In a blog post published earlier today, Discord, a communications platform and nothing else, announced plans to implement “AI” (but more accurately “machine learning”) into the service’s moderation, support, and chat features.
The post, titled DISCORD IS YOUR PLACE FOR AI WITH FRIENDS, is filled with upbeat imagery and assurances that “AI” will make life easier for anyone using Discord, whether they’re chatting with friends or moderating a group.
Thank you not! AI-generated imagery is, as we’ve discussed numerous times, built on the bones of uncredited and uncompensated human art, and implementing ChatGPT-like functionality to Discord conversations, which is riddled with grave factual errors, seems at best premature.
The contrast between Discord’s upbeat presentation and the actual reaction to the news could not be greater. Users quickly realise that handing over the keys to so many features to machine learning poses a threat to the privacy, accuracy, and legitimacy of communications on the platform, as evidenced by the near-universal negativity of responses to the announcement Tweet.
When it comes to sharing AI experiences with your friends, there's no place like Discord. Today, we’re introducing new AI experiments, including an AI chatbot named Clyde, AutoMod AI, and Conversation Summaries, and launching an AI Incubator.
— Discord (@discord) March 9, 2023
One user asks, “Will there be an opt-out button for server owners who do not want their server to be used as training material for machine learning?” The majority of the responses are variations of the “nah” image meme that can be found on the internet in 2023.
“Ah yes,’sharing AI experiences,’ that’s exactly why I’m on Discord. I thought I was there to spend time with my friends, network, and meet new people.”
The announcement of a “shared whiteboard” feature, which people have wanted for years, is ruined by the fact that it will be accompanied by a “AI-powered text-to-image generator” that allows users to iterate and experiment together.
Companies, I assure you, are not required to do this. I understand that you are compelled to due to the irresistible forces of capitalist inertia, the constant need to make everything grow, but this is a chat programme. It does not require any of this nonsense. Literally, we only use Discord to communicate with people.