The Expanding Dark Forest and Generative AI



  • Author: Maggie Appleton
  • Full Title: The Expanding Dark Forest and Generative AI
  • Document Note: The document discusses the increasingly automated state of the web, with bots, scrapers and algorithmically generated content overwhelming online spaces. It explains the implications of large language models and generative AI that are capable of creating human-like text, images and videos. It suggests that humans will have to prove their authenticity in order to stand out from the generated content, by demonstrating original, critical and sophisticated thinking, using neologisms, jargon, and memes-of-the-moment. It argues that the only way to guarantee humanness is by showing up in person.
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  • Humans are members of a community of language-users inhabiting a shared world, and this primal fact makes them essentially different to large language models. We can consult the world to settle our disagreements and update our beliefs. We can, so to speak, “triangulate” on objective reality. (View Highlight)
  • La langue is the formal concept of language. These are words we print in the dictionary, distribute via educational institutions, and reprimand one another for getting it wrong. • La parole is the speech of everyday life. These are the informal, diverse, and creative speech acts we perform in conversations, social gatherings, and text to the group WhatsApp. This is where language evolves. We have designed a system that automates a standardised way of writing. We have codified la langue at a specific point in time. What we have left to play with is la parole. No language model will be able to keep up with the pace of weird internet lingo and memes. I expect we’ll lean into this. Using neologisms, jargon, euphemistic emoji, unusual phrases, ingroup dialects, and memes-of-the-moment will help signal your humanity. (View Highlight)