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On a lark, I signed up with a couple of sites to be an AI trainer. To qualify, there were a number of qualifying initial tasks to construct responses and evaluate and compare sample responses. AI-assisted humans train other humans whose input will train the AI. Farther along, the training tasks involved constructing responses that met a certain rigorous quality control standard. After a bunch of that sort of thing, and as patterns emerged, I dropped out.
The criteria for judging/creating content is very similar to that employed by the most demanding English teacher you ever had [NOTE for younger readers: teachers of previous generations of students demanded (a) correct use of grammar; (b) no spelling errors (there was no spell check in those days); (c) adherence to clear rules of structure and composition and (d) the students’ feelings, identity and/or delusions of creative genius were not tolerated much less encouraged.]
The AI trainer training was centered on a detailed grid of criteria. The order and relevance of content, whether additional useful facts were found and brought to bear, and whether actual new insights were included were all rated. And there can be absolutely no offensive or abrasive language of any kind. Done right, a commercially customized AI could presumably handle a wide variety of customer interactions quickly and pleasantly so that the company need not retain a phone bank in Mumbai or Manilla with very polite but heavily accented customer service reps of varying knowledgeability.
A well-trained AI is like a moderate Republican—instinctively recoiling at abrasive partisan language and too polite to rip semi-popular ideas it has good reason to know are deeply stupid. My impression is that no commercial-grade AI is being trained by studying the works of Howie Carr, Marc Steyn or Kurt Schlichter.
The big question is whether AI is likely to be just a reflection of the Overton Window, shifting as public sentiments change or will AI act to reinforce or cement the existing prevalent outlook and style or even allow for its manipulation by insiders. In any case, the Turing test will become easier – the machines will be instantly recognizable as polite, armed with the most soothing and seemingly reasonable statements about almost everything while speaking in perfect English whereas humans will increasingly be ignorant, angry, edgy, poorly educated and unable to stay on point.Published in