The Total Misconception of AI

There’s something that needs to be said and everyone needs to listen to it. Of course, this is a text article, so it’s going to be written out for you. Here it is: AI IS NOT MAGIC! There, I said it, and it’s disappointing that I had to. Anyone with a functional memory should be able to see through these outrage cycles by now. Every few months, there’s something brand new coming out that shocks and dismays the good people of the world because their way of life is changing and things aren’t going to be the same ever again. This time it’s AI. I can personally remember this same thing happening over digital video, digital sound, holograms, face swapping apps, streaming services, TV, even the internet. When the internet first came out, it was set to warp the minds of every child foolish enough to enter the hellish landscape of sex, drugs, and molestation that was “the world wide web.” Back when The Simpsons came out in 1989, there was national outrage at a cartoon that taught children to underachieve as much as they possibly could. This led to an entire generation that’s hooked on drugs and unemployed, or at least that’s what Nancy Reagan saw coming. AI is no different.

Why You Should Listen to Me

I’m exactly like this guy, only with less talent and somehow even more drunk.

In order to fully illustrate the total misconception around AI, I’m going to share a personal story that just happened to me. Before we get to that, let’s figure out who I actually am. You don’t know me, so you have no reason to listen to me. I know what I’m talking about, though. I’m a professional writer and I pay my bills with the things I write. You can find things I’ve written all over the internet. I also run a blog that thousands of people read every single month, but it doesn’t end there. I’m also an author. I have an actual book with my name on it and everything and people are financially invested in its success. I enjoy long walks on the beach and I’m occasionally wearing enough clothes to go out in public to make them. This is all to say that I’m well-versed in what it takes to create written content and I don’t risk my reputation or livelihood by using AI to make it for me because I get tired of pressing the letters on my keyboard.

Simple Beginnings

It smells like you want fries with that!

The whole story starts out very simply. I got an order to write an article about something. It happens every day and it’s nothing new. One thing I’ve been noticing lately, however, is that more and more of these orders are coming with an additional instruction. This instruction is that every article has to be written by real humans and by hand. In other words, the people who pay for articles to be written feel that they have to specify that they can’t be written by AI. That’s perfectly fine and it’s usually something I completely ignore. It would be like putting in an order at McDonald’s and specifying that you don’t want your food cooked by an anthropomorphized elk. You can waste your time requesting it, but it was never going to happen in the first place. Just because something is in the public consciousness doesn’t mean that it’s suddenly taking over the world.

Anyway, I got the order and did what I always do. I sat down, turned on my computer, started playing a podcast about Bigfoot, and wrote it. It was nothing out of the ordinary and I can assure each and every one of you that I personally hit the corresponding key to get every letter of the article onto the page.

I Got Caught

You’re going away for a long time, cheater!

So that was all well and good, right? I got the order, I filled the order, and that was that. The person who ordered the article received the finished product and everyone moved on with their lives. At least that’s how it should have gone. I’m sure you’ve figure out that it didn’t go down that way.

I got an email shortly after that and it wasn’t a good one. This person, who I’m not going to name, was under the impression that the article I had just sent him was written by AI. Specifically, he accused me of using ChatGPT to create almost 90% of it. In fact, here’s a quote directly from him: “I’m a bit disappointed, as you have been producing very good, well  written [sic] articles, for many years now, for me. I’m really not sure how you thought I’d somehow think that was unique/human written.”

The funny part is that this person takes the time to point out that he’s been getting very good articles for years and I did the same exact work on this one. The only difference is that now he’s heard of AI and afraid that it’s coming for him and taking over the world because the TV said so.

Battle Bots

Here’s a cosplayer because licensed film images cost money

So, why was he so convinced that I had simply punched in a few words and let a magic AI write the article while I treated myself to a glass of wine and a full service mani/pedi with a happy ending? Well, because another AI told him I did.

I’m not going to put up screenshots or anything else that can identify this person, but I’ll tell you that he used a site called Originality.AI. This is supposed to be an artificial intelligence that can look at a written work and tell you whether or not it was written by another AI. It’s like a replicant from Blade Runner giving The Voight-Kampff test to another replicant while pretending to be human by fingering the other robot as fake. It’s ridiculous down to its core and it should really be noted that this AI charges people to pick out something written by another AI. I’m telling you right now to never use this site because it’s a total scam and it’s going to rip you off.

Tarnished Reputation

Blurred to protect the gullible

So now, with my honor insulted and the wine from my mani/ pedi really kicking in, I went to work to prove my innocence. I knew it wasn’t going to be difficult since I didn’t do the thing I was accused of and I’m not a minority in the American justice system.

The first step was to look at the evidence provided by the AI. I don’t throw around coarse language lightly, but it was complete and utter bullshit. Once again, I’ll hold back on any identifying information, but this was a line that this thing picked out as being written by an AI: “Each girl has her own style of [redacted] so you can get”. Here’s another one: “Some of them just like to show off their [redacted]”. I’m not cherry picking, either. Those words are the exact lines it chose to identify as being written by AI. They’re the whole quotes and not chosen from larger paragraphs. The people behind this program want you to believe that an AI can pick out a string of 11 words and immediately know that it was created by another AI and that’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever had to write in my life. It’s not how AI works and it’s certainly not how computers work.

Evidence Collection

Not even a challenge

So now I just had to get to work on collecting evidence to prove that Originality.AI is the worst thing on the planet. I decided to fight fire with fire and simply ran the exact same article through a different AI that does the same thing. Lo and behold, it came back as being 100% written by a human. I was shocked that I actually did the work that I had literally just done instead of making a robot do it.

The thing about it is that I know these programs are nothing more than entertainment. You just have to understand how AI works to realize that. AI works by trawling the internet to find information related to your input. It then copies that information and figures out how to piece it together to make something a human can read. In other words, it plagiarizes web sites and that’s something incredibly easy to see. If I had written the article with AI, a simple check through Copyscape would throw up dozens of plagiarism hits and that’s exactly what I did. I ran it through the plagiarism checker and BOOM, not a single hit.

This is really the only thing that matters

How to Use AI

ChatGPT as understood by people who can’t be bothered

So that was all the evidence I needed. I sent it along and cleared my name, staving off the robot uprising for another few weeks. The point I’m trying to make is that AI isn’t magic. Just because people are talking about it, and it’s something new, doesn’t mean that it’s out to get you. It’s a trumped up search engine and nothing more. The final nail in the coffin of this person’s complaint was that ChatGPT can’t even be used to create content about the subject I was writing about. I tried it and it just told me no. It was a simple test that he could have run on his own, but he didn’t. It was easier for him to be afraid of something he doesn’t understand in the least, then use an obvious scam to tell him he was correct. It’s how the majority of people go about these things. They allow themselves to be manipulated by a media that wants to keep you afraid of something so you keep buying shit you don’t need. They never put in the work to actually understand the topics or situations and it leads to other people having to go out of their way to allay their fears and that’s unfair. It shouldn’t be anyone else’s responsibility to protect you from your own suggestibility.

What AI Does

Like this, only with more plagiarism

If you want to figure out how AI actually works, all you have to do is go use it. It’s not difficult to find the site and it’s not going to hypnotize you into becoming its slave. Type in anything you want and it’s going to vomit out what looks like real content.

Then I want you to take that content and run it through a plagiarism checker. Once again, they’re not difficult to find. I had to pay real money that I earned by writing real articles to run my check, but that’s just me. I had something to prove. Find any checker you can and run the ChatGPT content through it. I guarantee you that it’s going to be filled with red flags. That’s how AI works. It doesn’t create anything. Only a person can do that. What it does is take the things that real people have created and stitches them together to make something that only looks real. AI isn’t the devil and it’s not going to start writing movie scripts or authoring books. It’s a tool that people can use to skip a decent amount of research and that’s about it. It really pays to actually try and understand something before you start seeing it around every corner and in every shadow.

Calm Down

Oh, no, it’s an AI! Run!

So what can you do to fix this problem? Well, it’s really just a matter of calming the hell down. Hearing about something in the news doesn’t mean you should start screaming at people and accusing them of doing the thing the anchor talked about without understanding it in the very least. It’s irresponsible and it’s stupid. You can see it happening around you all the time and it’s really too bad. Just check out the Facebook groups you’re part of. They’re filled with people who have a very superficial understanding of hot button issues and aren’t afraid to prove their ignorance by sharing their opinions in all caps. Don’t be those people. Life is just way too short to make other people do the research for you and try to explain that the sky isn’t falling today.


Ed Sweeney

Staff Writer