One of the few blogs that I subscribe to is Richard Hoag’s 365 Days of Birds. Richard is a monitor in Sax Zim Bog, a bog habitat north of Duluth, Minnesota. Sax Zim Bog is known for the winter boreal birds that can be found there – if you can brave the cold weather!
Richard sends out an email every day of the year, mostly about the bird sightings around his home in Duluth, Sax Zim Bog, or wherever his travels take him. Recently he wrote an article about Great Grey Owls, a sought-after bird in Sax Zim Bog. Here’s a picture of one he posted:
Quite a striking picture, with the sunset in the background. He also included some text about Great Grey Owls hunting:
Great Gray Owls hunt primarily by perching and waiting for their prey. They have a unique hunting technique known as “sit and wait” or “perch hunting.” They will typically choose a high perch, such as a tree branch or a pole, from where they have a good view of the surrounding area….
Would it surprise you to know that Richard did NOT take that picture or write the text – he used ChatGPT, a readily available Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) tool to generate both? To have ChatGPT write the text he inputed, “How do Great Grey Owls Hunt?” and to create the photograph he typed in, “A studio photographic quality portrait of a great gray owl which shows the entire body, head and talons and jet black pupils of the owl without any reflections in the pupils, and the owl is perched on snow flocked branches at the top of a pine tree in the golden light of sunset.” Richard gives more detail about his use of ChatGPT and an analysis of the output in his post ChatGPT and the Great Grey Owl.
I’ve been following the progression of Artificial Intelligence over the past few years but I haven’t used it. I was amazed at how easy it was for Richard to create the image and text. What’s even more mind-boggling is that ChatGPT is part of the first-generation of commercially available Artificial Intelligence programs. Can you image what an image would look like with a fifth or sixth generation program just a few years from now? How about an AI generated video of a Great Grey Owl swooping down from the sky to snatch up a vole scurrying across the ground? Or a politician telling her constituency that she is really a male in drag? It’s exciting and scary to imagine what Artificial Intelligence will allow people to do.
I doubt that I will use Artificial Intelligence to generate future emails/posts from GreatBirdPics because I enjoy the act of writing. Nor do I think I will be using A.I. to generate a picture and post it here because I enjoy going out and taking pictures of birds in the wild (although someone could easily do that in the future and it would be hard to tell if it was real or A.I. generated). No, I don’t think A.I. will replace me here at GreatBirdPics, but other workers are already being replaced by it. If you think technology has changed us much in the past 10 years, just imagine what A.I. might do in the next 10.
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