Artificial Intelligence

I remember it well, my first run in with the AI. A primitive version for sure, but still light years beyond my hands. I had found sign painting as a way to make a living and provide meat and vegetables to my mate and my offspring. I had a small sign shop in the 1980’s. It paid well enough. Then I learned of a government contract up for bids. It was a parks department at first. However, one evil government requirement, the lettering all had to be helvetica medium, 1/2inch or less. Every sign was different so using photoscreens was out of the question. The shifty eyed sign shop supply salesman said to me, ‘I have a machine to do that, it cuts vinyl letters, anything you want to say., Just $15,000.00 but the vinyl is so cheap, its the way of the future.’ Can I make it say horrible things? I asked. Certainly. This was the late 1980’s. The machine is still around today in sign and hobby shops all over the earth. Vinyl cutting for fun, the most wasteful product ever. Anyway, as I was saying. The machines brilliance was its ability to switch between fonts, just like me dammit, each ROM chip was a font, with every variant, italic, bold, even reverse to stick to windows. It was an evil thing. I used to get double the money painting lettering in reverse on the inside of windows. My employees, who only wished to become great artists like me, were henceforth handcuffed to a machine, their only responsibility was to peel away the waste vinyl, weeding as we all have come to know. Becoming a good weeder was the next paying job. No painting, that’s toxic. Every idea I had fell apart, I had thought painting would be the last thing that technology would attempt to replace, but they did. Nobody seems to have any issue with the massive level of toxic waste from using vinyl as a disposable product in the sign business. The cost of ink is obscene. But its fast and you are all in a hurry. The paint I used was also toxic, but it will last 100 years. This was the first collapse of business I experienced at the hands of ARTI, the engineers of these things seem to be chasing the arts, trying to absorb what makes humans human.

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