bits and bytes

From AI to ouch

But why this pessimism all of a sudden? Mostly because I didn't bother with generative artificial intelligence tools, until the moment they stopped being an option.

Before, I needed to actively go after the tool, activate it and manipulate it to be able to produce something and get some result. Today they are spreading everywhere, in every tool, and I'm not exactly ok with that. Windows itself wants to make AI such a mandatory business that Microsoft created a button on the keyboard dedicated to its artificial intelligence, Copilot, which has become an increasingly mandatory part of the operating system, and began to demand all new computers that, to be certified to run Windows, they'll have to have the darn thing.

This bothers me, as I feel there is a very high chance of being violated by a corporation that only sees you as a number. On the one hand, I always wanted a decent search tool, which would actually find the files I needed just by looking at the context of the question. On the other hand, having all my private data and files - including medical reports, expense sheets, personal projects and even diaries - processed by a computer somewhere in the world, managed by who knows who, is giving away to  to a company enormous power over my life, since it will be able to analyze and draw conclusions (right or wrong) about everything I do or could do. And not only that, this "perfect" profile of my life and personality will be sold to those who pay the most, putting more advertising into my life. It's a Minority Report dystopia, but the precogs are made of chips instead of three humans in a bathtub, being used to sell Amazon's sheets and blenders.

It's bad to know that I've become the old man who shouts at the clouds and to have to say "in my time that didn't happen". It used to be that a computer was a computer, and an MP3 player was just an MP3 player. None of them monitored every click, every interaction, and every file I opened. An advance in technology was received with authentic enthusiasm from those who knew that life would really get easier.

Today, it's over. Every advance and every change is made to make people's lives worse, make things more difficult, and try to take every penny out of your pocket and send it to the companies' pockets. Everything is either a subscription, or changes for the worse with software updates, or simply cannot be repaired because it is cheaper to buy a new device that comes with even more strings attached. And with that, I'm becoming more and more of a Luddite, trying to keep electronics out of my life to have a more analogue life, because I know that I can use, repair and control it the way I want.

Let's see how far I can get.

April 12, 2024

bits and bytes

You know what? Forget everything I said about AI

I, in my naivety, did not expect to see such a strong movement to replace artists with AI tools. I still believe that they are fantastic tools that makes life a lot easier: boring tasks like cutting out a character or filling in an incomplete background have become much simpler. But seeing artists and writers effectively fired and replaced by these tools was something I didn't want to believe. We are heading towards a future where art, music and literature are being automated, leaving humans free to do bossy work, becoming stamp beaters.

There is at least one consolation: AI depends on content produced by others to function. There will come a point where AI will feed on art produced by AI, regurgitating content to the point where there is only garbage on top of garbage, incomprehensible and unusable, breaking the cycle and all AI companies along with it. Add to this the new tools for poisoning data models, protecting works from being absorbed by models, and perhaps this moment is closer than we think.

But of course, this could also be another naive thought.

April 3, 2024

bits and bytes

And here we go

WordPress announced that all of its sites will now serve as material to feed other people's AI bots, and it's your problem if you don't like it. Of course, for now they say that only blogs hosted on will be processed and regurgitated, but I doubt they won't insert a clause in the future that rules the hosting system themselves. As they say, it's "money on the table", just waiting for someone to come by and take it. Now I'm here migrating my stuff to another system, and for now I decided to stick with Bludit, which is a lightweight, clean, and much more basic system than Wordpress for website management, which has its pros and cons.

The good thing is that it is quick and simple to edit, and I can read directly into the theme's code to tweak it the way I want. It's much easier to DIY the theme when I want something more different.

The bad thing is that it's a lot of work to edit things, and the code doesn't always do what I want the way I want it. In other words, strange things still happen here, like images that are cropped or squeezed when the site is viewed on a cell phone.

I'm adjusting and cooking everything over time. After all, this has always been a homemade, organic site, without dyes or preservatives.

March 20, 2024

bits and bytes

The future is no Terminator, is Marvin

After reading this wonderful article from Ars Technica saying that chatGPT has end-of-the-year blues this is all I can think about:

The future won’t have Skynet, the robots will become human and spend the day watching South Korea soap operas on Netflix.

December 15, 2023

bits and bytes

O livro está na mesa

The blog is now bilingual! Down there, on the left, you’ll find a selector to change the language from english to portuguese. The translations won’t be done with Google anymore, I’ll rewrite each post to english so the expressions will be more comprehensible on each language. It will be a good exercise too, to write properly in english is hard! Expect mistakes that will be corrected with time.

November 9, 2023