June 6, 2023

The AI Antidote

Public Journal #1 - Maintaining meaning while robots join the game of life.

The conversations of AI development continue to unfold and I have just read the thoughts of a photographer whom I admire, who seems to believe that our job market will soon be dead before we know it.

His direct opinion is that companies will opt to use AI for all photoshoots that do not involve personalities (celebrities, athletes, politicians, etc.). In the same breath, he also admitted to being a nihilist—at least when it comes to politics.

Myself, I’ve chosen the route of caution when it comes to putting too much thought into the threats of AI as related to the career I am actively pursuing. To do so, I fear, would be devastating. I’d stop before I started; the path ahead appearing too futile to walk because I’m being told no one in the future will be walking.

On the contrary, I believe the only antidote is to continue full-steam ahead. And I believe this for all of us. We must chase self-mastery in spite of the changes in the wind, allowing space for adaptation and opportunities in adjacent areas to reveal themselves organically.

The cat—he’s out of the bag, man. There are no safe choices of career as we know them to be historically. We have created the thing that is “better” than us already—better for business, yes, but still not us.

When the shininess of AI wears off I’d like to believe we, a people, will collectively return to admire the things created by imperfect human hands. In the meantime, corporations will continue to chug full-steam ahead, only to find their identities becoming more and more soulless as they rely on AI instead of us. If all goes well, the disconnect will grow, and the working class will ultimately turn to face the rising sun behind.

So, what then? What becomes cool when AI permeates everything? Hunting and gathering? Finger painting? No, seriously? The rebels will always choose to be human as human does is at its core. Does AI then become the cure for humanity

Who the fuck knows!

To speculate is to spend time inefficiently. AI developments will continue to unfold no matter how much thought my monkey-brain gives to the matter, and, sure, it’s probably a good idea to acquaint myself with these emerging tools to see if they can serve my work in the here and now. Already, I see opportunities in creating things like storyboards and shot lists as it pertains to photography shoots for clients. It’s not particularly easy yet, however, to prompt AI engines like Mid Journey to do my exact bidding—but again, this will continue to change until all barriers of entry are demolished entirely.

So much fear and so much hope lies on the horizon.

The story of mankind continues.

There will be many who throw in the towel to AI while others continue as is, keeping their heads down, doing the work that matters to them. This energy in the air—the uncertainty and speculation—is a matter of our species having found its new philosophical crux. We cannot, however, compare with previous paradigm shifts of the printing press, the automobile, and the internet. We’ve gone next level. Talking meaning of life type shit—overall human utility; Camus and the absurdists; Nietzsche and his proclamation: “God is dead.”

If you believe in nihilism, kill yourself. Hyperbolically, that’s what Camus proposed to highlight his contrary opinion in The Myth of Sisyphus. And, yes, if self-annihilation is too extreme—too wasteful of a beautiful thing—then choose the alternative. Find the task you yourself cannot ignore. Take arms and march forward. Don’t look back; don’t look sideways. Develop a deep yearning to wake up everyday excited to carry your own Sisyphean boulder up the giant hill that lies ahead, knowing that every pain-aching step leads only to the top of the evening where the boulder must be dropped and returned to the bottom in order for you to face it anew tomorrow—and every goddamned day after that.

Yet, breathe.

There is only today.

Adapt. Shoulder your boulder.

Create or die.

Die and create.

The AI Antidote

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Brando Conklin © 2022