After Buzzfeed announced last week that it would use ChatGPT-derived tools to “enhance” and “personalize” some of its content, its stock price immediately rose from under a $1 a share to nearly $4 — it has since dropped back to $2. That trajectory perhaps reflects something of the hype cycle with generative AI, which seems to provoke an overreaction that is then met with only a partial correction; there remains a stubborn sense that LLMs really will add some tangible value, and who knows? Maybe that value really will take the form of “custom Mad Libs, if your book of Mad Libs were a bit more sentient,” as Madison Malone Kircher put it in this
I see a future where, like AI companions, you are given an AI audience and you, knowing its an AI audience, still feel elated. When I was younger, I was an only child who got lost in the one player worlds of the Nintendo Entertainment System. Don't be surprised if more people choose to withdraw into similar, quasi-parasocial realms.
I say quasi-parasocial because the AI will listen more closely to you than your closest friend possibly could.