The relentless advance of artificial intelligence is raising fears that were once expressed in Hollywood blockbusters like the Terminator franchise, in which oddly monosyllabic and muscular cyborg assassins are sent from a dystopian future to prevent today’s grumpy Samaritans from killing theirs put a spanner in the works.
However, I think we need to calm down and think about some potential benefits that devices like ChatGBT offer. When I interviewed Scottish tech entrepreneur Margaret Totten earlier this year, she told me, “While these chatbots may echo certain word patterns, they don’t replace the spark of human imagination.”
Indeed, after another week in which the Scottish Government has turned kindergarten leisure, the prospect of introducing some artificial intelligence into the chaos is tantalizing.
Last week, Aberdeen North MP Kirsty Blackman said she wasn’t entirely sure about her chromosomes. A handy tip for the rest of us is that Ms. Blackman is a mother of two. Ms Blackman is the SNP’s spokesperson in the Cabinet Office and was previously the party’s deputy leader at Westminster, spokesperson for the Treasury and spokesperson for jobs and pensions.
Ms Blackman’s confusion about the ‘Y’ and ‘why’ of sex was quickly followed by a bizarre intervention from her party colleague James Dornan, MSP of Glasgow Cathcart.
Occasionally, Mr. Dornan feels compelled to remind us of his existence with occasional verbal eccentricities. One of these occurred last week when he implied that the police search of Nicola Sturgeon’s home during their ongoing investigation into the SNP’s finances “appeared to be Fred West’s home when they come here looking for a paper trail seek”.
The laws of contempt prohibit me from repeating Mr Dornan’s other remarks about the police.
Next, Lorna Slater mumbled questions about her messy DRS plan, which is expected to cost us hundreds of millions of pounds to fail.
Meanwhile, a bouquet of flowers was on its way to Nicola Sturgeon from her former party colleagues as a thank you for her seven-hour meeting with Police Scotland. Her successor as party leader, Humza Yousaf, described her as one of the best politicians in Europe.
The recent appointment of Kevin Pringle as Mr Yousaf’s official spokesman and strategic political adviser comes not a moment too soon for this chaotic and dysfunctional party.
He could be doing worse than making sure all SNP politicians put their minds through the ChatGBT process before they open their mouths.
In a recent Times column, my old friend and former colleague Magnus Linklater showed himself typically civic and selfless in confronting the threat of artificial intelligence. Mr. Linklater exercised his silver-tipped baton against AI by having ChatGBT write a column under his direction. Fortunately, the effort fell far short of the eloquence and wisdom of the admirable Mr. Linklater.
Regrettably, The Times and Sunday Times have recently destroyed almost all of their satellite operations in Scotland. Both titles are now reduced to a spectral presence in Scotland.
I sincerely hope that by appointing ChatGBT as the Times Scottish news editor, your editor will not take any ideas from Mr Linklater’s joking musings on AI.
Boycott in store?
A healthy dose of artificial intelligence might also have saved Wickes chief executive Fraser Longden from his Gerald Ratner moment last week. The boss of the Kenspeckle Home Improvement retailer seemed to imply that customers with gender biased views are fanatics who are not welcome in his company’s stores.
Mr Longden also said that most of the population is in a “slightly ignorant but mostly friendly position” and that he was not worried about a possible boycott of Wickes branches following his outbreak. “The other 10 percent, you know, is just hot air,” he said, “and they go and buy a can of paint at the nearest place.”
I am not sure why there was such a backlash to Mr Longden’s genuine views. Some of the most senior figures in Scottish government and public life, in their Incel obsession with allowing men access to women’s spaces, have similar views of the majority of their customers, ie the electorate.
ET calls Rome
Artificial intelligence will never reproduce the Daily Star, this column’s favorite other newspaper. The irrepressible redhead last week threw up a story about the Vatican and a UFO crash in Italy in the 1930s.
The star shared a picture of ET in the pope’s hat under the glorious caption, “UFO CRASH HEAPED BY THE POPE.” The Apercu “ET phone Rome” was used. I’m sure Sunday’s Herald would have voted “THE TIM CAPSULE,” a headline that the tongue-in-cheek Mr. Linklater would have approved of.