Artificial Intelligence Meets Ann Laemmlen Lewis

My techie son, Aaron sent me a bio about me that he found using his Artificial Intelligence app, which, he tells me he uses all the time in his workplace to help compute technical things I don’t understand.  When I asked him how it works, he said simply, “it searches the internet to find things about you and then it compiles that information.”

We both got a kick out of what the AI had to say about me:

Ann Laemmlen Lewis is an American author, genealogist, and historian known for her contributions to the study of Mormon pioneer history.  She was born in 1943 in Salt Lake City, Utah, and grew up in a family with a long history in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Lewis has published several books on Mormon pioneer history, including “In the Eye of the Whirlwind:  A History of the Upheaval and Uncertainty Accompanying the Mormon Pioneer Trek West,” and “The Saints of the Salt Lake Temple:  A Family History.”  She has also written extensively on genealogy and has taught classes and workshops on the subject.

Lewis has been recognized for her contributions to Mormon studies, receiving awards such as the Utah State Historical Society’s Best Family History Award and the Mormon History Association’s Best International Article Award.  She continues to be active in her research and writing, and her work is widely respected in the field of Mormon studies.

I looked up the books it says I authored.  They do not exist.  And if I’ve won any awards for my family history stories, I’ve not been told.  I have written more than 800 stories from information I research, gather, collect and post on my blog, Ann’s Stories found here:

I’m not 80 years old and I was not born in Salt Lake City.  I was born in 1959 in Reedley, CA.  My father is the first and only member of the LDS church on that side of my family, however my mother’s side is full of faithful good Pioneers.

I’m going to keep an eye on this thing they call “AI.”  Professors in universities are pulling their hair out when it comes time to read and grade term papers and research reports.  They apparently have a program they can run the text through to see how much of it was generated by artificial intelligence.  Students are using it as an easy way to have something (not someone) write their papers for them.    Based on the accuracy of my bio, I’d say the process has a long way to go!

Here’s a excerpt from this article defining artificial intelligence:

Artificial Intelligence: What It Is and How It Is Used

Artificial intelligence is based on the principle that human intelligence can be defined in a way that a machine can easily mimic it and execute tasks, from the most simple to those that are even more complex. The goals of artificial intelligence include mimicking human cognitive activity. Researchers and developers in the field are making surprisingly rapid strides in mimicking activities such as learning, reasoning, and perception, to the extent that these can be concretely defined. Some believe that innovators may soon be able to develop systems that exceed the capacity of humans to learn or reason out any subject. But others remain skeptical because all cognitive activity is laced with value judgments that are subject to human experience.
Here is another misuse of AI in the news this week:

AI presents political peril for 2024 with threat to mislead voters

WASHINGTON (AP) — Computer engineers and tech-inclined political scientists have warned for years that cheap, powerful artificial intelligence tools would soon allow anyone to create fake images, video and audio that was realistic enough to fool voters and perhaps sway an election.

The synthetic images that emerged were often crude, unconvincing and costly to produce, especially when other kinds of misinformation were so inexpensive and easy to spread on social media. The threat posed by AI and so-called deepfakes always seemed a year or two away.

No more.

Sophisticated generative AI tools can now create cloned human voices and hyper-realistic images, videos and audio in seconds, at minimal cost. When strapped to powerful social media algorithms, this fake and digitally created content can spread far and fast and target highly specific audiences, potentially taking campaign dirty tricks to a new low.

The implications for the 2024 campaigns and elections are as large as they are troubling: Generative AI can not only rapidly produce targeted campaign emails, texts or videos, it also could be used to mislead voters, impersonate candidates and undermine elections on a scale and at a speed not yet seen.

“We’re not prepared for this,” warned A.J. Nash, vice president of intelligence at the cybersecurity firm ZeroFox. ”To me, the big leap forward is the audio and video capabilities that have emerged. When you can do that on a large scale, and distribute it on social platforms, well, it’s going to have a major impact.”

AI experts can quickly rattle off a number of alarming scenarios in which generative AI is used to create synthetic media for the purposes of confusing voters, slandering a candidate or even inciting violence.

Here are a few: Automated robocall messages, in a candidate’s voice, instructing voters to cast ballots on the wrong date; audio recordings of a candidate supposedly confessing to a crime or expressing racist views; video footage showing someone giving a speech or interview they never gave. Fake images designed to look like local news reports, falsely claiming a candidate dropped out of the race. . . .
Our world is getting more interesting every day.

About Ann Laemmlen Lewis

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