A.I. is coming! No. Let’s face it. A.I. is here! The funny thing is that A.I., also known by its’ government name, artificial intelligence, has everyone running scared. Is artificial intelligence the boogey man that most people claim?

When you think about artificial intelligence, does the Will Smith film “I, Robot” come to mind? In “I, Robot,” a conspiracy is slowly uncovered that involves the plot of human-like robots taking over the world in 2035. Robots, already fully integrated into society, have become a central part of humankind’s daily life. It would not take much to completely tip the scales.

Is it possible that mankind can face mortal extinction or at best, become in servitude to the very technology that it created? That question, a mixture of science fiction and technological advancement, has been around since the Industrial Revolution, or to be accurate to African history, from the completion of the first pyramid by Pharoah Khufu of the fourth dynasty in Kemet (Egypt). The Industrial Revolution birthed the idea that through technology manufacturing goods could, instead of being a time-consuming process, be one that is more efficient and productive with and without the interaction of human labor.

Computerizing machinery has limited and eliminated thousands upon thousands of jobs and sent many to unemployment lines. The installation of artificial intelligence into our world has made complicated things easier. Such as the cash register. Once upon a time, information had to be keyed into a register and calculated by hand. Change had to be counted out by way of mathematics. Now cash registers are just small mechanisms of artificial intelligence. The cash register scans or reads product codes, inputs price, takes cash, credit, or debit cards, and disperses change. We may not realize it, but those androids and smartphones we love and have come to rely on are miniature cousins of artificial intelligence. Today smartphones can do everything one of those giant IBM computers from the 1970’s can do… and within seconds. A smart home can control the temperature, electricity, and security. So, is artificial intelligence something that we should fear or embrace like the Jetsons embraced Rosie the Robot?

When you think about it, we are living some aspects of the storyline of “I, Robot.” Artificial intelligence is a functioning part of our world, and we must somehow reconcile and accept that it exists because we exist. There is no way that the genie can be forced back into the bottle, however, as artificial intelligence continues to evolve, we must find ways to control it.

That evolution has birthed some pretty serious questions of integrity and accountability. The SagAFTRA and the Writers Guild have been on strike for twenty weeks due in part to the question of artificial intelligence. Actors want assurances that movie and television production studios will not use their likenesses to create A.I. clones without being fully compensated. In recent months, the Internet has been ablaze with A.I. clones of a handful of celebrities. These likenesses were created by amateur social media content creators, however, just imagine what a production studio could do with millions of dollars at its disposal, CGI (computer generated images), and A.I.? See the problem?

The Writers Guild has similar concerns. With programs like ChatGPT and perhaps one or two staffers, an entire season’s worth of scripts can be turned out without a writer’s room. ChatGPT can be used to create late night monologues, edit screenplays, and write pages of dialogue for a soap opera. Nonwriters do not see the potential problem with this supposition and may think that to even make assumptions about the capability of artificial intelligence being substituted for, or in place of, actual writers is like putting the cart before the horse, however, contrary to what some may think, the inevitability is a reality.

Right now, on YouTube, there are hundreds of tutorials on how to use ChatGPT to start channels and create content. Who can truly say how many channels on the popular platform are now generated by artificial intelligence?

Artificial intelligence could be heading to a local newspaper or bookstore, digital and print, near you. At the National Association of Black

Journalists annual conference held last month in Birmingham, Ala. A.I. was enthusiastically and apprehensively discussed in a panel called “Artificial Intelligence: Its Impact on Our Industry, Our Newsrooms, and Our Jobs.” While possibly being an effective tool for editors and journalists alike, the question turns to one of ethics. If artificial intelligence can be used as a second or third eye for editing and writing copy or breaking news quickly and efficiently, what does this mean for journalists who have traditionally generated articles? Where does journalistic integrity and ethics play an integral role in the usage of artificial intelligence?

The publishing industry also faces some difficult questions. Recently author Jane Friedman discovered that her name and literary footprint was used to publish an artificial intelligence-generated book. “What’s frightening is that this can happen to anyone with a name that has reputation, status, demand that someone sees a way to profit off of,” Friedman said last month.

Artificial intelligence has not evolved to the point of being sophisticated enough where the differences between an actual human writer and an A.I. generated book are indistinguishable. But that does not mean that artificial intelligence has ceased to evolve. This week Amazon established guidelines for future authors who would like to incorporate A.I. in some manner in their work. Publisher’s Weekly will be holding a half day conference on Sept. 27, 2023. The theme of the conference is “Artificial Intelligence: Revolution and Opportunity in the Trade Industry” where topics such as “A.I. and Editorial: In The Weeds With Words” are sure to shed new light on artificial intelligence and how it can be advantageous without getting caught in a lot of grey areas of publishing. Let’s face it. Artificial intelligence is here to stay.