A few more thoughts on AI in M.b

I read some good blog posts this week about AI, from a range of perspectives. Micro.blog won’t be for everyone, but I do want it to appeal to folks who can’t wait for the AI-powered future and to folks who don’t think the benefits outweigh the potential harm. (And the majority who just want to blog and don’t follow the tech closely.)

Molly White has a post today about many of the good things AI can do, along with the costs and consequences of getting too wrapped up in the hype:

I’m glad that I took the time to experiment with AI tools, both because I understand them better and because I have found them to be useful in my day-to-day life. But even as someone who has used them and found them helpful, it’s remarkable to see the gap between what they can do and what their promoters promise they will someday be able to do.

Many of the most useful capabilities are actually not very exciting. As an example, for years Apple and Google have used machine learning to improve photo search, so you can find photos that include pets or buildings or concerts. Today, AI can take that kind of feature and super-charge it, with remarkably accurate photo summaries.

AI is not going to fizzle out like the blockchain. More and more software will embrace AI, in some cases going too far, sprinkling it throughout apps without any transparency into how it’s used. I could start to feel the temptation to go down that path too, which is why I took a step back to add the global AI setting this week, before we even have anything new that uses the setting.

No major feature should be so intertwined with AI that it can’t be clearly documented and controlled by the user. Humans are the ones who think, write blog posts, share photos, and join conversations. Some developers will push the limits, but not Micro.blog. AI will be a tool to help us, in narrow, practical ways, and I’m not interested in going much beyond that.

Manton Reece @manton