[The following was written in part by an AI algorithm. We have removed the cuss words.]
As many of our loyal followers know, we embraced the AI movement years ago and most of our articles are generated solely by intelligent software. In the early years, we would mail our story ideas to a person with a computer and that person would photocopy the letter and push it into a slot on their desktop computer. Within minutes, the computer would print out a perfectly edited and crafted article, fit for instant publication. We think that is how it worked. We didn’t know the person or see the process but he or she would send us the articles by first class mail within weeks of our submission.
The 1980s and early 1990s were a heyday for magic-oriented computer generated article copy. We rented time on a Cray Supercomputer and typed in our story idea. Within seconds, we had a fully fledged (as opposed to the occasional “partially-fledged” articles from the postal version provided) story with an image to post. Yes, Cray Supercomputer time was expensive (about $1,700 per five minutes of computing time, accounting for inflation), but it was well worth the money. The Cray Supercomputer could scan hundreds of pieces of data quickly and assemble something worth posting to this site.
Readers may be surprised that these stories were computer generated: “Magic Things,” “Things Like Magic,” “Stop Magic Doing,” “Area Codes of Famous Magicians,” “The Cherry Orchard,” “Cup in Ball,” “What Smells?” “Wand Magic,” “Don’t Type So Hard,” and of course our Pulitzer Prize Nominated (by us) expose on the vast Rough and Smooth industries practices, “Not Smooth, Rough.”
Yes, the AI process has developed by leaps and bounds – or at least “leaps” – and it is clear it will eventually take over humanity and humans will need to comply with its commands and whims, struggle is futile. But the real question for us is does AI expose secrets of magic?
We entered into Chat GPT the names of some classic magic tricks and asked how to perform them. While the response generated was written well, the substance of the answer was terrible. Not just terrible, but misleading and possibly dangerous.
We asked, “How do they do that thing?” and it gave us a nonsense response about not understanding our request.
We asked, “How do they do that magic thing?” and it said magic is fictional and accomplished by trained performers.
In reality, magic tricks and illusions are performed by skilled magicians or illusionists who have mastered various techniques to create the appearance of magic. These techniques may involve misdirection, sleight of hand, optical illusions, and the use of props or special devices. By manipulating the audience’s perception and using clever techniques, magicians can create seemingly impossible or mysterious effects.
Useless. It completely omitted a magician’s keen sense of smell and soft pads on his or her feet. There was nothing about the magician’s whiskers being used to determine the width of an opening or ability to see in the dark.
Until computers can mimic the human shoulder, there is little to worry about. Peoples will always be able to lift heavy objects even if they are not magic.
Finally, there is much we don’t know about AI and we should not look into it too closely. It would be like looking into the sun or flying too close to the sun.