This post was written by A.I.

First up, the £30/month per user Google Duet – only found on the expensive end of Google Workspace. Any enterprise that considers adding Google Duet AI to their account now and pays for it has more money than sense. This thing really needs to mature first.

Here’s what it produced (after falling over twice, telling me it couldn’t do it):

The Dangers of AI Assisted Writing

Artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly changing the world, and the field of writing is no exception. AI-assisted writing tools are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and they are being used by businesses, students, and individuals alike. However, there are also some dangers associated with AI assisted writing.

One of the biggest dangers of AI assisted writing is that it can be used to create fake news and propaganda. AI-generated text can be very convincing, and it can be difficult to tell the difference between human-generated and AI-generated text. This makes it possible for people to create fake news stories and spread propaganda without being detected.

Another danger of AI assisted writing is that it can lead to job losses. As AI-assisted writing tools become more sophisticated, they will be able to do more and more of the work that is currently done by human writers. This could lead to job losses in the writing industry, as well as in other industries that rely on writing, such as journalism and marketing.

Finally, AI assisted writing can also lead to a decline in the quality of writing. AI-generated text is often not as well-written as human-generated text. This is because AI-assisted writing tools are not able to understand the nuances of language in the same way that humans do. As a result, AI-generated text can be full of errors and inaccuracies.

Overall, there are a number of dangers associated with AI assisted writing. It is important to be aware of these dangers so that we can use AI-assisted writing tools in a responsible way.

How to use AI assisted writing tools responsibly

If you are going to use AI assisted writing tools, it is important to do so responsibly. Here are a few tips:

  • Be aware of the dangers of AI assisted writing, such as the potential for fake news and propaganda, job losses, and a decline in the quality of writing.
  • Use AI assisted writing tools for their intended purpose. For example, don’t use them to create fake news stories or to spread propaganda.
  • Use AI assisted writing tools in conjunction with human writers. This will help to ensure that the quality of the writing is high.
  • Be transparent about the use of AI assisted writing tools. Let your readers know when you have used an AI assisted writing tool to create content.

By following these tips, you can help to ensure that AI assisted writing tools are used in a responsible way.

And here’s the completely free ChatGPT version, which did it its thing first time without any complaints:

Title: The Double-Edged Quill: Navigating the Dangers of A.I. Assisted Writing

In an era defined by technological marvels, the rise of Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) has permeated every facet of our lives. From self-driving cars to personalized recommendations, A.I. is revolutionizing the way we interact with the world around us. One area where its impact is keenly felt is in the realm of writing. A.I. assisted writing tools offer unparalleled convenience and efficiency, but as with any powerful tool, there are inherent dangers that demand our attention.

The Promise of A.I. Assisted Writing:

A.I. assisted writing tools have certainly made their mark on the writing landscape. These tools, often utilizing Natural Language Processing (NLP) algorithms, can generate content, suggest improvements, and even mimic specific writing styles. They promise increased productivity, reduced writer’s block, and a way to instantly refine drafts. Content creators, students, and professionals have flocked to these tools, reaping the benefits of their capabilities.

The Dangers We Must Acknowledge:

  1. Homogenization of Voice: A significant danger lies in the potential homogenization of writing voices. A.I. tools, though proficient, lack the human touch and unique perspectives that make writing truly engaging. Relying too heavily on A.I. could lead to a sea of content that sounds eerily similar, devoid of the rich diversity of thought and expression that human writers bring.
  2. Diminished Critical Thinking: A.I. assisted writing can inadvertently erode critical thinking skills. When ideas are automatically generated and polished, the process of grappling with complex concepts and refining them through personal understanding can be lost. This could hinder the development of intellectual rigor and thoughtful analysis.
  3. Ethical Quandaries: A.I. generated content raises ethical questions about authorship and plagiarism. As A.I. tools become more sophisticated, distinguishing between original human work and A.I. generated content might become a daunting task. Crediting authors accurately and upholding the principles of integrity could become increasingly challenging.
  4. Loss of Skill Development: Writing is an art that improves with practice. A reliance on A.I. tools might discourage writers from honing their craft through consistent effort. The process of trial and error, which is vital for growth, could be stunted if writers become overly dependent on A.I. for all aspects of composition.
  5. Unintended Biases: A.I. models learn from existing data, which can inadvertently perpetuate biases present in the training data. If unchecked, A.I. assisted writing tools might unwittingly propagate biased or discriminatory content, potentially amplifying societal prejudices.

Navigating the A.I. Assisted Writing Landscape:

While the dangers of A.I. assisted writing are real, they are not insurmountable. It’s crucial to approach these tools with a balanced perspective:

  1. Supplement, Don’t Substitute: Use A.I. tools as aids, not replacements. Leverage their efficiency but retain your unique voice and creative process. Strive for a symbiotic relationship between human creativity and machine assistance.
  2. Prioritize Learning: Keep investing in your writing skills. Practice critical thinking, engage in self-editing, and challenge yourself to explore new writing styles. A.I. tools should be a means to augment your abilities, not replace the need for growth.
  3. Ethical Awareness: Be diligent about giving proper credit when using A.I. generated content. As consumers of content, we have a responsibility to maintain ethical standards and protect the integrity of original authorship.
  4. Bias Mitigation: Be aware of potential biases in A.I. generated content. As a conscientious creator, it’s your responsibility to review and, if necessary, revise the output to ensure it aligns with your values.

Final Thoughts:

A.I. assisted writing undeniably offers a world of possibilities. However, as we embrace this technology, we must be vigilant about its pitfalls. By approaching these tools with awareness, critical thinking, and a commitment to preserving the essence of human creativity, we can harness the power of A.I. while safeguarding the authenticity and diversity that make writing a truly remarkable endeavor.

Quite frankly, in my tests with Google Duet A.I., it is not worth paying the £30/month until Google gets its act together and provides better value for money. While it integrates within the main Google Workspace applications, it’s certainly not as clever as it makes out and you’ll find better value in other A.I. systems such as ChatGPT. Google ought to reduce the price until £30/month is worth the asking price. Look elsewhere for now.

Brompton Bike Subscription

In this day and age where virtually everything is a subscription, I came across this advert on Facebook for Brompton Bike subscription. Brompton being a bicycle manufacturer that specialises in foldable bikes. £35/month is very reasonable, but I do worry that the wheels wouldn’t be suitable for Surrey roads. It took me around 45 minutes to get to Memset when they were based at the Surrey Research Park – but that was on an electric, non-foldable bike.

On the other hand, I have an option to cycle up to the Basingstoke canal and cycle along its path to Woking where I head towards the train station and catch the train. Trains not working? I could either cycle on to Guildford, take a bus or get a cab (foldable bike).

The alternative is to explore the company’s cycle-to-work scheme and see if that works out any better – especially if e-bikes are cheaper these days than they were back in 2010-2017.

Pardon me?

Or: I lose an AirPod Pro earbud

I have a love/hate relationship with Apple’s products. They’re incredibly well designed when you put them to work, but occasionally their design is such that they break or get lost much more easily than products from other manufacturers.

I was about to make a phone call using my iPhone 14 Pro Max and AirPods Pro 2nd Generation – a much more comfortable way of making phone calls in my opinion – and I opened the AirPods case to discover that the right earbud was missing! I tried Apple’s Find My device finder app to see if I can make it bleep or bloop, or to use the feature which lets you track the AirPod earbud if it’s nearby. Alas, nothing doing.

I don’t know how long it’s been missing – but I’ve carried the AirPods Pro case to work a few times without using it. It may be at work, but it may be at either one of three offices (well, realistically speaking – two offices).

But I think an even more realistic outcome is going to have to buy a replacement AirPod Pro earbud for the princely sum of £80 directly from Apple. There’s no two ways about it.

On the other hand, it’s less expensive than having to fork out for an entire AirPod Pro 2nd generation set. The first ever set of AirPods I bought ended up in the washing machine which killed them completely.

The AirPods Max that I paid more than I should have ever paid for headphones are now completely dead. Not by washing machine, not by losing them, but Apple’s useless design. And their warranty has run out. I shall not be buying their AirPods Max range again. When it worked, it was wonderful – but when these things break., it’s a slog having to go to an Apple Store to get them replaced. And I should mentioned I have already had the AirPods Max replaced once (to the extent I had express delivery which puts a 10-day charge on your card for the FULL price of the unit). Never again.

Good Omens 2: Avenging Angels

The band Space once sung this catchy tune:

This song, I think, describes Good Omens 2 quite nicely. Though it’s more complicated than that (as things often tend to be). Having averted the Apocalypse, the angel Aziraphale and the demon Crowley find they have a bit of time on their hands: Crowley having been kicked out of his job and all but banished from Hell and Aziraphale – well, he’s not exactly in Heaven’s good books either. But he’s kept the bookshop and often enjoys buying new (well, extremely old) ’78 records from Maggie across the road, who has kept her grandmother’s record shop going even in the digital age (in part due to “Mr. Fell” being her landlord and she’s the only one that can source his favourite records).

Things start to take a turn when the Arkangel Gabriel turns up in Soho, completely naked apart from carrying a cardboard box, and makes his way to the bookshop having completely lost his memory…

Now, I initially thought the first episode was a bit slow and had some trouble “feeling” it. But with the second episode, everything clicked together, and it was an absolutely whirlwind of a ride which ended far sooner than I had hoped. I must say that Terry Pratchett’s presence is felt throughout the show – I loved how Gabriel fans somebody with a Discworld book, and that C.M.O.T. (cut-my-own-throat) Dibbler is responsible for providing dangerous substances to an Edinburgh doctor specialising in cadavers for medical research. Among many other things. I think Terry would have really enjoyed this season.

There is so much going on and so much to enjoy that it’s impossible to list everything here. But needless to say that there is a fine line between being an angel and a demon – both are two sides of the same coin. Throughout the series we go back through time to see how the pair’s relationship develops – from the beginning of the universe (when Crowley had yet to be cast down to Hell), to Biblical times, and jumping forwards to the time where grave diggers were providing medical establishments with cadavers for use in medical research for handsome sums of money. This proves to be a REMARKABLY interesting part of the story because of the grey line, morality wise, of digging up the dead and using them in medical research. It also provides a significant moment in which Crowley demonstrates that he be good (which absolutely delights Aziraphale). We also revisit the Second World War (where we get to see Mrs. Henderson of the Windmill Theatre fame – a theatre that I used to walk past many times back in the 2000’s) and a magic act to outdo all magic acts.

The whole point to this is to solve the mystery of why Gabriel turned up at Aziraphale’s bookshop (and subsequently became a David Jason-like Granville in the process – you’ll have to watch to see what I mean) as well as putting the world to rights (literally) – with a bit of matchmaking along the way.

But really, the main point – to me at least – is that thin line between good and evil. Sometimes there is no distinction at all. This is best demonstrated in the Job sequence in which Job (God’s favourite human) is tested by having all his animals slaughtered and his kids killed. This job(!) is left to Aziraphale who, along with Crowley, get up to shenanigans which are best to those that watch the show. We see (or at least hear) God, played once again by triple Oscar-winner Frances McDormand talking to Job (played by David Tenant’s father-in-law, Peter Davidson) with Job just completely flummoxed. In the end, however, Aziraphale is convinced that because he defied the will of God, he’s going to be cast down to Hell like Crowley. But Crowley simply tells his friend that he won’t say a word. The whole Job sequence is a pivotal moment in the show and is really beautifully handled.

The final episode wraps up things as it should do, but also opens the possibility for a third season of this wonderful story. Saving the day is one thing but saving it repeatedly is another. Being the sentimental old git that I am, I am not ashamed to say that I cried. Happiness and sadness. Crowley finally shows some emotion towards his angelic friend. Lovely appearance by Derek Jacobi, by the way.

I’m not sure whether Good Omens 2 is coming to the BBC like the first series did, but nevertheless I’ll be buying copies on Blu-Ray when it’s released. This is a truly remarkable sequel to one of my all time favourite books, and Neil Gaiman and the team have worked miracles to bring it to the screen. And speaking of Neil, hopefully we should be getting The Anansi Boys soon – I am hotly anticipating this one because I’ve a huge fan of the novel. Seeing Mr. Nancy and his sons Fat Charlie and Spider – along with Mrs. Higgler – is going to be my my jam for next year (assuming it’s released next year, and that all the current Hollywood strikes are settled).