The Revenge of Beauty (in the Age of AI)
After 300 years, Beauty is coming back for her revenge, with AI in one hand, Discernment in the other—and ready to exact Judgment.
First, an important note:
This will probably be the weirdest thing you read on the internet this week, if not all year (or maybe ever).
The few times I’ve shared this idea in private conversations, most people stare blankly, are confused, or vehemently disagree with me.
I don’t blame them, at all.
This is… unconventional.
The first time I shared this idea with two trusted friends, back in 2017, they wanted me to publish it right away.
I declined, because even I realized how bizarre all this sounded.
But, things have changed.
Now that I’m seeing a few people (whom I will not name) parrot this idea in public, after I shared it in private, and claiming it as their own…
I realize I need to at least nail this to the door.
(And I’m editing the larger work that goes with it, due to be published at the end of 2023).
So, here’s the deal:
This one issue will be one of the strangest things you’ll ever read.
I’m hesitant to publish this. But I have no choice.
Time is running out and circumstances are forcing my hand.
I recognize that most subscribers to Bionic Writer are here for the AI writing stuff.
This is actually about that but on a deeper, philosophical and metaphysical level.
Anyway. You’ll find the ordinary topics at the bottom.
And the next issue will be back to the more normal stuff.
But for this one issue, hear me out.
The Revenge of Beauty (in the Age of AI)
Beauty is ready for her revenge.
And in the plot-twist of the century, she’s wielding Artificial Intelligence in one hand, Discernment in the other—and she’s ready to exact her Judgment.
Part I: Introduction
Three-hundred years ago, Beauty was banned, expelled, and sent into exile with the greatest lie ever told:
“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”
We’ve been lied to and deceived into believing that beauty is entirely subjective.
We’ve been told that it’s all in the mind and eye of a person, nothing more than a feeling of pleasure, and there’s no objectivity involved.
As this lie echoed down through history, culture, finance, technology and society, it gathered into a full-blown category 5 hurricane that has debased, deformed and dehumanized us for centuries.
We see this most clearly in how technology is forming us, and not us forming technology.
Every day, we’re processing and experiencing reality through the lens of technology.
But the technological imagination is sterile, largely parasitic, and ultimately has little to share with us about the human condition or the nature of reality.
We’re promised liberation but have to settle on being surveilled, mined for data, force-fed approved narratives, and distracted with memes and GIFs.
The perception needs to shift.
Away from the subjective self as the final authority, away from technology forming us, and instead fixed on beauty—the only objective reality capable of reforming us.
Because true Beauty is an encounter with Reality.
AI (and really, Machine Learning), in the form of Generative AI tools, are forcing the conversation about Beauty to happen once again.
Because now that you can create any text, visual, video or audio…
Part II: The Dangerous Promise of Technology and AI
Technology and AI can be a blessing or a curse.
Right now, it’s a curse as we’re concocting deformed versions of living that lead to dead ends.
We’re dopamine junkies with no clue about how trapped we are in a cycle of addiction, that is slaughtering our minds and bodies.
And even as technology and AI is making unthinkable leaps of progress, we’ve yet to reap the full rewards of our labor.
We work longer, harder and faster than ever before. But we’re not productive.
AI can produce work that took hours, days or weeks in mere minutes. But no one is making masterpieces anymore.
We’re developing sequels and prequels but very few original works.
We’re rehashing the same conversations, ideas and music.
We have unparalleled potential in the palm of our hands but we’re binge watching Youtube.
We’re missing a New Aesthetics, a vision for what life can and should be like.
We can’t see further than the latest iteration of an iPhone or social media platform.
We’re rich in potential but poor in performance.
It’s like we can’t see what else there might be.
AI must become a collaborator, not a master.
AI must open the mind to new possibilities of life by way of the imagination.
AI must become a way in which we fulfill our natures, perceive the truth, and move toward the good.
AI must enrich human life, not drain it of value or meaning.
AI must reveal more of reality, not obfuscate, enhance or distort it.
And this can happen with the proper use of AI.
Working with AI reveals a process that’s more about negotiation than experimentation.
AI makes it possible for more people to engage deeper with art, and in turn experience a transformation. It can change, and deepen, our perception and understanding.
The formative process—a life-giving, generative process that can shape us—only happens when we exchange the lie for the truth:
Beauty is objective. It’s real. And it exercises influence over a subject, like ourselves.
When we accept this, we become active participants in our own formation.
There’s an active role between the piece of art (the object) and the viewer (the subject).
In the end, the subject is a co-creator, transforming, re-creating and changing.
In every interaction we have, we’re either formed or deformed.
To become fully formed humans, physically, psychologically and spiritually, Beauty must return with a vengeance.
And she is.
Part III: The Return of Beauty
Beauty has been watching from afar, biding her time.
Every now and then, we’d catch a glimpse of her.
But now I see Beauty coming hard for her revenge.
She’s coming back with a vengeance, ready to lay claim to our imagination, and give us a new vision.
We’ve been in a pitch black dark room, bumping into the furniture and each other for hundreds of years. And Beauty is ready to turn on the lights.
When she does, a New Renaissance will come in full force, in a Cambrian explosion, a leap forward, conquer technology, and turn our tech swords into plowshares for life.
And for new ways to become fully formed humans—spiritually, bodily, emotionally.
How you make use of Generative AI and Machine Learning will either dehumanize you—or make you fully alive.
We need Discernment, Judgement, Perspective and a Sense of Taste.
AI can either become a tool of total control—or enable freedom and creativity unlike anything else in a long time.
Through all the tech and code, Beauty is coming.
(You’ve read an excerpt of my forthcoming book, The Revenge of Beauty. Coming December 2023).
Now that that’s done, here’s…
The new issue will be on what I call “The Paradox of Prompts”.
Prompts are both worthless and valuable, at the same time.
They’re worthless because they’re just words in the form of commands, statements, or questions that don’t require you to get the wording just right.
You can prompt chatGPT/GPT-3 for the same thing, twenty different ways, and get useful output that’s very similar.
You do not have to get the words just right as long as you know your intention and what you’re looking for.
At the same time, prompts are valuable because knowing what’s possible with prompting can sometimes help you eliminate wasted time and effort through trial-and-error.
Seeing how I craft prompts for copywriting, for example, might be really helpful.
But, the reality is:
You don’t need to mimic someone else’s prompt to get good outputs.
You’re far better off learning what prompts consist of (Function, Context, Modifiers) and the process for developing your own prompts.
All of that, next issue.
In the meantime…
Wow, What? Crazy!
Favorite links you must see.
Introducing Bionic Marketing, the newsletter focused on AI for online marketing
There are tons of newsletters sending you daily emails with anything and everything about AI. There’s a lot of noise and hype, and frankly you can ignore 82% of it all.
This newsletter does all the work of sifting, sorting, screening, and delivering weekly updates that help you stay up-to-date with AI for marketing, specifically—including practical tips and strategies, too.
There are 3 issues published so far. The next one is about to go out.
Take a look at Issue #1, #2, and #3 of Bionic Marketing here.
And other things around the web:
Article: How to write an effective GPT-3 prompt
Most prompt advice published online is garbage but this is a surprisingly good article with GPT-3 tips for getting the output you're looking for.
Thread: How to to make never-ending, atmospheric music for games or videos
You’re still hanging out with me on Twitter, right?
Elon doesn’t want to give me the blue checkmark yet.
But I promise I’m the real deal.
P.S: Alternative images for The Revenge of Beauty: