when the creator of octocat adventures* speaks, you listen. David Oreilly is dead on.

*and other dope shit too

"as long as their business model is selling tickets to take weird photos of big data, they are no better than grave robbers" fuckin hear HEAR

to be clear I love David's work, which spans from the basic meme technology of octocat adventures to the sublime and disturbing like "Everything", or "The External World"

@jonny hard oof. I had signed up to the queue for DALL-E but actually I’m a lapsed amateur illustrator so perhaps I’ll just write down all those “wouldn’t this be hilarious” ideas as prompts for myself and get back in it or (shock horror) actually pay an artist.

It’s easy to get caught up in the hype and possibility of the thing but if the cost is artisans then fuck that.

@grimmware yeah, keeping the weights proprietary and charging for access is a completely different business model -- but one we shouldn't be surprised about. I think any company having the compute and expertise to make these kinds of models that are effectively magic is extremely dangerous. this is just one that we *know* about, not to be a conspiracy theorist but the possibility of sophisticated deepfake models we *dont* know about it always there.

@jonny I’m amazed how many companies are able to jump on the bandwagon of displaying their modern values (e.g. “no means no and any further pursuit is harassment”) and then immediately make a terrible consent faux pas in literally any other place.

GitHub Copilot, DALL-E, any website or app which has a pop up with the options “yes” and “as me again later”.

And by amazed I do of course mean “wholly unsurprised at how it all unfolded with a tedious inevitability.”

@jonny I’m really pleased you mentioned this wrt DALL-E because I knew intellectually that this was an issue with AI but got totally caught up in what could be done easily with DALL-E and somehow didn’t make the mental translation. You saved me from compromising my values there <3

yno I feel like there's space for poking at even evil tools without celebrating them. like using dall-e art to inject this into the otherwise somewhat monolithic "whoa this is sick" conversation would be useful praxis I think. but ya the broader problem of these companies and their business models and unaccountable/uninspectable magic computer tools remains.

@jonny This is a very good take indeed. Thank you for sharing it here.

@jonny Spot on.

Unrelated question: are these pictures of text looted from an Instagram post?

@jonny All good, that wasn't what I was getting at. 🙂 Just amazed at the path this *TEXT* document took, is all

@czottmann yeah, he deleted his blog, twitter, and even the few everything2 posts i knew of at some point and is now only on instagram (and has a discord i think, but have never been). he's hard to pin down and provocative in this tender sort of way, so i imagine there's some story there.

@jonny this is actually a really good idea. You should be able to trace back through the neural network and see which pieces contributed and how much they did to the final synthetic product.

Then we could find out just how much of a mess ownership of *anything* on the internet is, lol.

@terminallytrisk @jonny There has been a fair amount of prior work on tamper resistant watermarking, which might translate to AI resistant? Interesting idea, but not sure how much use the resulting hairball would be!

@jonny I... can't even begin to unpack everything that's wrong with that. The Luddites weren't opposed to technology.

@jonny The uprising rallying around the mythical Ned Ludd were skilled workers, textile workers mostly. They wanted the new looms that reduced their workload immensely. Their protest was that the one rich fuck claiming to own the loom was stealing all the profit, when the workers should have been able to make the same or even more money by using the new looms. They protested the creation of the capitalist class, not the technology.

@jonny And that is in essence what is wrong with "octocat's" argument. The problem is not the AI, nor the fact that the AI is getting smarter, or more creative. The problem is that one rich fuck gets to "own" the AI, and everyone else is supposed to obediently starve to death at his convenience. We should have creative computers doing incredible things, that we all benefit from, not just the "owners" of the "property."

@jonny He said the problem is that zombie AIs are gonna take all our jobs. And that the people writing "Dall-E" are grave robbers because art is a commodity that can be sold, so they're stealing from dead humans when they make derivative works. I'd love if he so much as mentioned that private ownership of the AI is the "theft" that "has occured," not the work the AI does, or that Dall-E is intentionally legally required to deny attribution by copyright laws, not b/c it's an AI.

the latter part is actually exactly what he's saying, not sure where you're reading the "art is a commodity" in. immediately beneath the part where he says "a theft has occurred" he says that the theft is that a few huge companies "profit from selling tickets to take weird pictures of big data." I thought he was pretty clear about that here, but he is also pretty clear about that in the rest of his body of work as well as the one subsequent thing he's written.

he says explicitly "all tools are allowed" and has used them to make his own work - so, not against "AI" as such - and his one other musing afterwards explicitly presupposes it as a legitimate tool but the corporate ownership and accompanying censorship is one reason it might *not* come to pass that dall-e/etc. put all illustrators out of work. again I read this and the rest of his work as a criticism of the business model.


the "grave robbers" term is a rather pointed reference to people (eg. researchers, artists) who enrich themselves by looting the graves of colonized people, given its context of the colonial attitude of treating the treasures of human creativity as "hats to try on," instead of referring to robbing the IP of dead artists

@jonny Immediately beneath the part where he says "a theft has occurred" he says people will be replaced by machines, which supposedly means they cannot do what they want to do, and they will find nothing better to do than work for money. Which is true if money is the only measure of value. (because money is broken, exploited to hell, and we have to start using something else.) Otherwise, corporations have no right to own the machines that deny you mastery of your craft.

k I was trying to be nice, but you need to work on your reading comprehension lmao

@jonny I mean, he's not exactly buddy/buddy with corporations, but he does say "Those now honing their craft will never have a chance to achieve mastery, and will never get hired because a machine appears to do an equivalent job," which is not true. I think my reading comprehension is just fine, even if I don't entirely agree with you.

he's posing that as one possible outcome, and then in the next sentence poses another, "so let them use the machine." please read the other piece I linked where he specifically argued against the interpretation that you are taking from these posts

@jonny In that other piece, he claimed that large corporations monopolizing ownership of technology would *stop* AI from destroying creative expression! The fact is we're not gonna live forever. Even in AI, no program can run forever without eventually crashing. His infinite art scenario is claiming that art will be destroyed if we allow our children to take over for us since their art doesn't count, whether those children are biological or silicon. That is *not* the danger here.

again that is just not at all the argument, it's almost exactly the opposite - the "infinite art" piece is a thought experiment that serves as a purposeful strawman, and one reason it might not come to pass is that corporate AI will be deployed mostly in bland ways that don't challenge the space filled by artists, now and into the future, because the context of any work informs its meaning - aka future artists work will always be valuable for art's sake.

like you may be referring to a different danger than he is but I'm really not sure what your problem with his framing is anymore

@jonny I dunno, maybe I'm just wrong. If you think he's saying that the concentration of power is the problem, not the AI that they create with that power, then I have no problem. I just worry you'll feel hopeless about evil AI, without being able to see how good AI can be, in a more collective society.

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