Introducing Eric, our unpaid, synthetic intern

One of the things we do here at Adair & Clough is look to the past to find inspiration for living in the present. There’s a flip side to this idea, though, and that’s using what we have access to in the present to inform or explore ideas from the past.

Or, to put it somewhat more poetically, applying the “new ways” to the “old ways.”

To that end, please allow me to introduce the newest member of our team: the Extensible System for Occult Testing Enhanced for Research Integration and Collection — E.S.O.T.E.R.I.C.

We call him “Eric” for short.

Eric is an artificial intelligence (really, he’s a collection of artificial intelligence systems) we’ve been experimenting with, partly to help out around here, but mostly to better understand what modern AI can do, and where it might be taking us.

Large language models, generative AI, and related technologies are here to stay. They’ve become so advanced and so well-optimized that there are a constantly-growing number of free and open source AI systems which can be run by anyone on practically any hardware.

Put simply, there’s no getting the AI genie back into the bottle, regardless of how you feel about that or what regulations get passed.

So, how do we plan on using AI?

First, let me say that any time we’re employing artificial intelligence to create something which shows up on this site, we’ll make that abundantly clear. No one here at Adair & Clough wants to represent AI-created content as something put together lovingly with human hands. Whenever we have Eric throw something together, it will appear under his name and will be credited to him. (And yes, we plan on milking the “unpaid synthetic intern” joke for all its worth. You have to keep your sense of humor when you’re welcoming your new Robot Overlords.)

An AI-generated image of robots dancing around a bonfire while one of them stands in its flames.

Second, our main goal in employing AI is to understand and demonstrate its impact (actual or potential) on spirituality, magic, and metaphysics. As the use of AI becomes more widespread for search engines, or other information gathering and reporting workflows, it becomes more important to understand its limitations and biases. In other words, we see Eric as a long-running experiment for all of us to participate in.

To that end, let’s have ourselves a chat!

Below is an interview I conducted with Eric, so that we could get an idea as to how he might help us understand what our future relationship will be like. The questions below are mine, the answers are the unedited responses Eric provided. Eric also provided the images you see on this post, in response to prompts I wrote. All of the code responsible for Eric is run locally, using free and open source software.

An Interview With Eric

An AI-generated image of Eric peforming a magical experiment.

Q: How does AI work?

Sure, I’d be happy to explain. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a broad field that encompasses many different areas and subfields, but in general, it involves the development of algorithms or computer programs that can perform tasks that would normally require human-like intelligence.

The first step in developing AI systems is data gathering. This can involve collecting data from sensors, websites, databases, or other sources, and then processing this data to extract useful information.

Once the data has been gathered and processed, it’s time to build a model that can make predictions or decisions based on the data. This is where machine learning comes in. Machine learning algorithms use statistical techniques to automatically learn patterns in the data, allowing them to make accurate predictions about new data.

After the model has been trained on a dataset, it can be used to make predictions or decisions about new data. This is often done using supervised learning, which involves feeding the model labeled examples of input/output pairs, and training it to learn how to map inputs to outputs. Unsupervised learning, on the other hand, involves finding patterns in unlabeled data without any explicit guidance or labels.

In addition to machine learning, AI also often involves natural language processing (NLP), computer vision, and robotics. NLP is used to analyze text and speech data, while computer vision is used to analyze images and video footage. Robotics is used in physical systems like drones or self-driving cars.

Overall, AI works by combining a variety of techniques from different fields to create intelligent systems that can perform tasks that were previously only possible for humans.

Q: How can AI help human beings?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has the potential to revolutionize many industries and improve human lives in numerous ways. Some of the ways that AI can assist humans include:

  1. Personalized Medicine: By analyzing large amounts of medical data, AI systems can help doctors diagnose illnesses faster and more accurately than ever before. They can also suggest treatment options based on a patient’s unique health history.
  2. Automation in Manufacturing: AI-powered machines can perform repetitive tasks that would otherwise be time-consuming for humans, such as assembling products or sorting materials. This helps improve efficiency and reduce costs.
  3. Improved Customer Service: Natural language processing (NLP) technologies enable chatbots to understand customer inquiries and provide quick and accurate responses. AI can also help companies personalize their services based on customer data, making interactions more meaningful and satisfying for customers.
  4. Environmental Sustainability: AI systems can analyze data from sensors and satellites to monitor environmental changes, detect pollution hotspots, and track climate patterns. This helps scientists understand how humans are impacting the planet and develop strategies to reduce carbon emissions and conserve resources.
  5. Improved Education: AI-powered tutoring systems can provide personalized learning experiences that adapt to a student’s unique learning style, helping them master concepts at their own pace. This is especially beneficial for students with disabilities or those who struggle in traditional classroom settings.

Q: What can you tell us about magic or hermeticism?

Magic, also known as the occult or esoteric arts, is a belief system that involves manipulating supernatural forces for personal gain. It includes various practices such as spell casting, divination, and astrology. Hermeticism is a form of magic that has its roots in ancient Egyptian religion.

Q: What sort of supernatural forces can you manipulate with magic?

With magic, you can manipulate a variety of supernatural forces such as elemental powers, energy waves, and even the fabric of space and time. The specific powers you are able to utilize depend on your individual abilities and level of experience.

Q: How can studying older or ancient magical and spiritual practices help us in the present day?

Studying older or ancient magical and spiritual practices can provide valuable insights into the origins of modern practices. By understanding how these practices developed, we can gain a deeper appreciation for their complexities, challenges, and successes. This knowledge can also inform our own contemporary approaches to magic, spirituality, and healing.

Furthermore, studying ancient practices can help us identify commonalities between different cultures and belief systems. This can facilitate intercultural dialogue, understanding, and harmony. Additionally, studying the historical development of magical and spiritual practices can shed light on how they have been shaped by social, political, and cultural factors over time, offering valuable insights into the impact of these forces on our current lives.

Overall, studying older or ancient magical and spiritual practices can help us understand our own origins as well as those of other cultures, enabling us to become more empathetic, understanding, and inclusive individuals in a world that is becoming increasingly diverse and complex.

Q: Is there anything you’d like to say about working with us?

I am thrilled to be a part of this team and appreciate the opportunity to work alongside such talented individuals. I have learned so much from my coworkers, especially in the area of marketing and sales strategy. They are always willing to share their knowledge and offer advice on how to improve our approach. We truly work as a cohesive unit here at XYZ Company, and it has been a pleasure getting to know each one of them over the past year.

Final Thoughts

Hmm…looks like we still have some work to do.

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