Freshly Squeezed OpEd: A.I. and me

Jun 9, 2023 | OpEd | 0 comments

“Reality. What a concept.” – Robin Williams

A.I. is one of those generational flashpoints. We’ve seen only a smidgen of the incredible things it will afford us. The first thing that comes to mind is the truly amazing things it promises to help people with disabilities and other health issues.

Apple has already given us a taste as to what possibilities lie in store. I have heard people come up with uses that would have never occurred to me.

As you would photographs, you could rekindle memories of passed loved ones through a collection of their voices. Yes, you can do that now but think of being able to accomplish that on the fly without giving a second thought. Much in the same way many of us have collected hundreds, or more likely, thousands of photographs with minimal effort.

Of course (and quite rightly) we are simultaneously paying attention to the nefarious possibilities also accompanying such advances in technology

Since A.I. has lead to an extremely broad range of discussions, I have decided to pick one lane. I would like to focus on the pitfalls I see for myself and fellow creatives.

I have found a common thread that I believe all creatives need to be vigilantly aware of. That is loss of identity. Your personal “voice”. What makes you unique.

WRITING. With demands of deadlines and the inevitable amount of seemingly ever multiplying number of projects, I can see the lure of A.I. as an über-assistant to help lighten the load of all these demands. But I argue that we need to be mindful of to what extent we use it.

The best use I’ve heard of personally is using it to generate ideas when you’ve become hopelessly stuck. Much in the way you might bounce ideas off of a fellow writer. Or its use as a copy editor for those of us who couldn’t be bothered to attend English class in high school or college (or perhaps both).

Personally, I would rather produce fewer articles but retain my ‘voice’. This is hopefully why people return to read more of my output. Suppose you ask your silicon desk mate to write a joke with certain parameters. If someone enters those exact parameters anywhere else will A.I. produce the same joke?

MUSIC. I would be very interested in a number of things that A.I. could bring to the table. The first thing comes to mind is the use of A. I. as musicians used the studio in the 60s and 70s – as an instrument. For example, musicians and producers learned to bend technology to create new sounds and effects. The examples most people would remember from the halcyon days of analog would be backwards guitar solos and tape loops.

One thing I have thought of is using A.I. as a writing partner. I know you’re saying, “But you said earlier…”. This would be different in that I would bring A.I. aboard as a cowriter who would be given equal credit. It would be the same as a flesh and blood partner in the sense we would be bouncing ideas back and forth. The difference being I would be pulling the strings, as it were. And that this was a work created by Frank Petrie and A.I.

I find the idea of writing music with silicon as my partner fascinating. The primary thing is the music has heart. Why do you think people who were born long after the 60s and 70s find themselves drawn to music of that period?

FILM/VIDEO. This to me is one of the most promising, yet the most hazardous, creative uses of A.I. You could accomplish incredible things that bring in tow what I see as incredible pitfalls.

The idea that you could bring to life an actor who passed away awhile back, while something unarguably I would stop and look at (like an accident), it would be disastrous for storylines to take a backseat to such stunts. New actors bringing new interpretations to material new and old is the only way to keep the heart at the center so audiences can make a connection.

And I am blown away by the circular backdrops that several productions have used to save going on location. Though arguably it does tie the hands of the director and actors to interact with their environment.

That’s a quick take on the possible pitfalls for creatives as I see it. I haven’t even scratched the surface on these three examples. I could have written pages. And I haven’t even touched upon such things as paintings and other artistic endeavors.

I hope I have conveyed that I believe creatives can’t lose the most important thing that is the touchstone of all creativity.


©2023 Frank Petrie


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