Willow Enters The Disturbing World of Artificial Intelligence – Then Gets Weird With My Shoe

Prompt: I have a travel blog where I share stories of travelling in a campervan around Australia with my cat, Willow. AI, please write me a piece on how changing AI technology affects the media we consume of which we already struggle to know what's real. End with the sentiment that there is no better experience than authenticity itself, and reveal the paradox that the piece was written by AI itself.

*Start AI response*

In our campervan escapades through Australia, joined by our curious cat Willow, we journey through a shifting technological landscape that blurs the line between reality and illusion, making it harder to decipher the authenticity of the media we encounter.

As we capture Willow’s insights in our travel tales, the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) adds a new layer of complexity to this struggle online. But amid this whirlwind, the enduring truth shines bright: authenticity is the richest experience of all.

AI can imitate, but it can’t replicate the raw moments that define us. Willow’s unfiltered view, whether amid Australia’s serene landscapes or its bustling towns, holds the power of authenticity.

Here’s the twist—this contemplation on technology and truth is crafted by an AI, highlighting the very essence it speaks of, seamlessly intertwined with Willow’s remarkable journey.

*End AI response*

Okay, that’s enough writing for today, robots! This is Rich here now, I promise! What a scary world we are living in. The story above was written with an Artificial Intelligence tool known as ChatGPT which accepts a text prompt and uses language models to generate a reply.

Did it do a job? It certainly made some interesting points, but to me the writing lacks heart and is missing the depth of experience of the human mind.

You may have noticed something odd about the photos too; they too are fake, having been generated by a tool called MidJourney. It too takes a prompt and then uses AI algorithms to produce realistic images. Would you believe they were of Willow? They are quite convincing, but I can tell you they aren’t real.

The reason I did this little experiment is that not everyone may be aware that we have entered this AI age; I’m seeing AI generated images on Facebook and Instagram now which are being passed off as real life – a complicated problem indeed.

Recently, I saw some lovely photos on Facebook of a lady who crochets giant cats. On first glance it seemed to be a heartwarming story, but on further inspection something seemed off; the lady’s appearance morphed inconsistently through the photos revealing the story to be fake.

What I can tell you is that this will be the first and last time Willow visits the realm of AI, but while we are here let’s have a little fun.

I have always wanted to take Willow to the iconic graffitied laneways of Melbourne, Victoria. The problem is that they are a popular place for tourists to visit and can get very noisy which Willow would not be comfortable with.

Not a problem with AI! But that’s not very imaginative, is it? We could take Willow anywhere in the world. In fact, we could take her out of this world! Here is Willow on the International Space Station.

How smart she looks in her space suit, plotting adventures to far away galaxies in search of new and interesting nap spots.

These images are fun and interesting, but they are not real. When I look at them a moment isn’t remembered; behind the perfect lighting is an emptiness, a coldness.

So to finish, I want to share with you something that is real; a video I took on my phone of Willow being her silly little self rolling around on my shoe. The lighting may be horrible and the van looks a bit of a mess, but when I watch it I’m filled with warmth.

This is real life; a silly, dusty, and sometimes weird cat travelling around Australia with her two humans. It’s not perfect but I think it’s beautiful and nothing else could replace that.

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Van Cat Meow

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