If you’ve ever played Cards Against Humanity (if you haven’t, think Apples to Apples, but much, much raunchier!), you know that it takes a… let’s say, creative mind to come up with the words on those cards. But in their latest Black Friday stunt, the brand threatened the livelihood of their writers with artificial intelligence (AI).
Mind you, it is highly unlikely they’d ever actually fire the people who make their cards so memorable — but that’s precisely what they threatened to do last Friday as a means of drumming up business.
Fans of the popular card game were encouraged to watch and vote on a stream where Cards Against Humanity writers squared off against an AI algorithm to see who could create the best cards.
On the line are $5,000 bonuses for every employee if team human comes up victorious, or heartless termination in the event the AI takes the top spot. We don’t think CAH actually plans to fire their writers if they lose, but it is a clever stunt nonetheless to drum up the human vs. machine narrative at a time when automation may pose a very real threat to millions of jobs in the coming decade, writing included.
This Cards Against Humanity AI wasn’t just a random text generator, either: according to The Verge, it’s a neural network borrowed from the GPT-2 model created by OpenAI that was trained to write card copy.
Humans beat AI… for now
It turns out fans voted — narrowly — in favor of the human Cards Against Humanity writers over the AI. So they can keep their jobs.
While I absolutely believe those writes should always have a job — and I side with the workers who have made factories run for generations over their incoming robotic job-stealers — I do think AI has a place in some ventures.
There was a movement in art history called “Dada” — it was interesting because, rather than looking to the usual landscape or human-centric subjects that painters would normally use as inspiration, Dada artists were known to use “controlled chaos” to come up with new ideas.
They’d toss random items in their studios into a big box, shake it around, open the lid, and use the resulting mess inside to inform their composition.
AI, when seen as a creative tool and not a replacement for humans, can be quite similar, as evidenced by the fact that so many people did vote for AI-generated cards.