James Marriott, who hurt you?

This rant is a response to this opinion piece in the New York Times. You can read it if you want context, but your life is likely richer for not doing so.

There, I’ve fixed your writeup for you.

In his piece “AI spells trouble for creatives — about time too” James Marriott includes a quote from Daisy Christodoulou: “ChatGPT sometimes produces superficially plausible essays that fall apart under closer scrutiny. But plenty of humans write essays like that too. In fact, it is one of the criticisms of PPE graduates.”

There’s something ironic in including a quote about things being superficial and falling apart under scrutiny, in an article that feels incredibly superficial, and falls apart under scrutiny. I’d quote more of his article in this response, but that means more people might have the misfortune of reading his 8 disconnected and unclear paragraphs.

Because I’m not James Marriott, and I value the time of people who read my pieces, let me offer my quick conclusion:

Mr. Marriott, you do not have a problem with artists or “creatives.”Nor do your lawyer friends, who have people roll their eyes at them, or ignore them at parties. You have a problem with assholes.

The fact that every artist you’ve ever met fits this profile does say something about the company you’ve chosen to keep.

Anyway, let’s get back to your opinion piece. I’m not 100% sure what your opinion is, which is bad, given that I’ve read your article 7 or so times now. Perhaps it’s that “Artists are a bit too full of themselves, and need to be taken down a peg.” Have I got that right? Have I summarized in one sentence what took you eight paragraphs?

Of course, you’re a professional journalist, and I’m not. Actually, my day job is working for a software company that sells what, at least on some level, amounts to automation software. This is likely why you were able to craft such a wonderful headline that grabbed hands, and filled those “creatives” you wish to see humbled with such rage.

James Marriott’s writeup addresses none of the actual issues many artists and writers have with the current generation of what I’ll lump as “content generation technologies.” He doesn’t talk about how their underlying training data may have been taken and used without compensation. He doesn’t cover how many of these models can be flawed backboxes. He just seem happy that this makes artist artists upset.

And so I must ask, Mr. Marriott, why? Why does it give you such glee that so many might be put out of work? Why is it, that when given space in a publication that more people read in a day than will read anything I ever write in my lifetime, you take that space to make perhaps the most petty argument that can be comprehended in favor of AI generated art and writing?

This is barely an opinion. It’s not even a rant. It’s a whiny self-centered hope that an emerging technology will “make some people who annoy me unhappy.”

I wanted to close this rant out by making some more ad hominem attacks, but unfortunately I can’t. You see, I can’t find any more of his work. When you google Mr. Marriott’s name, you find a comedy YouTuber/musician, with 2 million subscribers, and a few hundred thousand views on each video, and no other articles or writing by the one being ripped on in this article.