Apart from the more obviously weird and ironic twist that it seems like many/most (?) sci fi authors – at least on the wasteland that is Twitter – actually hate AI, there’s a deeper subtle shaming that I wanted to open up and talk about here, before moving on to greener pastures.
When people come down hard against authors and artists making use of AI tools, it’s potentially a meaningful dimension (in a multi-dimensional analysis) to take a look at the profile of people who are early adopters of this technology. What brings someone early to the game of any technology, yes, but also specifically to AI technologies? Are there characteristics buried in our personalities we all share? What about in our actual physical neurology?
In short, are some people “predisposed to AI?”
My hunch is a resounding yes.
I don’t self-identify as being on the spectrum of Aspergers, etc., but I do identify as being neurodivergent in a broad sense. I have ample life experience to back that up.
To me, using AI tools is as natural as breathing, and it is almost definitely because of my being neurodivergent that I would seek it out, spend so much time on it, and then try to share it with others as a way of communicating with the world. And it is *all* about communication.
There is a very interesting set of tools that have evolved in an area called augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), which evolved as aids for people with speech production or comprehension issues. One of the interesting things there is the use of basically picture boards, almost like sets of emojis that the user can point to to indicate simple objects, but also complex statements.
Would it make sense, as someone interested in diversity & inclusion, to mock people for using tools like that to better be able to communicate? No, it would be reprehensible and hypocritical.
Likewise, my intuitive sense that is evolving in my own and watching other people’s use of and interest in – as well as hatred for – AI technologies is something like: AI tools help or can help people communicate and organize their thoughts in a similar manner.
Proof to back that up? Two small anecdotes so far, but I’ve only just begun collecting examples.
- One was a person as Reddit who self-identified as being on the schizophrenic spectrum saying that using ChatGPT as a writing aid helped him organize his thoughts in a way he could communicate with others more easily. This is amazing.
- Another was someone who is not a native English speaker saying much the same thing, that using these tools helped them communicate better in English.
Does it make sense, from the perspective of diversity and inclusion, to mock either of those use cases? Also, no.
So, if I use ChatGPT, and Claude, and Midjourney as an artist, creator, and generativist storyteller, and it helps me to better understand the contents of my own imagination (and bring subconscious contents into conscious reflection & reification), and then to communicate those contents to others as a sort of tour guide of latent space, it would follow – in my line of thinking – that this would also be a desirable and even “good” extension of the tools to allow people to communicate, understand, and organize better.
And it would be a tremendous boon to anyone neurodivergent enough that they sometimes have problems communicating with others, or organizing their own thoughts and understanding deeply their feelings. Why stand in the way of that kind of use?
Also, given the direction of hypertoxicity which communicating with other humans online seems to involve now, I can totally see why people are so drawn to chatbots instead, and use them as outlets for their creativity and entertainment needs. It’s not a flaw of the technology, its a failure of humanity that we haven’t been able to maintain open enough lines of communication with one another that we’re forced to seek alternatives to other shitty humans. There it is.
Communication will always be messy though. It’s always a struggle to understand and be understood. And in the end, everyone is divergent in some way or another when you get down deep enough to take a close look.
Okay, I think I’m (mostly) done ranting about this now.