Yes, I know I recently railed on Twitter that all of the fanboy sites are getting cheap clicks by asking AI stuff and writing posts about what it says. In fact, I will lay good money that they not only ask AI questions like “Who should play Superman in the new movie?” “Who should be the new drummer for Rush?” and “What should the plot of the next Star Wars movie be?” but they also ask AI to write the shitty 1000-word article that pads the answer. Is it exciting? Is it riveting? Is it journalism? Screw it, if people are entertained with that, then surely I’ll get 20 or 30 clicks posting my Google search results.

I’d been avoiding the whole “AI” content thing because 1) I’ve had this stigma that technobuzz is beneath me ever since I became known as the early adopter of doomed platforms like Frappr, Plurk, Jaiku, Friendster, Twitter, etc., and 2) I’ve been using the Azure AI platform at work, so really, how good could the free stuff be? Cripes, I used to work for ChaCha, you know. I know how all that stuff works behind the curtain. I’m not buying the hype.

Finally, having written a new story and desperately needing a book cover so I could post the eBook on my main site, I started playing with the various AI art-generating sites that are out there. Not being an artist, I thought it was pretty cool that I supposedly could just give the AI a description and it would, in seconds, produce my desired artwork which I would actually own without commissioning an artist and paying extortionist reproduction rights. After all, I just wanted a picture of “a man crossing a slightly futuristic-looking street in the rain.” How hard could this be?

Wait … no … could you–

Yeah, but you’re not getting —

Whoa! Maybe no umbrella? And back the camera up, the faces you draw are creepy.

Cool! Wait … does he have three legs?! Okay, never mind. He’s not walking in the rain. Ummmmmm … he’s playing chess. Have him play chess with another guy.

Hey, that’s nice. Uhm, why do they look like 19th-century barbers? Oh yeah, forgot to tell it about futuristic city. Wait … how many pieces are on that giant chessboard?!

Oh yea, I forgot AI is notoriously (and hilariously) clueless about chess.

Now, eventually, I did get the cover that I wanted … after I did a bit of PhotoShop editing to adjust the number of fingers and get the bat-nosed guy out of the background. In fact, during my refinement, I also got covers for three more books that I now have to write, even though I had no idea (at the time) what they were going to be about.

Finally, bored with book covers, I started working on new promotional material for Indy In-Tune. I thought maybe some cool pictures to spruce up the website would be nice. Yeah, maybe not. Who would have thought “Photograph of a few supermodels visiting Studio B” would look like a Star Trek transporter accident?

So after a few weeks of having fun with all of that, I started playing around with ChatGPT, which it turns out is really good at coming up with outlines for books (it gave me pretty good synopses for those three books I already had cool covers for), quick bits of source code (always improving the station software), and ad copy for radio spots. It’s a bit basic, sure, but at least it’s not the nightmare fuel the AI artist was giving me. Jokingly I had it write a promo for Saturday’s live broadcast on Indy In-Tune.

Uhhhh … wait … that is spot on … but, I never mentioned anything about local music. How did it know Indy In-Tune was a local music station?!

Well, I’ll be darned. I’m famous! So, wait, if you know about THAT, then …

Awwww, that’s so sweet. Influential? Highly regarded? I had no idea. Wait … I definitely was not a founding member of “The Outer Vibe.” I mean, I was a dedicated drinker in the early 2000’s, but I’m pretty sure I would have remembered doing that.

But hey, as long as you’re re-writing my history to make me sound more interesting than I am …

Dammit. So, I guess AI can’t to everything yet.