Ranty bits of rant

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So, okay. Imma grump a bit about the way AI is being portrayed in media right now.

To be clear: I have nothing against the concept of “Artificial Intelligence,” which isn’t actually a thing that exists. (I hate the way intelligent computers are portrayed in science fiction, but that’s a totally different rant.)

Today what’s getting me BEYOND annoyed is the way so many “explainer” articles slap those same two letters on things that are about as similar as cats and cows.

I admit a general aversion to homophones in general, unless they’re used as diffferent parts of speech in ways that make their meaning less ambiguous. I will not easily confuse “he quailed in fear” with “a quail ran into the bush.” For example.

But when a specific noun is applied to multiple things that don’t look, sound, or act the same way, it GRATES  MY SOUL TO BLOODY SHREDS. The more things a single word is used to label, the worse it pains me. 

Which brings me to my grumpy-old-woman question, “Does anybody even know what “AI” even means these days?”

I mean. The answer is obviously yes, but you’d never know it from all the breathless “Rave about AI’s benefits!” or the “Complain about AI doom!” articles. They both do a sucky job of explaining what they think AI is. Or, even more importantly, what it ISN’T.

 It’s become a meaningless umbrella term  applied to things as unalike as the software driving robotic surgical devices and the digital face-morphing filters in photo apps. And it’s making my really grouchy.

I highly recommend Janelle Shane’s “You Look Like a Thing and I Love You: How Artificial Intelligence Works and Why It’s Making the World a Weirder Place  (link)  It’s an excellent primer on what’s behind the many different coding things being labeled “Artificial Intelligence.”

Offering that recommendation doesn’t make me any less irritated when I read yet another  gushing or pearl-clutching news story about “Where AI is going next?” when AI–in the sense they’re writing about–has been around for decades already…

But I’ll sleep better knowing I’m at least trying to do something positive instead of just growling. 

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Book 1
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Book 2
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Companion duology:
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The cover for Novices, with the silhouetted figures of two boys gazing across a farm field at sunrise toward a ruined city skyline.
The inevitable prequel.

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