Turning Cranks With No Thanks

I have seen the greatest minds of my generation copied, co-opted, ripped off, written over, memified, stolen, and misapplied whenever they put their best efforts into the work they post on the internet.

I have no illusions that my own work has become grist for the mill. I’ve seen it. Most of my readers are robots. They steal and repost without attribution. They hotlink and use up my bandwidth allowance. They feed my words into their models as training sets, without permission.

It is no wonder that my creative output has stalled. I share, hoping to make connection and find love and appreciation. To increase my own social capital. It’s why I got into making music. It’s why I learned web design. It’s why I write. It’s why I draw.

But I don’t. Not anymore. It’s a zero-sum game now, for me at least. Creativity was my bread and oil. But now it’s an input to the machine. Original art is now available at the push of a button. And I can’t help but feel culpable just by putting my best out there and making it available to all those voracious vacuum cleaners. I can’t control the bots or influence their masters.

Art is now ephemeral and cheap, because the economy of art is in a race to the bottom. Anybody hoping to make a living from it risks starvation. And I can’t help but feel my generation made this happen, one because generative art is an interesting problem to solve, and two that our own works just fed the grinder.

The fully automated future is just fucked.

Published by Shawn

He's just this guy, you know?