We Need AI Readers not Writers

To an individual who has to do work to write something, ChatGPT can be useful. It can be a shitty first draft generator. Maybe you can get enough raw material to edit. Maybe it can make writers more productive. I’m not sure about this, but I think it’s possible.

But as a society, we really don’t need the content that ChatGPT is generating. There’s way more content than anyone or all of can consume. And ChatGPT responses are derivative. They vary from being harmful to worthless to boring to funny. Funny in the way that improv is funny—we laugh in the moment because they came up with that on the spot, but you wouldn’t really write that down and perform it again.

We don’t need more content. If we get more now because of generators, we still can’t read more.

What I’d love to have is a AI reader. I want it to learn what I consider valuable and to surface it to me. Sometimes what I’d value is the pleasure of reading it, so in that case, I just need a link. But, sometimes, the value is just in the information, so it would be nice to get a summary with references.

In a way all of the algorithmic feeds, from YouTube to TikTok, are trying to do this, but they have the wrong value function (them not me), and can only surface their content based on my behavior.

I’d like to teach the AI my value function deliberately and not base it on my behavior, which can be erratic and not in my own best interest.

The main issue with this is that we’d need to give this AI unfettered access to the internet, maybe even inside firewalls and emails. That way leads to dystopia.