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Cake day: July 5th, 2023

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  • The problem is that undermining artists by dispersing open source AI to everyone, without having a fundamental change in copyright law that removes power from the corporations as well as individual artists, and a fundamental change in labour law, wealth distribution, and literally everything else, just screws artists over. Proceeding with open source AI, without any other plans or even a realistic path to a complete change in our social and economic structure, is basically just saying “yeah, we’ll sort out the problems later, but right now we’re entitled to do whatever we want, and fuck everybody else”. And that is the tech bro mindset, and the fossil fuel industry, and so, so many others.

    AI should be regulated into oblivion until such a time as our social and economic structures can handle it, ie, when all the power and wealth has been redistributed away from the 1% and evenly into the hands of everyone. Open source AI will not change the power that corporations hold. We know this because open source software hasn’t meaningfully changed the power they hold.

    I’m also sick of the excuse that AI helps people express themselves, like artistic expression has always been behind some impenetrable wall, with some gatekeeper only allowing a chosen few access. Every single artist had to work incredibly hard to learn the skill. It’s not some innate talent that is gifted to a lucky few. It takes hard work and dedication, just like any other skill. Nothing has ever stopped anyone learning that except the willingness to put the effort in. I don’t think people who tried one doodle and gave up because it was hard are a justifiable reason to destroy workers’ livelihoods.


  • When the purpose of gathering the data is to create a tool that destroys someone’s livelihood, the act of training an AI is not merely “observation”. The AIs cannot exist without using content created by other people, and the spirit of open source doesn’t include appropriating content without consent - especially when it is not for research or educational purposes, but to create a tool that will be used commercially, which open source ones inevitably will be, given the stated purpose is to compete with corporate models.

    No argument you can make will convince me that what open source AI proponents are doing is any less unethical or exploitative than what the corporate ones are. Both feel entitled to artists’ labour in exchange for no compensation, and have absolutely no regard for the negative impacts of their projects. The only difference between CEO AI tech bros and open source AI tech bros is the level of wealth. The arrogant entitlement is just the same in both.


  • Taking artists’ work without consent or compensation goes against the spirit of open source, though, doesn’t it? The concept of open source relies upon the fact that everyone involved is knowingly and voluntarily contributing towards a project that is open for all to use. It has never, ever been the case that if someone doesn’t volunteer their contributions, their work should simply be appropriated for the project without their consent. Just look at open source software: that is created and maintained by volunteers, and others contribute to it voluntarily. It has never, ever been okay for an open source dev to simply grab whatever they want to use if the creator hasn’t explicitly released it under an applicable licence.

    If the open source AI movement wants to be seen as anything but an enemy to artists, then it cannot just stomp on artists’ rights in exactly the same way the corporate AIs have. Open source AIs need to have a conversation about consent and informed participation in the project. If an artist chooses to release all their work under an open source licence, then of course open source AIs should be free to use it. But simply taking art without consent or compensation with the claim that it’s fine because the corporate AIs are doing it too is not a good look and goes against the spirit of what open source is. Destroying artists’ livelihoods while claiming they are saving them from someone else destroying their livelihoods will never inspire the kind of enthusiasm from artists that open source AI proponents weirdly feel entitled to.

    This is ultimately my problem with the proponents of AI. The open source community is, largely, an amazing group of people whose work I really respect and admire. But genuine proponents of open source aren’t so entitled that they think anyone who doesn’t voluntarily agree to participate in their project should be compelled to do so, which is at the centre of the open source AI community. Open source AI proponents want to have all the data for free, just like the corporate AIs and their tech bro CEOs do, cloaking it in the words of open source while undermining everything that is amazing about open source. I really can’t understand why you don’t see that forcing artists to work for open source projects for free is just as unethical as corporations doing it, and the more AI proponents argue that it’s fine because it’s not evil when they do it, the more artists will see them as being just as evil as the corporations. You cannot force someone to volunteer.


  • Destroying the rights of artists to the benefit of AI owners doesn’t achieve that goal. Outside of the extremely wealthy who can produce art for art’s sake, art is a form of skilled labour that is a livelihood for a great many people, particularly the forms of art that are most at risk from AI - graphic design, illustration, concept art, etc. Most of the people in these roles are freelancers who aren’t in salaried jobs that can be regulated with labour laws. They are typically commissioned to produce specific pieces of art. I really don’t think AI enthusiasts have any idea how rare stable, long-term jobs in art actually are. The vast majority of artists are freelancers: it’s essentially a gig-economy.

    Changes to labour laws protect artists who are employees - which we absolutely should do, so that companies can’t simply employ artists, train AI on their work, then fire them all. That absolutely needs to happen. But that doesn’t protect freelancers from companies that say “we’ll buy a few pieces from that artist, then train an AI on their work so we never have to commission them again”. It is incredibly complex to redefine commissions as waged employment in such a way that the company can both use the work for AI training while the artist is ensured future employment. And then there’s the issue of the companies that say “we’ll just download their portfolio, then train an AI on the portfolio so we never have to pay them anything”. All of the AI companies in existence fall into this category at present - they are making billions on the backs of labour they have never paid for, and have no intention of ever paying for. There seems to be no rush to say that they were actually employing those millions of artists, who are now owed back-pay for years worth of labour and all the other rights that workers protected by labour laws should have.


  • Labour law alone, in terms of the terms under which people are employed and how they are paid, does not protect freelancers from the scenario that you, and so many others, advocate for: a multitude of individuals all training their own AIs. No AI advocate has ever proposed a viable and practical solution to the large number of artists who aren’t directly employed by a company but are still exposed to all the downsides of unregulated AI.

    The reality is that artists need to be paid for their work. That needs to happen at some point in the process. If AI companies (or individuals setting up their own customised AIs) don’t want to pay in advance to obtain the training data, then they’re going to have to pay from the profits generated by the AI. Continuing the status quo, where AIs can use artists’ labour without paying them at all is not an acceptable or viable long-term plan.



  • I did actually specify that I think the solution is extending labour laws to cover the entire sector, although it seems that you accidentally missed that in your enthusiasm to insist that the solution is having AI on more devices. However, so far I haven’t seen any practical solutions as to how to extend labour laws to protect freelancers who will lose business to AI but don’t have a specific employer that the labour laws will apply to. Retroactively assigning profits from AI to freelancers who have lost out during the process doesn’t seem practical.



  • I remember reading that a little while back. I definitely agree that the solution isn’t extending copyright, but extending labour laws on a sector-wide basis. Because this is the ultimate problem with AI: the economic benefits are only going to a small handful, while everybody else loses out because of increased financial and employment insecurity.

    So the question that comes to mind is exactly how, on a practical level, it would work to make sure that when a company scrapes data, trains and AI, and then makes billions of dollars, the thousands or millions of people who created the data all get a cut after the fact. Because particularly in the creative sector, a lot of people are freelancers who don’t have a specific employer they can go after. From a purely practical perspective, paying artists before the data is used makes sure all those freelancers get paid. Waiting until the company makes a profit, taxing it out of them, and then distributing it to artists doesn’t seem practical to me.



  • frog 🐸@beehaw.orgtoGaming@beehaw.orgLet's discuss: Stardew Valley
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    29 days ago

    The first time I played My Time at Portia, I had the same issue, and it felt like it took ages and ages to do the bridge. It was much easier on subsequent playthroughs. Basically what I did was build about 6 furnaces to get the crafting going early on, and always had at least 2 of each subsequent crafting station (more as space and resources allowed, although there were a few that just one was sufficient for. Making sure you get a crafting commission every day really helps as well, because that’s your main source of income, which makes it easier to afford more land, inventory upgrades, etc. Fishing is also ridiculously lucrative once you get good at it.

    What my Portia daily routine normally looks like is something like this:

    • Wake up, check mail (if any).

    • Grab resources that have crafted overnight (if any).

    • Go to town hall and pick a commission, looking for something that I have most or all of the materials to craft. The plan is to get it made and delivered that day if possible, so if there’s a choice of something that doesn’t pay well but can be done immediately or something that pays better but will take 2-3 days to make happen, I pick the low paying one.

    • Check map to see if any locals have quests that day. If they do, go and get the quests.

    • Go home and craft the commission item, plus any items required by other quests picked up that day. If any crafting stations have finished production, set them going again.

    • Deliver crafted item to recipient(s).

    • Gather resources for the rest of the day. I usually pick one activity and stick to it, say mining, fishing, hunting (the sound of dying colourful llamas makes me sad, but I want their pelts), etc.

    • Check crafting stations when stamina has run out. Set more crafting going if needed.

    • Go to bed.

    The other thing is that the big “main” quests for building those major projects aren’t necessarily meant to be done quickly, as they’re the bigger story events that gate your progress through the game. Once I stopped trying to get them done as quickly as possible, and let myself get sidetracked on other stuff, I enjoyed the game a lot more. I spent quite a lot of time just spending whole days on, say, just mining, or harvesting wood, or fishing, while ignoring the bridge entirely. (I actually think I spent about two weeks fishing once. I got really, really into it. It then took me another week to sell them all.) By the time I thought “oh yeah, I should do that bridge thing”, I had more than enough of all the resources needed, and then it felt really quick to do. I ignored quite a lot of main quests for a really long time, including one that narratively I should have done much quicker. Let’s just say that

    spoiler

    Portia went without clean drinking water for so long that everybody should have died

    Speaking purely from my own experience, the mistake I made with My Time at Portia the first time I played it was I was too focused on being goal-oriented by following the main quest. But the game’s not really about that. I had a much better time when I slowed down, focused less on the main quest, and more on crafting stuff for the locals (so many stone stools) and selling them preposterous amounts of fish.




  • The weird thing about Stardew Valley is I cannot understand why I don’t like it. I’ve tried to like it. I’ve poured many hours into games in the same genre, but I haven’t even managed to get 2 hours into Stardew Valley and I do not understand why. I can’t point at anything in particular that doesn’t work for me, and it’s exactly the kind of game I love to play, so I’m honestly perplexed as to why I don’t like it.


  • Ridiculous. Nigel Farage is part of a great entertainment machine. He is not someone who can govern this country. Reform is a giant ego trip, not a serious programme of alternative change. Nigel Farage provides amusement and diversion. What he does not provide is authority and good governance. In this country, whoever we vote for in the end, the British people choose authoritative, sensible managers, whether from the left or the right. What they don’t do, is go in for the performative politics that Nigel has made such a successful financial career out of.

    ~Michael Gove, Times Radio on Monday 17th June, who previously helped Boris Johnson to become prime minister and then served in his cabiet.




  • Yeah, I think some of the questions definitely come from the US version of the site (“should teachers be allowed to carry guns at school?” comes to mind), and aren’t really applicable to the UK.

    90% Lib Dems and Greens for me (89% Labour) at one end, and 22% for Reform at the other. Digging deeper into the results, the areas I agree with Reform on include things that they agree with progressives on, like reforming political donations, and things where literally all the parties agree, like whether the government has done enough to deal with inflation.


  • Probably I Side With is your best option.

    Also check your local media websites. Mine recently published a collection of personal statements from each of the candidates in my constituency, where all but one made their case for why people should vote for them. While it doesn’t dive deep into policies, it can give you an overall feel for what individual candidates are like. (Suffice to say, the independent candidate in my constituency who got kicked out of Reform for their social media posts, and sued a school for vaccinating children, is not going to get my vote.)


  • But this is the point: the AIs will always need input from some source or another. Consider using AI to generate search results. Those will need to be updated with new information and knowledge, because an AI that can only answer questions related to things known before 2023 will very quickly become obsolete. So it must be updated. But AIs do not know what is going on in the world. They have no sensory capacity of their own, and so their inputs require data that is ultimately, at some point in the process, created by a human who does have the sensory capacity to observe what is happening in the world and write it down. And if the AI simply takes that writing without compensating the human, then the human will stop writing, because they will have had to get a different job to buy food, rent, etc.

    No amount of “we can train AIs on AI-generated content” is going to fix the fundamental problem that the world is not static and AI’s don’t have the capacity to observe what is changing. They will always be reliant on humans. Taking human input without paying for it disincentivises humans from producing content, and this will eventually create problems for the AI.