Making Plastic People

Used by permission of artist

Scott M. Graves is Founder of M the Media Project and SMGraves Associates.  As contributing writer to M, he writes under the series Politics, Done Local and Democratic Capitalism in addition to Essays from An Artist.

He is Director of StartUp Rutland, a technology business incubator re-defining the economy for Rutland, VT which he and his family recently moved to.  StartUp Rutland is housed in The Hub CoWorks.

His work at SMGraves Associates focuses on building value in real property by considering the commercial and social ecosystems that play out within our built environments.  Community Development that seeks to build pride in place and create economic opportunity for more citizens of our cities and towns.

Our use of AI (Artificial Intelligence) may just epitomize the broke in our broken culture. 

The use of AI to write one’s paper, to ‘create’ one’s art and to generally accelerate our capability to consume ‘content’ feeds what I feel may be the pinnacle of what’s ‘broke’.

Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t believe it’s the tool that is the problem.  I’m not Rev. Shaw Moore and this isn’t Bomont (great reference to Footloose, right?).  I’m feeling more like Robert Owen, the 19th century industrialist who straddled the fence between the use of technologies for good and for ill when it came to his employees.

I’m the director of a business incubator that’s building a technology cluster to the benefit of a regional economic ecosystem.  So to be ‘against tech’ would, in certain terms, be extremely counter-productive.

But shouldn’t we ask ourselves whether the hot new solution being presented is truly beneficial for society?  Or rather, what is the best use given our developing understanding for the consequences?

Our use of artificial intelligence may miss the point. By 3000 miles.

For only in this broken culture can the singular priority be to present, to garner bragging rights, to ‘make it all look so cool’ on the outside. 

We already have evidence that the plastic world we’re all devising for ourselves on social media platforms is making some of us anxious.  We know groups within our communities are exhibiting widespread depression and other serious maladies attributed to our digital behaviors, think teenagers and the increased episodes of suicide or depression in their age bracket. 

Creativity, the desire to build that which is yet to be formed, the comradery found in finding a group of people dedicated to the same mission as you; these are the ties that bind and remind us who we are and who we want to be. 

I thought ‘the point’ was the process. The struggle. The feeling of risk, going for broke. Better than sex. 

I don’t know about you but I don’t get the same effect from a data scraper bot hitting up thousands of struggling artists so it can ‘derive’ what at best can’t possibly be called art. 

Where is Frank Zappa when we need him. 

But for so many, the priority has become appearances. Appearances made more effective through the misuse of technology. For in my mind the use of tools like ChatGPT or the widespread scraping of artist original work (I say pilfering) by platforms such as Stable Diffusion is a misuse of technology.  At the one there is copyright infringement.  But I fear a much more pervasive, perhaps sinister aspect we’re not readily considering. 

They took most of it all away from us. Now they’re taking the creative process away. and we’re giving it up so very willingly. 

Can the widespread use of scraping tools and other forms of artificial intelligence that derive for you, used millions of times for days, weeks, months and years develop a tipping point where humans loose their desire for creative well-being? 

We know that too much readily available internet porn reduces human desire.  So it stands to reason we might want to consider that this use of AI may have consequences for us we don’t intend.

Could we create a great tipping point where a society, devoid of the means for cultivating its great creative class warriors, cease to provide the know-how to create more ‘tech’ to feed the AI revolution. How Ironic.  

Revolution?  Or de-volution.  It’s for us to decide.  

Episode 143 Are We Here Yet?

Episode 143 Are We Here Yet?

One View of Vermont's  Future Kevin Chu of the Vermont Futures Project  Photo courtesy of our guestKevin Chu is Executive Director of the Vermont Futures Project  People from throughout the United States can access their thoughtful and well researched information in...

Episode 142 Are We Here Yet?

Episode 142 Are We Here Yet?

The Inaugural Vermont Tech Feature an AWHY? Special Series  Courtesy of SMGraves Assoc.Join Vermont tech leaders Will Jeffries, Ryan Munn and Scott Graves as they discover the best this Brave Little State has to offer in technology-driven entrepreneurship.  Maybe...

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