Generative AI is in a Cambrian explosion of capability. Dall-E, Stable Diffusion, GPT-3, OpenAI, Hugging Face, and dozens if not hundreds of other projects, startups, and organizations are cultivating AI engines that create art, make music, generate synthetic humans, birth artificial influencers and celebrities, literally generate video from text, and threaten to upend our notions of creativity, art, public domain, copyright, and the nature of reality itself.
This is just the beginning, Glimpse AI CEO Alex Cardinell told me in a recent TechFirst podcast.
The ultimate thing for AI to create is more of itself.
God creating Adam, in an image Dall-E created based on a prompt from the writer. Dall-E has major … [+]
“The most exciting part of it all … is when maybe AI is also at the point where it can start writing the code that will make its own AI even better,” Cardinell says. “And that’s like where the true singularity is … when it can kind of set itself to improve itself, when it can start to improve itself better than what a human can. And the fact that we’re already making great progress in that … it’s impossible to speculate what society could truly look like in such a situation. But I think in most of our lifetimes we’re going to experience that. And for me personally, I can’t think of anything more exciting than that.”
Exciting is one word for that.
Another is terrifying.
The singularity is, of course, that theoretical time when the curved graph of technological progress blasts off like a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket and hurtles near-vertical into an incomprehensible future of increasingly accelerating innovation and change. Whether this will happen, and how it will progress if it does is impossible to know, but there’s no guarantee that humanity as we know it would survive such a time, or that the vast AI entities potentially created by such an explosion would be benevolent to life as we know it.
What we do know is that generative AI is exploding now in a new “Silicon Valley gold rush” as, despite the economic downturn, venture capitalists pour hundreds of millions of dollars into 150 (and counting) generative AI startups in the areas from writing code like a software engineer, chatting like a company service representative, generating images like a photographer, creating music like an artist, selling like a sales rep, diagnosing disease like a doctor, and (gulp!) writing text like a human.
And the pace of innovation is accelerating.
“In what was basically like six months, it went from kind of this novelty that you laugh at to something that’s actually generating really high quality content that humans can use, that can even in many cases show [the] same quality as humans,” Cardinell told me. “And it’s really even just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what’s then possible in the future.”
Cardinell’s startup makes a text-creation AI that he’s verticalized into Article Forge, which generates SEO-optimized blog posts on pretty much any topic based on a supplied keyword, and WordAI, which rewrites content uniquely in a customer-defined style.
I tried Article Forge and was reluctantly impressed, although also gratified that while it wrote a fairly decent article about Apple’s new iPhone 14 …….