I just can't get interested in AI.

We’re more than a year into the current wave of AI hype and I think it’s time to admit something: I just don’t care about AI. I get why some people are interested in it, there are fascinating technologies at work, but it’s just not that fascinating for me. Let me see if I can break down why.

Sorry about the messy post. I have too many ideas and no cohesion around them, but I wanted to post something about this.

I want to get this out of the way: ChatGPT is cool but all it does is string words together. DALL-E is cool but it generates pixels. The tech behind these tools (and others like them) is neat but the tools themselves are just tools. But the hype causes them to be lauded as the future of everything and every company has to jump on the bandwagon and add AI to whatever they make.

This level of hype does not excite me nor does it interest me. In fact, it kind of ruins it for me. It’s all noise and very little signal.

ChatGPT being the “future of search” is stupid. It strings words together, it doesn’t know things. The FUD around image generators might be somewhat warranted, but fake images have been possible for a hundred years or more. Tools make things easier, as they always have, and these are just new tools.

And I think that’s what causes the lack of interest. AI is a just new category of tool. Tools are useful at specific things and AI tools don’t seem to have that usefulness for me. At least for now. The only AI tool I use regularly is GitHub Copilot (at work) and if it went away I might not even notice. It’s kind of helpful in some circumstances and in others it gets in the way.

I have smaller gripes with implementations. Natural language prompts seem cool at first but end up making functionality and capabilities hard to discover. Plus the kinds of models these new AI tools use are (generally) non-deterministic. Run the same prompt a dozen times and you might not get the same result each time. I’m not sure why that one irks me so much, but it really bothers me. I guess I like software that is predictable.

AI is basically a new category of tool that may or may not be useful. Is that interesting? I certainly don’t begrudge anyone who says yes, but for me, I just don’t care.

Yes, I did use DALL-E 2 to generate the image for this post. The prompt was “A landscape oil painting of a lush green forest with a retro computer sitting near the base of a tree” and some out-painting was applied to make it wider.