Have I Become Obsolete? (and other fun)

Have you ever got a link in your email or WhatsApp and got the shock of your life? I did the other day.

A friend of mine linked me to an AI-powered natural language application to Talk To Transformer.

What's that you ask?

It's a machine that completes text for you based on a few lines of input.

Just like The Simpsons archvillain Mr. Burns ordering a thousand monkeys to write the best novel in history, this AI called GPT-2 works on kind of the same principle. It scours the internet as its source, completing sentences, paragraphs, and perhaps one day, entire books as it learns what you need it to say.

It predicts the next word one might have said, much like a predictive text application in your smartphone.

Despite the occasional "Sorry honey, running late for yogurt tonight", machine generated language is not new. Last year, Facebook's own AI developed its own internal language without user intervention.

Australia's very own ReporterMate, an AI-driven journalism program, spat out this article about political donations prior to the Federal Election for The Guardian. The Associated Press also uses AI to help assist reporters with articles.

So it's off to the trash heap for me! Well, not quite.

There may be a time when a machine will write better than I could ever hope to.

I don't think that time is now.

Humans using machines as tools or extensions of ourselves will become more complex and more useful. Perhaps language generators such as these will automate some tasks such as modifying legal boilerplate or updating business information.

I'm not running scared yet; but I am fascinated to see what lies ahead.

As for what Talk To Transformer came up with as an alternative to this post, see below.