create for the sake of creation, I’d still be doing that extremely hard work, just like I’d be continuing to try to improve myself: because that’s what life is for.

What’s frightening isn’t that machine learning exists… what’s frightening is that anyone’s life is dependent upon selling their labor, creative or otherwise.

We should all be fundamentally taken care of by the network of the society as a whole.

The power imbalance between the owners and the workers should be eradicated completely.

Then, there’s nothing to fear from losing the ability to support ourselves through our creative labor — and we can go back to simply creating for the sheer joy of it, rather than some arbitrary need to put food on the table.

Hi there! I’m Odin Halvorson, a librarian, independent scholar, film fanatic, fiction author, and tech enthusiast. If you like my work and want to support me, please consider becoming a paid subscriber for as little as $2.50 a month!

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