Posted by Roger Mallett Posted on 11 May 2024

AI is Rapidly Taking over Humanity

We are sliding rapidly into dystopia even before the global holocaust predicted in the Apocalypse (Book of Revelation) has hit. Usually movies present dystopia as arriving after the world is wiped out in a nuclear holocaust, an asteroid impact, a global pandemic of something far worse than China Syndrome (my current name for Covid). But here are two stories in the news below that tell of how we’re sliding into techno-dystopia and one story that gives some hope that the non-elite people who populate the bulk of this world are resisting some of the techno takeover.

In the first story, we read how AI has already broadly invaded major media and kicked humans out. It is practically a sweep across numerous major publications already. AdVon is an AI content monster that became infamous when it replaced many of the human writers at Sports Illustrated. The article listed below says the writers who are left are mostly tasked with just polishing the AI’s boots so they don’t leave such a machine footprint all over the place. You know: make the story sound like it was written by a human being because, while AI can write insta-stories about any subjects you throw at it, they tend to sound repetitive and not quite human.

According to the article, the writers have also been tasked with training the AI on how to replace them by becoming more human at what it does. Many of those writers are now … replaced. Gannett and its USA Today publication now runs many non-human bylines with names made to sound human. The articles are often stilted and formulaic, leading the writers’ union to accuse them of being “shoddy AI.”

The AI is called AdVon because its primary writing tasks have been to write fake human product reviews (i.e. ads) of real products for magazines like Sports Illustrated. That will be so helpful to have a billion reviews by non-existent people who never used the product. The AI-generated writer photos that go with the reviews are accompanied with fictional AI-generated biographies. This is the new truth, even in such major and trusted rags as Sports Illustrated, according to the report.

What we found should alarm anyone who cares about a trustworthy and ethical media industry. Basically, AdVon engages in what Google calls “site reputation abuse”: it strikes deals with publishers in which it provides huge numbers of extremely low-quality product reviews — often for surprisingly prominent publications — intended to pull in traffic from people Googling things like “best ab roller.” The idea seems to be that these visitors will be fooled into thinking the recommendations were made by the publication’s actual journalists and click one of the articles’ affiliate links, kicking back a little money if they make a purchase….

We found the company’s phony authors and their work everywhere from celebrity gossip outlets like Hollywood Life and Us Weekly to venerable newspapers like the Los Angeles Times, the latter of which also told us that it had broken off its relationship with AdVon after finding its work unsatisfactory….

And after we sent detailed questions about this story to McClatchy, a large publisher of regional newspapers, it also ended its relationship with AdVon and deleted hundreds of its pieces — bylined by at least 14 fake authors — from more than 20 of its papers, ranging from the Miami Herald to the Sacramento Bee….

An earlier, archived version of its site bragged that its publishing clients included the Ziff Davis titles PC Magazine, Mashable and AskMen (Ziff Davis didn’t respond to questions about this story) as well as Hearst’s Good Housekeeping (Hearst didn’t respond to questions either) and IAC’s Dotdash Meredith publications People, Parents, Food & Wine, InStyle, Real Simple, Travel + Leisure, Better Homes & Gardens and Southern Living….

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