Why the stink of those terrible iPad ads won't go away – The Mercury News

Terrible, heartbreaking commercials are written, produced, and rejected by the general public on a regular basis. This one is different.

Apple's “Crush” industrial, which was unveiled last week and can not air on television in America because people really, madly and deeply hated it, represents something greater than a failure or a glitch. Unlike the walkback of Tor Myhren, Apple's vice chairman of selling communications last week – “We missed the mark with this video, and we're sorry” – the industrial for the brand new iPad Pro hit a much harder goal, being each terrible and honest to Apple Future vision.

Take 60 seconds to observe it (it's in all places, including YouTube) simply to see how the pictures affect you. A more harmless rip-off 16 yr old industrial For a long-gone LG smartphone in addition to countless online destruction videos, “Crush” begins with a stack of familiar analog artifacts in a hydraulic press. A record player. A metronome. A trumpet. An offended bird. A stress ball with big eyes able to burst.

The machine involves life and brings death to the artifacts. Emerged from the rubble: the iPad Pro, the thinnest ever, able to doing what all the opposite junk used to do, but (this part is just not within the ad) with a bit help from the generative artificial intelligence that embedded within the small chip contained in the small frame of the iPad Pro.

Apple has a robust, if belated, interest within the reassuringly innocuous phrase “generative AI.” Generative AI is predicated on scraping and collecting existing work online, rarely with compensation to whoever created the stuff in the primary place. This feeds the software to “train” it and make its creative or practical outputs appear, if not human, then humanoid.

The tech superpower boarded this barely regulated bullet train too late. But the iPad Pro, as justice analyst Dan Ives said on Bloomberg Television on May 11 marks step one in Apple's hoped-for “AI-driven supercycle” of product upgrades.

I spoke with Dallas resident Matt Zoller Seitz in regards to the ongoing impact of “Crush” promoting and Apple’s deal with generative AI. He has written splendidly on this topic for rogerebert.comwhere he serves as editor-in-chief and tv critic for New York Magazine and vulture.com.

The following has been edited for clarity and length.

Q: Matt, were you completely satisfied with Apple's official apology for the “Crush” ad?

A: Let's just say I’d have liked a more sincere and detailed apology for the sheer enormity of the offense the criticism committed against art and artists. It was more like, “Our Bad.” Which, to me, is sort of as offensive because the ad itself.

Q: Most people don't remember the script within the Ridley Scott “1984” Macintosh industrial since it was so visually arresting. But the dictator on the video board had this Orwellian line in regards to the government's “information cleansing policies.” To me, it felt just like the recent iPad ad was created using the identical guidelines.

A: It did! And we must always not downplay the violence that happens after we watch these beautiful objects being destroyed and displayed with great joy. It's a violation. For individuals who didn't care about this topic, it actually triggered something in them, a deep disgust. A framed photo is destroyed within the background of a shot and I can't stop fascinated by it. Someone, a production designer, put a number of thought into exactly what objects could be included, and this was one in all them.

There is a painting of my mother hanging on the wall behind me. There is a particular reason why artists have photographs and drawings of their workspace. For inspiration. It may very well be a painting by one other artist, it may very well be a photograph of her family, her children. So Apple is ensuring that even the tokens and memorabilia that reward artists' work are destroyed?

There's something I didn't say within the article I wrote because I didn't consider it until after it was published. You cannot create artwork with this (iPad Pro) software. But you should utilize it to provide “content”. A rough representation of something creative that YouTube and other platforms can profit from. I believe that's what the ad is absolutely telling us. If we take the artist out of the equation, everyone can produce their very own content for themselves. And whoever else can pay for it.

The use of generative AI is, for my part, a fundamental shift in the best way technology is utilized in relation to the humanities. It's not like a word processor that has a spell checker. Or a graphics program that lets you draw on the screen with a pen. It's more like Tim Robbins's line in “The Player”: “What an interesting concept it is to exclude the author from the artistic process. If we can just get rid of these actors and directors, we might have something here.”

Q: And that was a generation ago, before Apple! What do you say to people who argue that the “crush” ad was okay and generative AI is more than okay, and even if that wasn’t the case it would be too late?

A: Here's what I'm saying: This technology wouldn't exist without the work artists already do. I don't care that they use dead artists to train the software. What offends me is that the work of living writers, artists, musicians and filmmakers trying to make a living is being misused as education. It is a mass theft of intellectual work and intellectual property on an unprecedented scale. And it's really no different than if we lived in a country where someone came along and said, “Okay, any further all of the work in the development industry goes to go away.” We have these machines now and we've trained them by “We allow them to investigate the actions of human construction crews without their knowledge or consent.” Would people put up with that?

The least that should happen is an equivalent of the Bill of Rights regulating the release of AI content in the wild. Any image, music or writing created using AI software should be clearly labeled as such. The burden of proving that it is a fake should not be left to the average person. And anyone whose art, writing or music was used to train so-called generative AI should be compensated by these companies. Period.

Q: The only thing that encourages me about Apple's “Crush” commercial? It's a reminder of the fallibility of any creative human endeavor, even if it's an advertisement that sells an arguably misanthropic vision of technology.

A: I saw something on Twitter – I refuse to call it anything else – that I've been thinking about a lot. Someone said, “I didn't imagine within the concept of a human soul until I saw AI-generated artworks.” I imagine in something like a soul. It is expressed in art, in music, in film. And if a machine does it? You can say. If you care for it, you’ll be able to tell the difference. That's an enormous if, though. I believe a number of people have decided to not hassle. And these are the people I'm most afraid of.

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