2 thoughts on “Sic Transit, etc.

  1. bystander April 30, 2023 / 6:17 am

    Apologies for swerving way off topic. Were I more awake, I’d plant this link where it belongs, but as scattered as I am at the moment, I’ll forget altogether. You might find this twitter thread an echo of your own thoughts:


    I didn’t really get it until I read it.

    • William Timberman April 30, 2023 / 7:01 am

      That’s the sitcom version of how it could go. Possible, I suppose, if we’re dumb enough to let it. It’s not the LLM-driven chatbots’ role as the practical enabler of Hobbes’s “Bellum omnium contra omnes” that worries me, though. What worries me is not what we do with it, but what it does with us. Long-term immersion in its products at scale is very likely to erode our sense of ourselves as independent agents. Think what Orwell’s Ministry of Truth accomplished with the introduction of Newspeak. Within a generation or so, only a very small minority of Oceania’s population had the words to think with.

      There’s never been, and probably never will be, a Big Brother big enough to pull that off as part of a bog standard political apocalypse, but ChatGP, Sidney, Bart, et al., embedded for economic reasons at the heart of all our public communications, could do it in far less than a generation. I say again, look at the MAGA hordes of today. Do they seem any more sentient than ChatGPT to you?

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