Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Democracy's Twilight (Another A.I. Collaboration)

Photo by Daniel Lincoln on Unsplash
The New York Times and Wall Street Journal each have an eNewsletter that arrives in your inbox at the start of your day.  Monday's Times had a link to a story titled A Robot Wrote This Book Review. The article was actually written by Kevin Roose about a book titled The Age of A.I. and Our Human Future. One of the book's three authors was the late Henry Kissinger.

For some years now I've been following the evolution of Artificial Intelligence, periodically testing some new A.I.-powered program that gets highlighted on a website. Though Mr. Roose pans the book, he does include an A.I.-written review of the book which is actually quite interesting. 

The app that powers Sudowrite, the interface that enables us to utilize the machine, is GPT-3. If you want to experiment with this tool yourself, be aware that your trial period is only three days, so if you get hooked you'll have to discipline yourself to go to sleep at night because you only have a finite amount of time to play with it.

The results are sometimes hit and miss. This one, in my opinion, was surprisingly forceful and provocative. 

Democracy's Twilight

Dimming light, but not yet dead;

You were worshipped…

The nations surrounded you, 

Made bright by your heat

As you flamed and flared

In your last days.

The shade of your children left you alone,

Their cities empty and their voices unheard.

The young ones had been taken from you,

And the old ones died one by one.

In your twilight, your rivers ran dry.

Your seas became blackened and silent.

You fought a long battle against disease,

But the enemy was too strong.

You were weakened, then you were brought down.

Your mountains were mined for their precious stones,

For their ore and for their coal.

They stripped off your clothes, so they could see your bones.

They cut you down to size.

Your forests were cut down, as were your trees.

They pulled up your flowers and your grasses--

Your crops were taken from you.

Your animals were slaughtered and left to decay.

In your twilight, the people grew sick and sad;

They grieved for their loss and for what had been done.

They cried and moaned and wept and cursed their fate;

They wept because there was nothing they could do;

Nothing they could do – but mourn – in their twilight.

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