Made By Humans RFC

I had a think this morning about what, outside of the reading group, we could undertake which would be useful given this wave of new knowledge/ways of looking at things we’re getting from McQuillan. I reckon we’ll probably get a good amount of suggestions from him around organising etc. but I have a concept that possibly could be useful for pulling more people into this place and locus as a collective, and put some effort towards something useful for people.

As I’m a marketing professional (for my sins) I thought it might be best to write this a bit like a campaign proposal. There will be many gaps, it’s not a whole thought, and I don’t expect an imminent response, but if you’re interested in action on top of this theory, it might be an interesting one.

Ahead of that, I see there being a couple of issues with bringing more people into things:

  • a reading group is not for everyone, people come in different shapes, some want to read theory, some want to undertake action
  • the area that we focus on is predominantly going to attract people who work in tech who are in my experience time poor (who isn’t)
  • like point 1, not everyone wants to join and engage in chat on a forum, we already have signals everywhere, why more?


Made By Humans

The Problem

We are careering quite fast into a situation where a lot of content (I hate this word to) online is going to be produced either by or with the aid of AI. There are artists, creators etc. who don’t like this as it either cheapens or is falsely labelled as the process of creation;

What I’m getting at is that theory of creativity tends to be connected to theory of mind and theory of consciousness. I propose that creativity has a direct causal relationship with consciousness. It is my personal belief that to be able to create in the way we understand true creation, one has to have a conscious mind.

there are techies and consumers alike who don’t want to engage with or buy synthetic products; there are publishers and fact-checkers alike who are deeply concerned about the wall of misinformation which is headed our way; and there are many other similar stories which can be bundled in.

Currently we have a bunch of people promising detection tools and similar things, but those things aren’t here yet. On top of this, those tools will be fallible, just like humans are fallible. Measure twice, cut once

The Solution (in brief)

We launch Made By Humans, a verification process which couples with a web badge that allows people to affirm to visitors that their art, writing, music, whatever it is, comes from a human process, with no generative machines bundled into that.

Graphic design is my passion

Oh but Josh, what if people just put the badge on their site and don’t go through whatever process you use to determine if the content is made by humans?

And also what would that process be?

I don’t have an answer to 2 yet, and I wager that people could game this system, for that the devil is in the details. For 1 though I do have an answer. We pair this with an open repository (probably GitHub for the ability to pull people in but I could be haggled down from that, I’m just thinking about how you can throw this net as wide as possible) which lists these MBH-vetted sites. One better than that, we use an extension to allow people to have badged-and-verified sites show up in their toolbar. The nature of this open project would allow for us to bring onboard more people, sharing the work.

Additional bits

  • it’s possible there are some checkers already out there for images / text / music that could be used, if we created a process that involved a human and automated systems we could get closer to perfect than with humans alone, crucially whatever it is it must be open so it can be criticized
  • there should be a report method for anyone who wishes to say that a badge is incorrectly given
  • there should be a nominate method for the inverse
  • by its very nature this kind of thing fits with iNfLuEnCeRs so getting some mid-sized creators who are into AI would be a good shout, an opportunity to talk to a Sophie From Mars or the like

I will revisit and add to this in time, for the moment I’m interested in people really poking holes in it.