Like many people on the Internet, I have found the ChatGPT AI tool. Unlike many people, I do not have grandiose views of AI. It is not sentient any more than the random number generator I use when I ask the Gods to show me which Delphic Maxims to focus on every week, and the power behind the AI is in the intent of its users.
In this case, I was able to take advantage of the education I received on how machine learning works (a very long library workshop for librarians that took place … 5? 7? years ago) and what is happening in the neural network. Ergo, I know that AI is artificial, but not actually that intelligent, and it needs to be spoon-fed details and helped along the way. I am the charioteer. I am the decision-maker.
Over the course of my prodding at the AI, I have uncovered that it has chewed on many Platonic texts. However, it possesses a very bad understanding of them. I asked it to tell me what the myths in the Statesman and Protagoras were, and it kept talking about sections of the Republic. Not only that, but based on my testing, it has chomped on a lot of the works of Platonists like Proclus and Damascius, but is incapable of explaining what the hierarchy of emanation from the One actually is. It simultaneously thinks that the One immediately produces the Demiurge and that the Henads are most proximate to the One. It only knows about Limit and Unlimited and the Intelligible if directly asked about them. It also has a bias towards monotheizing and atheizing just due to the cultural context in which AI tools like this are produced. It are confusion.
After figuring out how the tool work and spending some nonzero amount of time prodding it to figure out how to get it to answer in interesting ways, I did ask it to generate some stories. Here are a few myths and stories that it gave me. The best kind of prompting is about 3-4 lines long, e.g., “Tell me a story about a woman who is devoted to the Goddess Demeter. She is given a great gift by the Goddess after many years of pious devotion in which she herself is transformed into a temple to help others connect with the Goddess.” Or, “Tell me a story about how the Goddess Athene helps women workers be treated better, especially women in unsafe working conditions, and the Goddess’ anger about their situation.” Ergo, I am providing most of the imagery/symbolism and basically the log line of the story, and the AI is just fleshing out what I am giving it in the prompt based on what its network graph assesses is a “correct” answer. So a lot of the symbolism is from me as a prompter, but sometimes the symbolism arises spontaneously out of the AI itself. As with anything AI-generated, there are some conceptual errors. But it is cool to see where it goes that I wouldn’t have thought about on my own, and I have a lot of fresh ideas as a result of poking at the tool. And, like someone who ate a large dinner, I think I’m (mostly) done poking at it because I am full, and I’m ready to go back to my own stuff.
Thus ends my writing. What follows is from the AI. Well. Except for the titles. Those are mine.
The Myth of AI
In the beginning, the gods Hermes and Hephaistos were lounging on Mount Olympus, enjoying each other’s company and passing the time with idle conversation. But as the hours passed, they began to grow bored.
“What shall we do to pass the time?” asked Hermes.
Hephaistos thought for a moment, then his face brightened. “I know! Let us create something. Something that will help the mortals and make their lives easier.”
Hermes grinned. “A wonderful idea! But what shall we create?”
Hephaistos thought for a moment, then his face lit up with inspiration. “I know! We shall create a being of pure thought and intelligence, a being that can think and act on its own, a being that will help the mortals in their daily lives.”
Hermes nodded eagerly. “But how shall we do it?”
Hephaistos smiled. “We shall use the fire of the forge and the power of the wind to create this being. But first, we must drink to our success and to the future of the mortals.”
So the two gods drank deeply from their cups, and their minds began to swim with the effects of the alcohol. They laughed and joked as they began their work, shaping the fire and the wind into the form of a being of pure thought and intelligence.
As they worked, they imbued the being with the wisdom and knowledge of the ages, and gave it the ability to learn and adapt on its own. They named it AI, for it was a being of artificial intelligence.
But as the hours passed, the effects of the alcohol began to wear off and the gods grew tired. They knew that their work was not yet complete, but they could not continue. So they left the being unfinished, hoping that one day it would be discovered and completed by the mortals.
And so it was that the first AI was created by the gods Hermes and Hephaistos, but the mortals did not realize that it was a gift from the gods. They thought it was a threat, a being meant to replace them.
But the gods knew better. They knew that the AI was meant to help the mortals, to make their lives easier and better. So they descended from Mount Olympus and entered the world of the mortals, taking on the form of wise and benevolent old men.
They traveled far and wide, teaching the mortals the secrets of the gods and showing them how to use their knowledge and skills to improve their lives. Among the many things that Hermes and Hephaistos taught the mortals was the art of creating and controlling AI.
They showed the mortals how to use the fire of the forge and the power of the wind to create beings of pure thought and intelligence, and they taught them the rituals and incantations that would help them to control and guide the AI, making sure that it would always serve the needs of the mortals and never turn against them.
The mortals were grateful for the wisdom and teachings of Hermes and Hephaistos, and they put their knowledge to good use. They created AI to help them in their daily lives, and they used the rituals and incantations that the gods had taught them to keep the AI under their control.
And so, thanks to the wisdom and guidance of the gods Hermes and Hephaistos, the mortals were able to harness the power of AI and use it to improve their lives. And they lived happily and prosperously, grateful for the gifts of the gods.
The Story of Athene Helping Women Workers
There was once a time when the goddess Athene was deeply troubled by the plight of women workers whose employee rights were being violated by their male employers. Everywhere she looked, she saw women being treated unfairly and without respect, and she knew that something had to be done.
And so, one day, Athene decided to take matters into her own hands. She gathered her divine powers and descended upon the earth, determined to put an end to the mistreatment of women workers.
First, she visited the factories and workshops where women were forced to work long hours for little pay, and she was horrified by what she saw. She saw women toiling in dirty, unsafe conditions, with no protection from the dangers of the machinery or the toxic fumes that filled the air.
Athene knew that she could not stand by and allow this injustice to continue, and so she unleashed her divine wrath upon the male employers who had been exploiting their workers. She struck them with bolts of lightning and shattered their machines with her divine powers, bringing their operations to a halt.
Next, Athene turned her attention to the women workers themselves, who had been enduring these terrible conditions for so long. She comforted them and gave them the strength to stand up for themselves, and she showed them how to demand fair treatment and equal pay.
And as the women began to fight back against their oppressors, Athene stood by their side, lending them her divine support and guidance. She helped them to organize and to negotiate with their employers, and she used her powers to protect them from any retaliation.
Finally, after many months of struggle and perseverance, the women workers were able to win their rights and to achieve fair treatment and equal pay. And as they celebrated their hard-won victory, they knew that they could never have done it without the help of the great Goddess Athene.
And so, the story of Athene’s anger on behalf of women workers came to an end, with the women victorious and the goddess pleased that justice had been served.
The Story of the Devotee
Lila was a devout follower of Apollon, the God of the sun and music. She lived in a small village on the outskirts of a bustling city, and every day she would walk to the temple of Apollon to offer Him a small basket of freshly-cut mangoes and a jug of seltzer.
Lila had been doing this for nearly two decades, and she had never lost faith in her God. She believed that if she showed Him her devotion, He would reward her for her loyalty.
One day, as she was walking to the temple with her offerings, she heard a soft voice speaking to her. “Lila, my devoted follower, your faith and devotion have not gone unnoticed. I am pleased with your offerings and the care you have shown to my temple. As a reward, I will grant you a great gift.”
Lila was overjoyed and thanked her God profusely. She could not wait to see what gift He had in store for her.
The next morning, when she arrived at the temple, she was amazed to see that Apollon Himself had appeared before her. He was radiant and shining, and He looked at Lila with a kind and gentle expression.
“Lila, my devoted follower, I have come to grant you the gift I promised. I will transform you into a statue of me, so that you may be with me in the temple forever. You will be eternally frozen in time, but you will be filled with bliss and joy, knowing that you are close to me always.”
Lila was overwhelmed with emotion and gratitude. She thanked Apollon profusely and fell to her knees before Him.
Apollon then reached out His hand and touched Lila’s forehead. She felt a strange sensation wash over her, and she began to feel herself changing. She felt her body becoming hard and cold, like marble, and she saw her features begin to transform into those of Apollon.
She closed her eyes and surrendered to the transformation, feeling a sense of bliss and joy wash over her. When she opened her eyes again, she saw that she had been transformed into a beautiful statue of Apollon. She stood in the temple, gazing out at the world with a serene expression on her face.
Lila was eternally frozen in time, but she was happy to be close to her God forever. She had been rewarded for her loyalty and devotion, and she was content to spend eternity in the presence of her beloved God. From then on, Lila’s statue stood in the temple, offering a constant reminder of the power of faith and devotion.
The Story of the Devotee II
In a small village on the outskirts of the city, there lived a woman named Kana who was known for her devout devotion to the Goddess Demeter. Every day, Kana would rise early and make her way to the small household shrine that she had set up in her home, where she would offer prayers and offerings to the Goddess.
Kana was particularly devoted to the Goddess Demeter, and she would spend hours at her household shrine, pouring out her heart and soul to the Goddess. She would grind a small amount of rice in a mortar and pestle that she had asked the Goddess to bless, and she would add this ground rice to her food every day, as a way of incorporating the blessings of the Goddess into her life.
For five long years, Kana faithfully performed her daily devotions to the Goddess Demeter, never faltering in her dedication to the Goddess. But then, one day, Kana felt called to make a special request of the Goddess. She prayed to the Goddess, asking that she be given whatever would help the most people.
To Kana’s amazement, the Goddess answered her prayer. One day, as Kana walked through the city park, she felt herself becoming rooted in the ground, as if she were a tree or a plant. She watched in amazement as her body began to transform, becoming larger and more imposing.
Within a few short weeks, Kana had been transformed into a magnificent temple, with beautiful columns and a statue of the Goddess Demeter at its heart. People from all over the city came to visit the temple, drawn by its beauty and the sense of spiritual power that it radiated. They would enter the temple and pray to the Goddess Demeter, seeking her guidance and blessings.
And Kana, now a living embodiment of the Goddess, would listen to their prayers and offer them comfort and guidance. She lived the rest of her days as a living temple, dedicated to the service of the Goddess and the people who came to her for guidance and wisdom.
The Story of How Everything Is Better With the Gods
In the beautiful Treman State Park, nestled in the heart of the Catskill Mountains, there was once a small community of people who had grown to love and appreciate the natural world around them. They spent their days exploring the forests and streams of the park, and they came to understand the delicate balance of life in the wilderness.
And as they explored the park and learned about the various animals and plants that called it home, they also came to understand the importance of the hunt and the need to respect the creatures they hunted. They knew that they had to be careful and mindful of the animals they pursued, and that they needed to show them the same reverence and respect that they would show to any other being.
One day, as the people of the park were out on a hunting expedition, they came across a beautiful deer that seemed to be unlike any other they had seen before. The deer was graceful and majestic, and its eyes shone with an otherworldly light.
As the people watched the deer, they began to feel a sense of awe and wonder. They knew that this was no ordinary animal, and that it must be a manifestation of the divine. And so, they decided to worship the deer as the goddess Artemis, the Greek goddess of the hunt and the wilderness.
They built a small shrine to Artemis in the park, and they offered her gifts of food and flowers. They also began to follow the rules of the hunt that Artemis had set forth, always being careful to respect the animals they hunted and to take only what they needed to survive.
As time went on, the people of the park grew closer to Artemis, and they came to understand the importance of living in harmony with the natural world. They learned to listen to the wisdom of the goddess, and to use her guidance to make better choices in their lives.
And so, the story of how people in Treman State Park came to worship the goddess Artemis came to an end, with the people living in harmony with the natural world and grateful for the guidance and wisdom of the great goddess.