"Socrates would smash Bill Gates' head in with a rock..."
Mind Blown Emoji
Over the weekend, an AI Guy presented Twitter with what he thought was a game-changing, AI-generated "conversation" between the billionaire Bill Gates and the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates. And rest assured, folks on Twitter definitely have some thoughts — but they probably weren't what the AI Guy in question, a designer named Linus Ekenstam, wanted to hear.
"Is this the future of podcasts?" Ekenstam tweeted on Friday. "I think very realistic conversations like this will be bread and butter in any streaming app."
Is this the future of podcasts?
AI conversations | Bill Gates x Socrates
I think very realistic conversations like this will be bread and butter in any streaming app.
Let’s take it one step further and imagine this but personalized towards you? 🤯
What do you think? pic.twitter.com/K58okqsusK
— Linus (●ᴗ●) (@LinusEkenstam) May 26, 2023
Art is relative, sure, but Twitter was ruthless. Users called out the AI optimist for everything from lack of originality to, among other qualms, the very Greek Socrates' curiously British accent, his noted technopessimism, and more.
"Stuff like this makes me realize AI creators and (even more so) boosters have extremely limited imaginations," tweeted one commenter.
"It's so good watching what Silicon Valley guys think entertainment should look like," added Insider writer Ed Zitron.
"Almond-brained technocharlatans when their godless computer program jizzoms out the most pitiful mockery of the human spirit," echoed a particularly foulmouthed commentator, mocking the designer's mind-blown emoji to boot.
Dust in the Wind
To these folks' point, there is indeed something mesmerizingly unimaginative about this bizarre content format. It's already been proven that there are creative ways to put imagined resurrections of famous figures in the same room with each other; if Socrates is still the example, let's not forget the imagined — and still Greek-speaking!! — version of the philosopher running wild through a 1980s San Dimas mall. High art.
But this kind of AI-powered podcast, where two famous figures regurgitate hustle-bro-hype-speak back to each other on a seemingly endless loop, is all kinds of depressing.
Elsewhere, others raised attention to the fact that Socrates famously believed that writing was technology gone too far — and thus, getting Gatesplained about laptops and AI might not have gone over particularly well with the philosopher.
"This wouldn't happen," one commenter added, "Socrates would smash Bill Gates' head in with a rock once he brings up the laptop thinking he's some creature of dark magic."
Others still called out the sheer ridiculousness of the conversation.
Ekenstam, for his part, seemed taken aback by the negative response.
"People really have split opinions on this," he wrote. "I want to understand why this makes so many people angry?"
But instead of dealing with the substantive complaints, he just teased better-performing tech in the future.
"Regardless, here is perhaps a more impressive audio demo," he added.
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