AI-driven content is a nightmare

I am deeply concerned about the growing role of AI-based content recommendation engines in our lives.

AI-driven content is unhealthy for consumers

When I use an app like TikTok, it keeps me entertained for hours. But I wouldn’t describe this experience as healthy.

Yes, if you make junk food designed to be addictive people will consume large amounts of it. And yes, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, etc. they will make more money and make shareholders happy. But this is not a net positive for society.

What is even more disturbing is who will control this AI-driven future. As Michael Mignano said:

“The platforms that will be most successful here are the ones with A) the most data and B) the most computing power. the platform with the most computing power wins.”

So do we foresee a future where we’re all addicted to AI-driven content, where companies like Meta, Google and Amazon own the algorithm? No thanks.

Giving people an endless stream of content designed to keep them on a centralized platform for longer, where the algorithm is controlled by some megacorp (and its shareholders) is not my idea of ​​a great future. It’s fucking dystopian.

AI-powered content is a bad deal for creators

I think creators have always gotten a “bad deal” from social media platforms: we provide the content for free/low cost, upload our address books, cross-promote on other platforms, etc. But this deal will go from bad to worse in an AI-driven world.

In the old world, a creator would spend a lot of time, energy and money creating a YouTube video. If they were lucky, they might get $100 for the effort, but at least they were rewarded with “followers.”

In the new AI-driven world, you make a viral video and have no followers. In an AI-driven world, people follow the algorithm, not the creator.

There’s also an existential threat to creators, because AI can do more than recommend content: it can also create content.

AI-based media platforms will exploit cheap/free content from human creators and use it to train their algorithms at their convenience. But you better believe: once they can create the content with AI (and bypass creators entirely) they will.

Who is AI-powered content for?

Is it for consumers? Are we better off with algorithms designed to addict us and keep us on our phones even longer?

Is it for creators whose importance and “usefulness” will gradually diminish until they are replaced by AI-generated content?

Or does it primarily benefit the huge corporations that will amass more revenue and power through these AI engines?

If the spoils of innovation make most people’s lives worse by addicting them to vulgar content, should we invest in it? (I talk to consumers, developers, founders and venture capitalists here)

If anything, we need less content delivered by an algorithm. Let’s embrace the technology that gives us more peace of mind. Let’s embrace human-scale forms of constitution.

Justin Jackson

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