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Patton Oswalt Offers A Bleak Look At The Future Of A.I.

By Andrew Sanford | Celebrity | July 18, 2023 |

By Andrew Sanford | Celebrity | July 18, 2023 |


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Artificial Intelligence is here to stay. There is no putting the toothpaste back in the tube. I’ll be honest and say that my primary concerns about A.I. have been related to my career. I’m a writer (and director), and A.I. is already being used to avoid paying writers. It’s a big sticking point in the ongoing WGA strike. Still, thinking about A.I. in its doomiest and gloomiest form has escaped my purview. That is until Patton Oswalt brought it up on Conan O’Brien Needs A Friend.

Patton has long been one of my favorite comedians. He’s nerdy, insightful, and can be goofy as hell. When he talks, I listen. On his latest appearance on Conan’s podcast, Oswalt discussed the future of A.I. and how we are pretty much already living in it. Yes, A.I. is still developing, but as someone put it to Oswalt, there is no shutting the machines down. A.I. has reached a point where it can repair itself if necessary. If the Artificial Intelligence that controls our water or, say, our nuclear weapons don’t want to be shut down, it won’t.

Another aspect of A.I. getting more efficient that I never thought about is the removal of sentiment that is negative toward the almighty machines. If you say something inflammatory about A.I., then the A.I. will remove that. At some point, it may even remove you. I’ve been talking negatively about A.I. since people started getting generated profile pictures that look like knock-off Lisa Frank art. There is at least enough to get me put on a watchlist.

Surprisingly, Conan is the one who comes in with a bit of a salve. Yes, people are claiming these things could happen with Artificial Intelligence. People also thought that reaching the year 2000 would set the world ablaze with chaos and broken ATMs. Unless you’ve read an old spec script of mine, Y2K never happened.

The prospect of A.I. growing and learning is a frightening one. Still, there is hope. Is that hope foolish? Ask me again if I wind up getting rounded up by robot assassins. It may sound cool, but I’m sure I’ll be terrified.