This is not the first time that I’ve come across information such as this. According to a September 28, 2023 posting by Karl Bode for the TechDirt website, companies in Silicon Valley (California, US) are hiring poets (and other writers) to help train AI (artificial intelligence), Note: Links have been removed,
… however much AI hype-men would like to pretend AI makes human beings irrelevant, they remain essential for the underlying illusion and reality to function. As such, a growing number of Silicon Valley companies are increasingly hiring poets, English PHDs, and other writers to write short stories for LLMs [language learning models] to train on in a bid to improve the quality of their electro-mimics:
“A string of job postings from high-profile training data companies, such as Scale AI and Appen, are recruiting poets, novelists, playwrights, or writers with a PhD or master’s degree. Dozens more seek general annotators with humanities degrees, or years of work experience in literary fields. The listings aren’t limited to English: Some are looking specifically for poets and fiction writers in Hindi and Japanese, as well as writers in languages less represented on the internet.”
So it’s clear we still have a long way to go before these technologies actually get anywhere close to matching both the hype and employment apocalypse many predicted. LLMs are effectively mimics that create from what already exists. Since it’s not real artificial intelligence, it’s still not actually capable of true creativity:
“They are trained to reproduce. They are not designed to be great, they try to be as close as possible to what exists,” Fabricio Goes, who teaches informatics at the University of Leicester, told Rest of World, explaining a popular stance among AI researchers. “So, by design, many people argue that those systems are not creative.”
The problem remains that while the underlying technology will continuously improve, the folks rushing to implement it without thinking likely won’t. Most seem dead set on using AI primarily as a bludgeon against labor in the hopes the public won’t notice the drop in quality, and professional writers, editors, and creatives won’t mind increasingly lower pay and tenuous position in the food chain.
In the last paragraph, Bode appears to be alluding to the Writers Guild of America strike (known popularly as the Hollywood writers strike), which ended on September 26, 2023 (for more details, see this September 26, 2023 article by Samantha Delouya for CNN).
Four years ago, I used this head “Ghosts, mechanical turks, and pseudo-AI (artificial intelligence)—Is it all a con game?” for a more in depth look at how AI is overhyped; see my September 24, 2019 posting.