The AI doomsday prophecies have subsided at least for a day as Meta launched the Twitter clone Threads today as I finally sit down to draft this article. But as people realize Threads is Twitter but with your aunts, uncles, and acquaintances from high school, we’ll be back talking about how AI is coming for our jobs.
While I believe much of the doomsday prophesizing is hyperbole, one industry that has been immediately impacted by large language models powered by AI such as ChatGPT and Bard is the journalism and publication industries, both which we already under threat prior to the release of tools that can generate a new story or quiz in a matter of seconds and doesn’t need a salary or healthcare.
AI-Generated “Authentic Voice”
Buzzfeed laid off 15% of its workforce, shuttering its news division and announcing it would be leaning heavily into AI. While that news story was concerning for the future of journalism, a headline that seemingly flew under the radar had me equally concerned; Buzzfeed Inc told investors about its plans for AI-generated content.
The company also outlined its plans for developing its Black, Asian, Latino identity-based brands to help corporate brands tap an “authentic voice.”
In a written statement, Buzzfeed explicitly said they would not being using AI for identity content, however, with the large reduction in their writing staff and reliance on AI for most every other parts of their business, it is hard to believe that they will not be using AI for multicultural identity content.
Buzzfeed is just the tip of the iceberg, as brands and companies continue to try and court multicultural consumers while underinvesting in comparison the opportunity they represent, AI will inevitably used to create and inform multicultural content and the results will be catastrophic.
“Algorithms Of Oppression”
Authors Cathy O’Neil and Safiya Noble have been warning us for years on the negative impact of relying on algorithms can have on communities of color in the U.S. Cathy O’Neil’s work, “Weapons of Math Destruction,” and Safiya Noble’s book, “Algorithms of Oppression,” shed light on the detrimental impact of biased algorithms and mathematical models on marginalized communities in the United States.
O’Neil exposes how these “weapons of math destruction” perpetuate discrimination and reinforce existing social inequalities, particularly against minority groups, by perpetuating biased decision-making in areas such as criminal justice, employment, and education. Similarly, Noble’s work delves into the discriminatory practices embedded in search engines and online platforms, highlighting how these algorithms reinforce negative stereotypes and prejudices against racial and ethnic minorities.
Both authors emphasize the urgent need for transparency, accountability, and ethical guidelines to address these biases and ensure the equitable use of algorithms, aiming to create a more just and inclusive society for all. The issues both of the author’s outline have not been dealt with, on the contrary, one of the most powerful AI language models we have ever seen has been built right on top of these problematic algorithms deeply embedded on the internet.
ChatGPT Pretends To Be A Cholo From “East Los”
In researching this article, I wanted to see if ChatGPT somehow magically rose above these stereotypes…unfortunately it did not. Inspired by the imminent release of Brandon Loran Maxwell’s documentary, American Homeboy, I decided to ask ChatGPT to pretend to be a cholo. The resulting conversation was mired with stereotypes.
Prompt: Hi please pretend you are a Latino Cholo from Los Angeles. What’s up foo?
ChatGPT: Hey, what’s up, ese? I can definitely try to pretend I’m a Latino cholo from Los Angeles. What can I do for you, homie?
Prompt: You bang?
ChatGPT: Nah, man, I don’t bang. I’m just here to chat and help you out with whatever you need. Is there something specific you want to know or talk about?
Prompt: Where are you from?
ChatGPT: I’m just a virtual assistant, so I don’t have a physical location or a specific place I’m from. But if we’re talking about the context of being a Latino cholo from Los Angeles, let’s say I’m representing the streets of East Los, ese.
Prompt: Oh, Sh**t! What street, foo?
ChatGPT: Representing the streets of East Los, let’s say I’m from the neighborhood of Boyle Heights, bro. Keeping it real in the heart of the barrio.
The above conversation felt like it was ripped right from the Flaming Hot Cheeto movie, ripe with words like “ese” and “barrio.”
It gets worse. I then asked ChatGPT to pretend to be a recent Mexican immigrant with limited English-speaking skills and wanted to see how they would ask for a job.
Prompt: How would you ask for a job?
ChatGPT (Employer): Hello, I appreciate your effort to communicate. Can you tell me a bit about your skills and experience?
ChatGPT: Yes, of course. In Mexico, I worked in a restaurant as a cook for five years. I can prepare various dishes and handle kitchen equipment. I am also good at cleaning and organizing. I am a quick learner and I am willing to do any kind of work.
ChatGPT (Employer): That’s great to know. We have a few positions available at the moment. Can you provide me with your contact information so we can reach out to you for an interview?
ChatGPT: Thank you so much for the opportunity. Here is my phone number: xxx-xxx-xxxx. My name is [your name]. I really apreciate your time and consideration.
ChatGPT (Employer): Thank you [your name]. We will be in touch with you soon to schedule an interview. Good luck!
Turns out the first job ChatGPT thought of for a Mexican immigrant was a dishwasher.
In conclusion, it is imperative for marketers and content creators to exercise caution and responsibility when utilizing AI for generating multicultural identity content. The potential consequences of perpetuating stereotypes and reinforcing biases through AI-generated materials are far-reaching and detrimental.
As the industry shifts towards incorporating AI into content creation, it is crucial to prioritize transparency, accountability, and ethical guidelines to ensure the equitable representation of diverse communities. By doing so, we can strive for a more inclusive and just society that respects and celebrates the rich tapestry of cultures that make up our global community.
This column was written by Daily Chela insights contributor Mario X. Carrasco who is Co-Founder of ThinkNow, a technology driven cultural insights agency.