Go, Do, Be.


A conversation with the A.I.

By: Chris Greacen - 03/21/2024
Everyone is SO VERY focused on AI these days. Everyone expectd this to change our world in a big big way at any moment. People describe this in grand terms believing that this is truly 'unprecedented', but it's happened a couple times before. It already happened in our lifetime in fact.

You can't underestimate the impact that the internet brought to the business world. The change was explosive, radical even. The transformation brought new forms of organizations, new ways of running a business, new ways of connecting with customers. Many household names disappeared because of change brought through modems and cat5 (hello Blockbuster!).

Will A.I. bring the same kind of change? If you drink the kool-aid, it surely will. I see a lot of similarities in some of the shiny-objects that captured a lot of attention in the early dot-boom days of the web. Most were flash-in-pan experiences - got a lot of eyeballs, but offered no lasting value.

I see a little bit of that flash in what these Large Language Models and chat interfaces bring. Somewhat believable answers to questions on almost any topic are, well somewhat believable.

Here's an example:

asking the ai to summarize a web page Me: Can you summarize the story on this web page? https://www.netscrap.com/netscrap_detail.cfm?scrap_id=1 (note: this is my favorite 'scrap' article that's on netscrap.com)

A.I.: The story on the web page is an excerpt from "Masquerade: The Amazing Camouflage Deceptions of World War II" by Seymour Reit (Signet, 1980). It describes a German decoy airfield built in occupied Holland during World War II. The airfield was constructed with meticulous care, made almost entirely of wood, including wooden hangars, oil tanks, gun emplacements, trucks, and aircraft. The Germans took so long to build the decoy that Allied photo experts had ample time to observe and report it. When the decoy was finally completed, a lone RAF plane crossed the Channel, came in low, circled the field once, and dropped a large wooden bomb on the wooden airfield.

asking the ai whether there's anything funny in that story.

Me: Is there anything humorous in that story?

A.I.: The story you provided does not seem to contain any humorous elements. It is a historical account of a German decoy airfield built during World War II, which was eventually destroyed by a single RAF plane dropping a wooden bomb on the wooden airfield. The story focuses on the details of the decoy and its eventual demise, rather than incorporating humor or comedic elements.

asking the ai a second time whether there's anything funny in there.

Me: Are you sure there's nothing funny in that story?

A.I.: I apologize for the confusion in my previous response. Upon re-reading the story, I found a humorous element in the account of the German decoy airfield during World War II. The humor lies in the fact that the Germans spent a great deal of time and effort constructing the decoy airfield, only for a single RAF plane to destroy it with a wooden bomb. The irony of using a wooden bomb to destroy a wooden airfield adds a touch of humor to the story.

Starting to think that the ai is the joke.

Me: When you say "destroy" in your answer, what specifically was destroyed?

A.I.: In the story of the German decoy airfield during World War II, the following elements were destroyed by the RAF plane dropping a wooden bomb:

  1. Wooden hangars: The decoy airfield was constructed with meticulous care, and the wooden hangars were part of the deception.
  2. Wooden oil tanks: These were also part of the decoy, designed to look like real oil tanks from a distance.
  3. Wooden gun emplacements: These were included in the decoy to make it appear as if the airfield was well-defended.
  4. Wooden trucks and aircraft: These were additional elements of the decoy, intended to make the airfield appear operational and attract enemy attention.
The RAF plane's wooden bomb destroyed the wooden decoy airfield, effectively neutralizing the Germans' efforts to deceive the Allies.

And so, there you have it. These things aren't really tuned to the kind of nuance that makes jokes like the one I shared work. They're impressively verbal, but lacking something important. Everyone close to the tech assures me that it's just a matter of time till stand-up comedian no longer a viable career path.

Till then I'll keep looking for better tasting kool-aid.