Skip to content

Re: Blogging and AI: A Personal Take

Greg wrote an interesting post earlier today, and I wanted to respond, but I had more to say than what would fit on Mastodon. So, here’s my overly long response.

A few months ago, I was browsing Instagram when I saw a picture that seemed oddly familiar. It was a post showing off computer rooms from the 90’s, and one particular room was a little too familiar. That’s when I realized, it was one of my computer rooms from the 90’s! It was the setup we had in our dining room when I lived in Texas sometime around 1997-1998.

It was eerie, as I hadn’t shared that image online much. The only time it had made its way online was on some small blog post probably a decade ago. But, someone liked it enough to grab it, save it, and then allow it to be shared around, and now some nostalgia influencer is using it for likes, which means another 2,000 influencers are going to recirculate that same image and claim it as their own.

At first, I felt a bit violated, but I knew whatever I posted online could be taken, reproduced, stolen, or misused. This has been going on since the beginning of the internet. In those early HTML days, it wasn’t unusual to work hard on creating a page, only to see half a dozen pop up utilizing all your hard work. I remember in the late 90’s, I used to edit graphics for the NBA Live series on PC and people were always taking your work, building on it, or posting elsewhere and claiming it as your own.

I guess, the internet has always had a problem with theft and using other people’s creation, but in the past, it wasn’t usually for profit. Now with AI, it brings up a weird ethical question about what is yours and what is the audience once you release it into the world. And how much worse off is it when large corporations profit from said work?

I don’t hate AI, in fact, I’ve mentioned a couple of times lately of some positive experience with AI chatbots, and more recently, I’ve utilized it to help speed up some tedious tasks where my time would be better spent elsewhere. I still wouldn’t go as far as to call myself a fan, but I’m quite neutral on the topic. Still, I get why bloggers would be upset, and even more so, if you are posting content that is private or personal.

For example, I run a small men’s mental health group online. It’s a password protected forum that is part of my self-hosted WordPress. It’s a place for me and a couple of guys to come together, share our wins and losses, and talk about the things that are important and upsetting to us. When the news of WordPress selling off content to AI companies broke, my immediate response was, “I have to take this down. It’s a violation of all the privacy I’ve tried to build in.” Luckily, it doesn’t seem like that content is at risk, but still, it’s a good example of how someone may really want to protect their content.

If I had a choice, I’d opt out of AI scraping my content, but outside of some crazy drastic measures, I don’t think we are going to be able to beat the AI machine. It’s going to churn up what we write and use it however it deems fit, and odds are someone is going to profit from it, and it won’t be us. Maybe it’ll be for the betterment of mankind or maybe it’ll lead to SkyNet, who knows? But I honestly don’t have the energy to worry about it anymore. If I was truly concerned, then I would pull all my writing off the web and move to pen and paper. That is the only way I think we can truly be secure.

(Come to think of it, a super slow by mail blogging network could be a lot of fun!)

Published inBlogging

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *