✨every app that adds AI looks like this✨
and just like that - poof! - we scammed you into thinking this shit was cool // S1E3
Hi and welcome to the first PSA of Both Are True’s Season One: I’m (Not??) The Best. This season is devoted to exploring themes of competition, etc. One such facet is how tech companies compete to all release AI-bullshit features that blow butt.
If you’d like to read the first piece of Season One, check it out here: I got a perfect score on my SAT and all I got was this lousy feeling of never being enough.
First, there’ll be a nice big splash page like this:
Omg yes I want all these things! How could you not click?? You’re human.
So you click to ‘get started’ and are taken to this:
Ok wow this is so cool! Look there’s even a photo of the whole planet lit up by the ‘aha’ moments of everyone using AI!! Can’t fuckin’ wait to change everything.
The app then asks me to describe my task?
I mean…idk. What am I supposed to say here? The app doesn’t really give me much detail…duh! That’s because the AI is super smart and I can tell it to do anything.
Silly dumb me being an idiot of the Old Way of Doing Things.
I can just let it rip!
How about… “Create a marketing campaign to get people excited about a new internet where things are easy. Include a mascot and a catch phrase.”
I hit enter and….
How we got here
It’s a race to the bottom. Companies see their idiot friends creating AI and they want a piece of that hype hype yum yum so they do it too. For example:
Don’t bother with that pathetic, 10-minute a day meditation bullshit on Calm.com
Try Headspace AI. where one of our robots will meditate FOR YOU and then tell you all the lessons it learned.”
Saving you time for what really matters.
Here’s some article about it:
Jason Corsello, CEO and general partner of Acadian Ventures, a venture firm focused on the future of work startups, explained that A.I. remains tantalizing for investors, even amid the historic downturn. That may not be a good thing for startups, he cautions. "This area of A.I. is somewhat overhyped. It's over-invested, it's overvalued. When you're seeing seed-stage companies raise between $100 million and $150 million with nothing more than a pitch deck, that's a bit concerning."
But the froth isn't unfamiliar. The A.I. boom, and the crush of startups now competing for success, could be a product of copycat logic. As money is pumped into new firms, nobody wants to be left out, Oded Shenkar, a professor of management and human resources at Ohio State University, explains. "It's a common error to think of startups always as innovators," he says, "when you have a gold rush, of course, you're going to have more imitation."
Ah ok great so basically all the companies are playing copycat with Daddy Andreesen's Money Slush until something dumb happens and one of them gets super rich?
Meanwhile, the people must endure this:
Wow look at that really cool image of a fairy cat.
Um no that looks like it was made by a wood nymph on a godsized dose of LSD+speed who decided to ‘go for it’ and draw like a computer.
There are apps who use AI well
They don’t call it AI because they are not children.
All of Google is AI.
But you don’t see them bandying it around like a kid with new light up shoes.
On the other hand, you’ve got Canva promoting their new “Magic Design (TM”) which they have to make sure you understand is in Beta which is tech-speak for ‘it blows butt.’
Ok cool let’s give it a whirl:
Like come on this is dog shit and I mean an old dog who has trouble shitting:
I am asking
Stop trying to market garbage as “magic.”
AI is not magic. This is magic:
Look at how freaked out the dude leaning over is. His child has never seen him that way before.
This dude is looking up like ‘no way he did that without god's help’
If I see “now with AI-enabled assistant” anywhere on a website, I run away but first I throw the entire computer out the window (after making sure no one is under it). The entire system has been tainted by the AI-disease and now it will never be okay to use again.
I will pay money for you to not use the word AI anywhere on your app. Make that the premium tier and I will buy it this is hell why are you doing this to us.
And yes, as a person named Alex who is often called Al by friends, I have a personal stake in this. When I see “AI Magic” I think it’s saying I am magic or it is using my magic for its app and that’s illegal.
More of my hot takes on AI and tech:
Am I crazy about all this AI stuff or does it really suck?
Are you also someone who keeps getting tricked into thinking some AI-feature will be cool only to have your heart broken again and again?
Are there any good uses of AI I’m just not realizing (that market themselves as AI??)
What’s a non-AI non-tech good thing in your life?
Is this whole piece a big hipster-draped ‘the new tech is bad’ screed from a guy who is, according to several doctors, getting older?
I’m teaching a workshop soon! An Invitation
The good people at the writing collective Foster have asked me andto come back and teach a workshop on how to write funny and vulnerably as part of their 4-week writing intensive called Season 4: A More Beautiful Question. Here’s a quick description of the season. Check it out and lemme know if you have questions!
“Seasons” are month-long initiations into the magic of writing and storytelling. Together, we’ll approach our writing not as a means of providing Answers, but as a way of inhabiting the Questions that matter to us, as I hope I exhibited in this essay. We’ll seek to dance with uncertainty instead of treating it as a problem to be solved. We’ll explore, play, and be in conversation with something larger than ourselves. And when it’s all said and done, we’ll each hit publish on a piece of writing that’s crackling with our energy and humanity. Care to join us?