About my tumultuous week and how wonderful Mary Robinette Kowal is. Also, by request, an explanation of what AI is and isn't, and what it has to do with writing stories and creating art.
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Good morning, everyone! This is Jeffe Kennedy author of epic fantasy romance I'm here with my first cup of coffee. Ah delicious. Today is. y'all say it with me -Friday! - whoohoo September Twenty Second 2023 yeah beautiful golden september.
And it has been a week here at Chez Kennedy and ah so so here's what's been going on here and I hadn't mentioned it before. I've got my phone in my lap because I'm potentially waiting for a phone call I can mention why it's not very exciting. It's just um I didn't want to miss it if it comes in There is a ah a stink bug down here eating a grape.
The grapes are falling leaves and grapes. Um, anyway, so ah I hadn't mentioned this on social media yet because I wasn't sure if I could and my friend hadn't mentioned it because she wasn't sure if she should. We're busy respecting each other's privacy. But now this is an open open information. So anyway, on Monday my friend Mary Robinette Kowal arrived and she brought with her um the dog Captain.w Captain is a chocolate lab and he was. Her mom's service dog assisting with Parkinson's ah Mary Robinette's mom had Parkinson's she passed away at the end of July very sadly. Um, interestingly we had had the plan before this to transfer captain to David. Because her mom had progressed to the point where she could no longer really use the dog and she had gone to using a scooter um, and Mary Robinette was supposed to come out here and potentially ah I think we've been talking about. End of July beginning of August somewhere in there and then she'd said that her mom was declining and she'd better stay close to home and then her mom passed away. So anyway, apparently not everybody knows this I thought I've been pretty open about it. But my husband David has parkinson's.
He's about um, thirteen years into diagnosis. He is fairly stable and good at walking but we thought it'd be really helpful for him to to have the dog. The partner dog. So Mary Robinette arrived late Monday afternoon. She's been here all week and she is gifting us with this wonderful dog. Ah so I have to tell you all by writing this week. It's just like nothing. But. Gotten so little done this week. Ah so much for my ramping up. Um, it's just been crazy. Ah, it didn't know let me take it back. It hasn't been crazy. It's been It's been a lot It's been exhausting um in a way that I did not. Predict I really thought that I would be able to carry on with my usual routine and Mary Robinette would work with David to teach the commands and stuff and it's interesting people who have um.
People that they care for in their household neuro divergent people or that are heavily involved in like elder care and that sort of thing they're all like well yes of course this has been exhausting, Jeffe. I was like I just didn't predict that. Um, so. Yeah, it's it's been emotionally exhausting it's been um it's hard it's hard for me to explain maybe um, those of you out there who maybe some of you instantly grok this like some of my other friends did it's ah. You know, just the the transition. The Tuesday tuesday was a terrible day. Um, there was just too much going on. We tried to do too much too fast David trying to learn the commands and captain getting used to being in a new place and having traveled and be discombobulated. And the cats the cats getting used to the dog. Um, they're doing much better now. So to fast forward last night is the first night that captain stayed the night with us. Ah, the other nights he had been going back with Mary Robinette to stay in. Um, actually my friend Megan's casita so we are infinitely grateful for the hospitality of the casita this week. It's been a great place for Mary Robinette to sit to stay.
Captain's been going back with her every evening and then last night was the first night he stayed with us and the cats are getting more accustomed to to the dog being here our older Cat Jackson has lived with a dog before our younger cat Killian I'm not sure if she. He had ever seen a dog before so he was considerably freaked out at First. Ah, he's seeing coyotes out here outside the window barking at him and being obnoxious. So I think he was worried a coyote had got inside. But now everybody is settling down There were some rough spots last night. It's just been a huge transition. Um, yeah, so finally what I had to do by like Wednesday morning was get out of the middle of it. Because on Tuesday I think I was way too involved and it really had to be with you know because David was telling me stuff. He's like wow I'm Goingnna do this or I'm not gonna do that and I'm like you know what you need to talk directly to Mary Robin at about this, you need to work this out with her and. Tell her what you want to learn and what you want to use this dog for um, yeah, it was just it was It's just been a lot and it's interesting to me like which my friends immediately understand that this has been.
Ah, an exhausting week and others who who don't we just don't so um, yeah Mary Robinette will be here for a couple more days. Hopefully we'll get to do a little bit of touring about and playing.
Hopefully couldn't get her up to abicu and perfect I should check on 1 thing. so um so yes 1 thing that's ah. Funny with Mary Robinette because I've introduced her to a few people here. She's gotten to meet people and talk and talk about her background and um, her background is in puppets one of the in theater and she had a career in puppetry for 20 years and 2 different people said to her oh have you seen? forget Sarah Marshall and she's like oh I haven't and they're like oh there's puppets on that and I think it's funny that 2 different people do different occasions said this to her and so I said well you know we can watch it so last night she came over I made dinner. And we watched forgetting Sarah Marshall which is always a funny movie and so y' always like you'll enjoy watching it because it's fun. But what's funny is is you know the puppets don't come into the movie until the very very end. It's a very small part of the movie and we were both commenting on that that. It's funny that that sticks with people enough that two separate people said to her you know oh have you seen this movie in regards to puppetry and then I just have to give a general shout out. Um that this is just ah, a heroic and amazing thing.
That Mary Robin had is stewing for us. Um, giving us this dog for which she paid a tremendous amount of money to get for her mom which we would not be able to afford on our own and spending a week of her life with us dealing with this. With David the occasionally cranky although I think 1 reason why I had to step out of the middle is I think he is less cranky to other people that he is to me the the ah the joys of long term relationships right.
so um so yeah that's been pretty wonderful, wonderful and exhausting all of these things. Um I have a special request from from my mother actually. To explain what Ai is explain what artificial intelligence is and when she put it to me she said someday, you're going to have to explain this to me and I said well I'll make a note to talk about it on the podcast on Friday because I'd referenced it on Monday and she said well is think I'm the only 1 who doesn't understand what it is and I that's not true I think there are vast misunderstandings in what it is and part of it is because this is such a rapidly changing technology. Ah and we are kind of in this transition phase. Of going from something which has been the stuff of science fiction. Um and reality moving into that futuristic thing. So what we are calling ai what we are calling artificial intelligence is not the Ai of science fiction it's really a misnomer and I know this because not being techy me um, that's the only downside of having my phone in my lap is that I'm getting a.
Text messages to that's doranda actually did talking about what is our schedule today. It's been a crazy week right? school? Um, so when we talk about. Artificial intelligence in science fiction. Oh I know what I was starting to say I was giving my credit on this because I am not a techie person but John Murphy who is vice president of Sifwa is a techie person and he has actually done his. Ah. Graduate degrees in like language learning models and I will tell you what those are but he knows a lot about this and he's been the one who has collated a lot of the information on Ai for Sifwa's statement on it and so forth and so he's explained a great deal to me.
Ah, so the Ai of science fiction ah is usually something like like the sentient computer howl from 2001 space odyssey right? Ah, it is. The idea.
Or I'll stop texting withreda oh she keeps texting me all right? So when I was in neuroscience when I was getting my graduate degree in neuroscience. There were all kinds of people who were working on computer. Modeling to Mimic Neural Models so basically they were trying to create a computational analog of the human brain right? So we have like in star trek next generation we have data right? Lieutenant data. Who has the positronic brain and basically the positronic brain was I mean he's an artificial intelligence right? It's this created intelligence instead of born with a squishy human brain he is born. He is made right? It is. A computer um human made version of human intelligence. So if we take lieutenant data as being like the high end of artificial intelligence and and he's a great example because. Um, you know my friend melinda snodgrass. She wrote the star trek next generation episode the measure of a man in which they test whether or not data is is a living being or is he or a robot is he a machine is he a person. Ah.
And and it's interesting. You know like how do you decide? How do you decide? What is simply mimicking human intelligence. What's a sophisticated program because we have computers right? that can win chess matches against chess masters. But that's all. Equations right? It's it's all the math that's in there. So what's going on today is we have all of these enterprising tech companies referring to what they're doing as Ai as artificial intelligence because it's sexy and interesting right. But really, what they are are sophisticated computer programs and you know drawing from the example of lieutenant data this line where we decide. What is what is. Um, a sophisticated program and what is artificial intelligence and what is human intelligence right? We we don't have definitions for these things but we do know that.
Calling what we have now artificial intelligence really is a misnomer ah, no matter what places like chat Gpt are claiming what it is is it's it's a language learning model or machine language and. So if we think about chess where you take um you put in all of the rules that these pieces can move in these ways and this is the objective and you know here are the infinite possibilities of. How this game can play out. It's the computer learns right? Well a program like chat Gpt which is a program and it was released and you know. I think via like iphone apps and that sort of thing I I don't have it I've never tried it but what they did was they took language and are taking language and feeding it into the computer so that the computer learns. How to string language together in new ways. So this is one of the problems with the writing community in that what they've done is they've taken books and fed the books into this computer for it to learn how to write a book. So.
Without paying any of the authors. So. There's a lot of debate is this theft and of course the the tech bros are like no these books were available for free. They did a lot of scraping of like archive of our own a o three because that's put up for free. Ah, they took books that were offered for free by authors as marketing tools. They probably also taken books that were not offered for free and the computer takes those things and mashes them up and. People are using this as a shortcut to write. So I know of a number of people who like want to have always wanted to write a novel right? All these people who always wanted to write a novel because they've got the great idea for a novel but they don't actually want to have to sit down and spend the time to write. Ah, take their ideas and they feed it into chat Gpt and they can say things like um, write a novel with a horse his boy and a magical sword in the style of cs lewis and the computer program will spit something out and then they I don't know presumably edit it apparently a lot of people are just throwing things up. There was an interesting case of a lawyer that used um, chat gpp for ah.
Like a brief for a court document I don't know exactly what it was ah and what's funny is is that the chat Gpt was able to pull out previous examples of cases where this had happened only none of them turned out to be real. Because the computer can't distinguish between. For example, if I write a book about a plane crash and I say oh it's delta Nine seventeen that you know burned up because of this valid thing the computer finds that and says oh here's an example and it put it into. This lawyer's case, um, not great right? So so basically what they are calling artificial. Intelligence would be like if.
You know, like this comes back to that human creativity right? chat Gpt a computer maybe someday. But we're certainly not at the point where it can create a story that is creatively generated. What it's doing is it's taking puzzle pieces that have had the edges filed off and mashing them together and saying here is something that contains all of the elements of what you asked for? Ah yeah, so so that's it. In a nutshell it is much more accurate when people talk about it to call it machine language or a language learning model rather than ai but everybody's calling it ai because that's what the tech bros want to call it. Um ai generated art. Works in exactly the same way they have taken art from human artists fed it in and then you can you know put in your terms and say I want a redheaded woman and. You know they argue that there's creative input to this because then they have to refine it and everything but but is it ah humans always looking for shortcuts right? right? Not all because.
And I'm going a little bit over today. But you know if we come back to this thing about the people who've always wanted to write a novel if only they could find the time and you know we've talked about that extensively on this podcast over the years the thing about learning to write a book. Is is that all of the virtue lies on the journey folks. It's not having the product. It's not being able to flip your book around and say look how special I am it's it's about the creative journey. It's about the pain. It's about the difficulty of making yourself work. Day after day after day and learning to pull together from yourself. How to tell a story refining your craft ah building your creative flow clearing out those pipes you know it's some.
Well enough said on that. What why as human beings. Do we try to do a thing are we only trying to do it to impress other people or are we doing it to learn and grow as human beings and I think the answer to that will hugely depend on. Ah. Who's answering the question. So on that note ah that should give you some things to think about I hope you all have a great weekend I will talk to you all on Monday you all take care bye bye.