Welcome to the 21st Century!

If you are like me, you might have responded to an invitation to attend Thangsgiving 2022, the day-after-Thanksgiving alternative arts event at the Somerville Arts Armory.  Unlike me, you probably did not consider delivering an arts lecture, on let's say, "The influence of cheese on art in the western tradition."  If you happened to see this lecture and wonder, "what's up with that?" that's fine.  I can only congratulate you for viewing it.  You are now considered an early witness to the new groundbreaking technology of generative Artificial Intelligence.

Let me ask my companion, ChatGPT, to present an explanation:  

ChatGPT, please describe the fundamentals of generative AI, ChatGPT, and Standard Diffusion.

"Generative AI is a type of artificial intelligence that involves the use of algorithms to generate new data or content that is similar to existing data. This can include creating images, music, text, or even entire videos or 3D models. Generative AI is typically trained on large datasets and uses probabilistic models to learn patterns and generate new content that is similar to the original data.

ChatGPT, or GPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer), is a specific type of generative AI that is designed to generate natural language text. It is based on the transformer architecture and is trained on large amounts of text data, such as books, articles, and web pages. ChatGPT is capable of generating high-quality text that can be used for a variety of applications, including chatbots, virtual assistants, and text summarization.

Standard diffusion is a concept in physics that describes the process by which particles spread out from an area of high concentration to an area of low concentration. In the context of generative AI, standard diffusion refers to the process by which a generative model creates new data by sampling from a probability distribution. The generated data is then compared to the original data, and the model is adjusted to improve the quality of the generated data. This process is repeated until the generated data is of high quality and resembles the original data as closely as possible."

I think that covers it well.  I found these technologies almost half a year before the media picked up on them and started making them known.  If you asked someone about ChatGPT or generative AI sometime in November 2022, you would probably be met with a blank stare.  Here we are a few short months later, and hardly a day goes by without a couple articles in the New York Times or new reports on NPR.  For example, on the date I write this, I spotted the following news from the New York Times:

March 8


Noam Chomsky: The False Promise of ChatGPT

The most prominent strain of A.I. encodes a flawed conception of language and knowledge.

By Noam Chomsky, Ian Roberts and Jeffrey Watumull

March 7


A New ‘M*A*S*H’ Scene: Written by ChatGPT, Read by Hawkeye and B.J.

Alan Alda, the star of the long-running sitcom, asked the artificial intelligence software to create a script for him and his former co-star Mike Farrell to read.

By Julia Jacobs

Is ChatGPT Painless? You Be the Judge.|March 9, 2023, Page C4

March 4


Could the Next Great Author Be a Robot? We Asked (Human) Writers.

At the PEN America Literary Awards, David Sedaris, Judith Thurman and others discussed the role A.I. could play in literature.

By Anna Grace Lee

March 3


Need to Write Your Vows? A.I. Can Help.

Artificial intelligence is steadily becoming a trusty tool for composing wedding speeches. Should it be?

By Tammy LaGorce

I guess that the long and short of it is that it is becoming increasingly difficult to determine if something you are experiencing is the product of human beings or something generated by software.  

Thanks again for attending ThangsGiving and my presentation on "The influence of cheese on art in the western tradition."  You, the audience member were one of the first to witness the use of ChatGPT and Standard Diffusion to create an alternate reality, a world that could plausibly exist, but did not until the time of the presentation.  Please don't call this a hoax.  It is entirely a fictional work containing some true elements, or, "based on a true story."