Opinion: The Warning Signs Of A.I.

Results for “The Brooklyn College Vanguard” in an A.I. image generator, DALL-E./Sarah Rescigno

By Michela Arlia  


   A.I. is single-handedly killing creativity and originality. Yes, you read that claim right.

   Exhibit A – TikTok is currently going insane over A.I. songwriting and song covers from celebrities that don’t actually exist. Just last week, a song titled “Heart On My Sleeve” was allegedly created with A.I. to sound as if it was being sung by Drake and The Weeknd. It became a hot track in the music world almost overnight, with stream counts equalling thousands of dollars in royalties. However, the hype and attention seemed to work against it in the end because the track was pulled from all streaming platforms and its royalties may be withheld. 

   This begs the question of who exactly should get those royalties. If it’s Drake and The Weeknd, what makes it okay for them to take credit for a song they did not write, produce, or even know about for that matter? If it’s the individual who created it through A.I. prompts, why do they get to use the voice, style, and reputation of two A-list musicians without their knowledge or consent? And if it’s A.I. somehow, aren’t we just feeding the companies behind these platforms, which are the real monsters who would use royalties to encourage this behavior? 

   Each of the first two royalty angles here involves parties receiving benefits for work they did not “create” originally, but are merely the closest humans to the actual source. The brain is capable of so much, and cutting that potential at its knees will only allow for more shortcuts and loopholes to take credit for work that isn’t yours.

   Claims that A.I. is like a human thought process, or in some cases, arguments that it’s smarter, are sweeping news outlets and social media platforms. We all ogle at the thought that A.I. could be running most things in the near future, but shouldn’t we be ashamed of that? We think A.I. is capable of human thought and processes, when in fact, it will never be able to compute qualities that humans have. 

   I will call a spade a spade and argue it does have good use in the form of an animal instead of a human. Take the recent Manhattan parking garage collapse, where the FDNY sent in a robo dog to search for survivors of the tragic event. In this scenario, bringing in this high tech, A.I., robotic mechanism patterned with Dalmation print will reduce human casualties by keeping FDNY members out of harm’s way. But when those same robo dogs are used as soldiers in combat drills and listening to barked commands, as recent intelligence has uncovered, will we react the same way? When they cruise the streets of Times Square on the lookout for “bad guys” and are possibly armed, will we think they’re cute and helpful? 

   A.I. is growing exponentially faster over time. One of the biggest proponents to this new wave of A.I. explosion has to be ChatGPT. The relatively new tool is being used for everything from Ryan Reynolds commercials to college term papers. It’s a total copout, especially for college kids who manage to get away with it, as no longer is there potential for original ideas. To let a bot dictate your journey through your undergraduate degree strips away the ability to let your own critical thinking shine. 

   It only took ChatGPT five days to reach one million users, seemingly a record compared to the other mainstream social media and chatbot platforms. If that wasn’t the first red flag for you, I don’t know what would be. 

   We put this technology in the hands of children as we code it into platforms like Snapchat, allowing easy access to an entity much bigger than we can honestly understand. Though you have to hand it to them, it’s implemented beautifully given their goal of normalization. If you want to change the trajectory of a society, you start with the children. Hence the implementation into Snapchat, with a majority-teen userbase. 

   I have argued for months that giving humans the opportunity to open the door to all this thoughtless convenience will come with repercussions once evolution takes over. As a society, we always strive for things to be bigger and better, but given what A.I. has already contributed to our society in the few short months since its most recent explosion, it is crucial to consider that bigger and better sometimes point in different directions.