Press This: Our AI Overlords

by | Jun 22, 2023 | Etcetera | 0 comments

Welcome to Press This, the WordPress community podcast from WMR. Each episode choices guests from around the community and discussions of a very powerful issues coping with WordPress developers. The following is a transcription of the authentic recording.

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File Pop: You’re taking note of Press This, a WordPress Group Podcast on WMR. Each week we spotlight people of the WordPress community. I’m your host, File Pop. I strengthen the WordPress community by means of my place at WP Engine, and my contributions over on TorqueMag.Io where I get to do podcasts and draw cartoons and academic films. Take a look at that out.

Closing week was once as soon as WordCamp Europe 2023, one of the vital important largest WordPress events on the earth. This year’s event was once as soon as hosted in Athens, Greece with 1000’s of attendees. My customer in this day and age, James Dominy, was once as soon as one of those attendees who moreover gave a workshop titled “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love our AI Rulers”. James is a Technical Architect at WP Engine, and we’re gonna keep up a correspondence to him about his speech. And as someone who continues to be very so much serious about AI and WordPress, we’re gonna ask James to lend a hand, alleviate my concerns or confirm them. I guess we’ll find out in this episode.

James, thank you one of these lot for changing into a member people in this day and age. Let’s get began off with merely give us a brief description of the way in which you got into WordPress.

James Dominy: So It’s now not that i’m into WordPress, actually, my partner is into WordPress. I percentage my affiliation with WordPress with you in that I artwork for WP Engine, alternatively I’ve been involved only only on the web internet hosting infrastructure side. On the other hand I’ve from time to time helped my partner debug problems inside the plugins that she writes for her consumers.

She works for a small corporate in Ireland.

File: And your speak about WordCamp Europe was once as soon as titled, “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Our AI Rulers.” Are robots coming for the jobs of WordPress devs and content material subject material creators?

James: Good enough. Yeah, it’s straight away to the middle of the subject. 

File: Immediately for it.

James: Positive and no. Let me merely confirm your beliefs there. Briefly, the take area of my keep up a correspondence was once as soon as, AI isn’t there however, and when you’re inside the WordPress community, actively doing problems, whether or not or now not it’s as a blogger, whether or not or now not it’s as a freelancer, whether or not or now not it’s as a plugin developer, a core Contributor, running in an corporate, any of those problems, you may well be most certainly already being exposed to AI like ChatGPT or Bard, and also you may well be most certainly secure. 

I imagine we’ve all noticed those memes going spherical of spectacular AI fails. Like, give me a synonym for journey starting with D and it expectantly answers shuttle. So, I imagine for numerous problems we’re secure as long as we ourselves learn how to use the AI tools now. Because of we’re going to be competing towards other people who are the use of AI tools to spice up up their own jobs. 

I imagine the real chance lies inside the incoming technology to the WordPress community. And I indicate, numerous what I’m talking about doesn’t actually apply only to the WordPress community. It applies to such a large amount of jobs and lives and problems in our lives previous WordPress. 

On the other hand WordPress obviously was once as soon as the focal point of WordCamp. So the way in which wherein I represent it’s we need to be careful not to pull the ladder up at the back of us. AI as it stands now’s very good at converting the easy tasks, the boilerplate tasks. The go-to example for me at WordCamp was once as soon as something like, Just right day, my editor needs me to supply a blog article on “10 Problems to do in Athens at Night time” whilst I’m at WordCamp. That’s something ChatGPT is very good at, alternatively when you ask it to get a hold of 100 problems, you may well be most certainly gonna find repeats. 

You may additionally merely every now and then, on account of there is also inherent randomness inside the AI output, find that it recommends something truly dodgy. Like, Just right day, pass and talk over with this Nazi memorabilia plate collection in some random guy’s area, because it happens to be on Google Maps or there was once as soon as an article about it and that by some means unintentionally got sucked into the training set. So, what that implies is that the duty now, without AI is generate words, and then they pass to a sub editor. The duty when AI is to be had in is gonna be generate words with AI, and likewise you change into that editor. You change into the reality checker. And it’s so much the an identical on the use of AI to have the same opinion in coding. 

File: Mm-hmm. 

James: AI is very good at simple tasks. It’s now not very good at combining completed simple tasks into additional subtle methods. Not nevertheless it, it’ll get there. On the other hand what that implies is that the duty that that you must have given, for your intern or your junior programmer, on the body of workers will also be, pass and do this slightly boilerplate issue, come once more to me and then I, as a senior engineer on the body of workers, would possibly pass and try it and ensure that it actually works.

And I know inside the first place to ask for that process to be achieved. Whilst AI doesn’t know however that which may be a process that will have to be achieved to fulfill a greater process. That’s what I indicate thru combining simple solutions into additional complex solutions is likely one of the weaknesses in AI nowadays. On the other hand that may most certainly pass away. 

What that implies even though is I get to the aim where I will be able to issues those tasks and know what tasks need to be achieved. I get to the aim where I will be able to be informed by means of an article and pass, that doesn’t sound right, or that something’s incorrect there, or, oh, I know I will be able to need to now not be recommending Nazi memorabilia in our explicit magazine. That knowledge and those skills comes by means of having made the mistakes, doing the easy tasks. And what I indicate thru pulling the ladder up at the back of us is if those easy tasks are all gonna be achieved thru AI at some point, we’re however gonna need people to direct AI. On the other hand how are we able to get new people coming into the community, into the field, who’ve discovered on the basics?

File: Hmm.

James: And thus graduated to the aim where they can use AI effectively for the additional subtle problems.

File: I imagine I 100% agree with numerous what you’re saying. AI isn’t quite there however. It’s now not gonna be converting anyone however. My greater worry is additional that, a writer will lose their activity and get replaced thru AI most simple to get rehired once more to edit the AI and just do as so much artwork, if now not additional artwork than they have got been doing previous to.

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Or a coder for the same subject, right kind? 

James: Yeah, totally. 

File: Lose their activity and then merely after all finally end up rewriting, ChatGPT’S code or Co-pilot’s code. On the other hand that’s capitalism. That’s now not necessarily AI. It’s merely additional of like AI being used for the reason that excuse to more or less spice up up that habits. On the other hand in 5 years from now, do you assume that that gained’t even be the case?

That like AI might be very good enough to not assume up a site, alternatively code a site with very little bettering afterwards?

James: Nearly without a doubt, it’s very hard to tell. I imagine that where we’re on the AI curve. 

File: Mm-hmm. 

James: My personal agree with is that it comes proper right down to computation and memory, and the additional that we throw it at, the larger the models we will be able to create and the larger the models we will be able to create, the additional context the AI can use to generate its output.

And the additional context it has, the better the consequences are gonna be. I imagine there’s some basic problems that individuals in all probability don’t in most cases understand, that is, AI can’t innovate. They’re skilled and the way in which wherein that they artwork, they spit out output that matches something they’ve been skilled on within some random variation. That’s a very best level analysis of it.

Can an AI write a brand spanking new novel? Can or now not it’s creative? Not now. I indicate, you’ll without a doubt ask AI to transpose your peom with the style of Shakespeare and that can make it upper. Write me a peom inside the style of Shakespeare a couple of jug of water on the table, on account of that’s what I’m observing in this day and age.

Can it do it? Positive. Is it being creative? That’s a deeply philosophical question. Will AI recover at solving complex tasks with additional memory and further computation? Positive, totally. However it’ll most simple be able to get to the bottom of tasks that have already been solved thru a human or if now not, it’ll want a human to ask them to get to the bottom of the obligation inside the first place.

File: And I imagine that’s an excellent spot for us to take a at hand information a coarse spoil. I perceive I’ve been talking about my fears previously this episode once we come once more with Press This and James Dominy, I’m gonna ask James to gimme the good news about AI and cheer me up and let me know in a sensible sense, what are one of the crucial tactics wherein, WordPress may have the advantage of this.

So, stay tuned for additonal Press This right kind after the quick spoil.

File: Welcome once more to Press This, a WordPress Group podcast. I’m your host, File Pop. These days I’m speaking to James Dominy, a Technical Architect at WP Engine, who simply in recent years gave a talk at WordCamp Europe 2023. The controversy was once as soon as titled “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Our AI Overlords.” And I actually like that determine.

Obviously we’re all fans of Peter Sellers. Right kind. And in addition you saidcthe Simpsons reference was once as soon as moreover in there. What’s the, what’s the Simpsons reference I’m missing

James: The Simpsons reference is the newscaster whose identify I now put out of your mind, who has this regimen phrase on each and every instance something happens, “I, for one, welcome our new AI overlords, or I for one, welcome, our new alien overlords,” without reference to the style of the episode is. Whoever’s taking over Springfield.

File: And so on the principle 10 minutes of this episode, I talked to you about some concerns I’ve and easily other folks will have about AI and we maximum often thinking about, I guess, economics and how it affects jobs. This keep up a correspondence sounds like it might be positive.

I didn’t get a chance to look your workshop, alternatively do you in most cases believe that there will also be additional choices created thru AI than challenging scenarios?

James: Exhausting to say. I’m now not certain that I will be able to actually be dispelling your anxiousness. To be honest. I imagine AI pieces a big choice for such a large amount of problems. I imagine one of the vital important problems that I’m most fascinated with is the conceivable to use AI inside the WordPress community to make WordPress additional sustainable, additional energy atmosphere pleasant, and part of that can be AI analysis of the code.

All over again, it’s now not there however, alternatively it’ll be in 5 years. The other issue is the use of AI in our web internet hosting infrastructure to regulate the way in which wherein we do problems and possibly switch anyone’s WordPress arrange from one company’s infrastructure to a few different on account of they’re greener or something.

So like that for me is an incredibly exciting choice. I imagine that also there are numerous other ways wherein AI can be used in terms of generating content material subject material. Like the speculation with AI, one of the vital important excellent stuff is I will be able to write 10 articles now inside the home that I would possibly write one. And I will be able to A/B test my articles, I will be able to A/B test my campaigns and we’re already doing this manually, alternatively the scope will build up massively.

So I imagine there’s gonna be a internet monetary receive advantages for those who generate income out of WordPress as neatly. Assuming that they get on board, they typically leverage the tools which will also be becoming available. That doesn’t take away from the fact that, if we mishandle the way in which wherein that we do this, I’m now not gonna say that there’s disaster, alternatively I imagine that, there are risks and I imagine, numerous people are fascinated by the obvious risks.

On the other hand I imagine the real ones which will also be gonna get us, are gonna be those nuanced risks. Similar to the nuanced likelihood for us nowadays for me is the 5 years time we’re now not going to have a skills pipeline of people coming into the WordPress community on account of we haven’t handled this neatly. We haven’t engaged with it, we haven’t discussed it. 

And proper right here’s the bit where I will be able to dispel your anxiousness. I was completely impressed during the set of talks and the time table at WordCamp EU. AI was once as soon as a scorching matter, and we have now been talking about it, everyone was once as soon as talking about it. And I imagine the most efficient issue about it’s that we weren’t talking about the obvious problems with the obvious solutions.

Other folks were digging into the details, people were asking hard questions of the audio gadget, myself built-in. And that means that we’re engaging with the problem now, and I imagine that as a local, WordPress will come out on top.

File: So, AI was once as soon as obviously a scorching matter at WordCamp EU  just because it’s a scorching matter in every single place and I guess I’d love to know, what was once as soon as the, the total vibe of the presentations you spotted, however as well as the total reactions from the gang? Do you assume we have more or less a consensus forming spherical AI and WordPress nowadays?

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James: I don’t know that we’ve got a consensus, alternatively we without a doubt have a consensus to speak about it. I imagine the reaction was once as soon as positive. Numerous the AI talks which have been there were, this is how I’m the use of AI, this is how we could use AI, and it was once as soon as how we will be able to use AI and corporations, how we will be able to use AI to extend plugins, how we will be able to use AI to optimize search engine optimization I imagine was once as soon as one of the vital important ones, I didn’t attend it. I merely spotted the determine. 

So people are talking regarding the choice and I imagine the response was once as soon as positive. and numerous the questions that were given right here up, without a doubt in my keep up a correspondence, were how are we able to maintain it? I don’t have the answers.

We’ve gotta navigate that. alternatively we’re asking the questions, on account of this that we’re acutely aware of it, which is the first step in solving any downside.

File: You may well be involved inside the WordPress Sustainability Channel, and I know that sustainability and websites is very important for you and I imagine that’s a truly awesome more or less approach to take into consideration like how AI may well be used. 

As someone who writes numerous content material subject material, one of the vital important problems I heard about simply in recent years, a satisfying little AI restore. I will be able to’t be mindful the identify of it. However it was once as soon as a plugin that had 4 number one choices which have been all more or less search engine optimization similar. One in every of them was once as soon as, it could lend a hand write, A/B assessments for, headlines or possibly like, search engine optimization descriptions in keeping with your content material subject material, proper right here’s a couple concepts for titles.

For many who like, we’ll do the ones assessments and if you happen to like the results of the test, you’ll totally switch over. And I thought that was once as soon as pretty cool. The necessary factor function, the large function for me in AI, and that’s so nerdy, alternatively mainly it was once as soon as, finding out your article and then helping you write the Yoast search engine optimization fast description, which I don’t know why, for me, I would possibly spend, , hours writing 1000 words or regardless of in a submit, and then it comes to writing that meta description, and I’m very similar to, no, I’d rather jump out this window than write some other description about this issue. So like the speculation of having AI do that seems very good. So there are a large number of those artful fixes for problems. Yeah.

James: I totally agree with you. Summarizing something effectively is hard. It’s not at all been easy. And I be mindful like writing the abstract for my, stuff in school was once as soon as, oh Jesus, like I thought I was achieved. I’ve written my 3 pages. Do I truly need to write this paragraph?

It was once as soon as all the time the hard phase, and that’s one thing AI is in reality fantastic at is summarizing stuff.

File: Yeah, totally. We’re coming in relation to the top of this number one section. I did have one question I wanted to ask you, and I will be able to need to have given you time beyond regulation to answer this. WordPress is an open provide, platform and the whole thing more or less connected with WordPress may be supposed to have this kind of open provide, GDPL licensing or regardless of.

When we’re talking about open provide and AI for coding, Co-pilot possibly specifically, what are the issues? Can developers use Co-pilot to lend a hand write WordPress code that’s supposed to one day be open provide?

James: Oh, gotta prefix this with It’s now not that i’m a legal professional. I don’t know. I imagine that that is most certainly one of the vital important other issues that we want to get to the bottom of, alternatively I imagine it is likely one of the glaring issues. I indicate that, that’s already stand up. People are discussing how, OpenAI and ChatGPT was once as soon as skilled on wisdom devices that weren’t open provide.

And now technically the consequences are legally ambiguous, specifically in relation to the use of it to code, et cetera. I imagine that can be cleaned up slightly merely. I indicate, I say merely. If we adopt a framework where we say if something is open provide, AI can use it and AI can spit it out and we get commitments from the corporations that run the large AI’s. 

And everyone who writes their own AI sort, on account of that’s coming too, because it’s gonna get more uncomplicated. In the event that they’re additional zealous and wary regarding the problems that they teach on, from a legal perspective, from a licensing perspective, and one day it’s gonna be from a content material subject material perspective and a law perspective, that’s coming and it’s gonna happen, and there’s gonna be a couple of mines inside the minefield that we’re gonna hit. On the other hand I imagine, that’s navigable. I imagine criminal execs are gonna make a lot of money whilst it happens. I imagine on a day-to-day basis that’s most certainly now not gonna impact the general public.

As far as WordPress is concerned, there are likely gonna be cases where, we unintentionally put some proprietary code into WordPress, and then that turns right into a question of does the proprietary licensing of the code live on the transformation that it undergoes by means of an AI software? Because of be mindful, AI outputs are random or randomized. And so what they’ve truly achieved is they’ve looked at someone’s code they usually’ve reproduced it. And thru they, I indicate the AI software itself, they’ve reproduced it with some random diversifications. 

That argument is so a lot more potent for content material subject material and such a lot weaker for code on account of coding languages have very strict grammars and there’s such a lot a lot much less random variation that works. And consequently, AI methods are constrained in what they output once they answer specific questions. 

On the other hand over again, the type of problems that we’re gonna be the use of AI to get to the bottom of for now are firmly classed inside the utilitarian issue. AI is gonna be outputting boilerplate code. It’s gonna be doing transformations of markdown tables into HTML for us. It’s now not solving subtle problems that have patents on them however,

File: Mm-hmm.

James: I will be able to have to emphasise the however.

File: I will be able to say that almost all of my concerns in this day and age with AI may well be resolved if we had some type of software in place to stick content material subject material and mainly if we merely take into consideration it as wisdom, keep wisdom from being scraped without permission and use without permission. I imagine that’s largely where most of my, my issues come from.

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James: I imagine that’s that’s the easy first step. If we lengthen the robots get began txt record, for instance, or AI training methods. Honor that one way or the other. There are easy technical solutions to that downside.

File: Yeah. And I keep fascinated by if Co-pilot was once as soon as quite bit additional like the use of Flicker where you’ll regulate your slider when you’re doing search, you’ll regulate a slider on Creative Commons. You’ll say, I’m looking for a at no cost no attribution commercial usage {photograph} otherwise you’ll say, I want quite bit additional variety. I’m now not gonna advertise this, so let me switch this to non-commercial and I’m ready to give attribution, right kind? Like quite slider like that. If Co-pilot had something that was once as soon as like, proper right here’s the licenses that this corpus is the use of and proper right here’s the license that this corpus is the use of, and also you’ll more or less choose.

And if you happen to’re going to output to open provide, you’ll choose from the open provide sort. That can be this sort of no-brainer for Microsoft to put in force.

James: I’d not at all regarded as it previous to. I actually like the way in which wherein you’re taking into consideration even though. That is fantastic.

File: Yeah. Smartly we’re gonna take our final spoil and once we come once more we’re gonna keep up a correspondence with James quite bit additional about WordCamp EU, on account of I didn’t get to transport this year and I’m taking a look forward to being attentive to about his experience. So stay tuned for additonal Press This right kind after the quick spoil.

File: Welcome once more to Press This, a WordPress community podcast. I’m your host, File Pop. These days I’m speaking to James Dominy, who gave a talk at WordCamp EU 2023, titled “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Our AI Overlords.” We’ve spent the overall 20 minutes talking about that matter and we haven’t truly talked so much about WordCamp EU.

And I guess merely at the end of this episode, James, I’d love to easily concentrate how was once as soon as your revel on this year? This was once as soon as your first WordCamp, right kind?

James: My first WordCamp, my first WordPress meetup ever and it was once as soon as very good. One word, Athens, two words, Athens Summer season. It was once as soon as fantastic. 

On the other hand that’s now not the only explanation why it was once as soon as fantastic. I want to say up upfront, it was once as soon as a particularly neatly organized and simply run event. I was so impressed and a shout out to the people, specifically who helped the audio gadget.

It was once as soon as the smoothest presentation I’ve ever achieved. Thank you very so much to everyone involved. Huge praise. 

All over again, like I discussed, AI was once as soon as the new matter. They, they have got been, I imagine the time table and the talks were neatly thought out. Obviously you not at all get to attend the whole thing. Because of I was speaking, I lost sight of like an element morning. On the other hand there were a variety of pieces that I wanted to look and I will be able to’t stay up for them to drop on WordPress.TV so that I will be able to see them after the reality. They’ve been protective a wide variety of topics and I imagine the other issue is, inside the final, a couple of years previously, or more than a couple of years previously now, I imagine Matt Mullenweg’s type of his mic drop 2d was once as soon as be informed JavaScript deeply. And this time it, it’s gonna be be informed AI deeply. I imagine he’s totally right kind. Lean into it.

File: Final question about WordCamp, did you concentrate anything that blew your ideas about AI? Did you be informed anything from anyone else all over your keep up a correspondence? Like one cool reality?

James: Positive. A few. I don’t know that there was once as soon as anything ideas blowing, alternatively there were a variety of little problems where I was going, oh, I didn’t know we have now been the use of AI for that already. Like you merely mentioned, we’re already the use of AI for A/B testing and for summarizing.

Great. And of course, the news about Jetpack was once as soon as along side AI without delay, was once as soon as massive knowledge obviously at WordCamp. It more or less caught me off guard in fairness was once as soon as like, ah, damn, good enough, they’re already on this. And proper right here’s my speak about coding a plugin by yourself. No use for that anymore. 

I imagine the thing that truly blew my ideas is the pace with which it’s being adopted. Everybody was once as soon as the use of it. Everyone had a way to use it. Each conversation that I had, someone were given right here up with a way, a brand spanking new approach to get to the bottom of a subject matter they have got been having. It’s now not a subject matter everyone has necessarily, alternatively that’s the scary issue regarding the instrument or now not frightening, that’s the very good issue regarding the instrument. It’s so versatile and also you’ll use it to get to the bottom of such a large amount of different problems.

File: Smartly, James, it’s been great having you on the show. Thank you one of these lot in your time and, thanks for giving a talk at WordCamp EU. If people wanna apply you, and be informed additional about what you’re running on, is there a very good place to send them?

James: It’s now not that i’m a social media specific individual, unfortunately. The best I will be able to more or less give is my LinkedIn if you want to send me a call for participation request and I will be able to in most cases accept, And catch my keep up a correspondence on WordPress.TV when it drops.

File: And catch you inside the uh, WordPress Sustainability channel.

James: Totally. Hashtag sustainability on the make WordPress slack.

File Pop: Thanks for taking note of Press This, a WordPress community podcast on WMR. Once over again, my identify’s File and also you’ll apply my adventures with Torque magazine over on Twitter @thetorquemag otherwise you’ll pass to where we contribute tutorials and films and interviews like this on a daily basis. So check out out or apply us on Twitter. You’ll subscribe to Press This on Purple Circle, iTunes, Spotify, otherwise you’ll download it without delay at each and every week. I’m your host Doctor Popular I strengthen the WordPress community by means of my place at WP Engine. And I actually like to focus on people of the community every week on Press This.

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