“I’m Bard, your creative and helpful collaborator. I have limitations and won’t always get it right, but your feedback will help me improve.”
Let’s be clear. There’s nobody home. There is no first person singular in this introduction from Google’s new Large Language Model interface. We’re being gaslit. There is no “I”, only a complex, inhuman system of computer servers spread across anonymous data centres, dotted around the globe. Yet this is what the system is now trying to pass off as a personality.
There’s been a lot of talk about pronouns, and these pronouns are just wrong. The “I” here is entirely phony. It’s not phony in the way it was in the movie, Her, where the gullible introverted guy believes he has a unique and specially intimate relationship with the talking computer, only to realise it’s been multitasking with thousands of lonely gullible men at the same time.
No. It’s much worse.
Google’s Bard, Chat GPT and the rest of the so called AIs, are no more individual people than a beehive in a raincoat is a person.
Or even less. At least the bees are alive. The AI processes aren’t alive. And they don’t have any kind of personality except for marketing purposes. We need to resist and reverse the metaphors that trick us into thinking otherwise. Why? Because they’re simply not true. And what do you call it when someone insists on maintaining and extending an untruthful description of reality, when they know exactly what they are doing? In the old days we used to name that for what it is: a lie. And perhaps it’s not too late to recognise this lie now.