The Fear Factor: Examining Public Perception of AI through Data

— What’s more useless than a human in a world of AI? It’s a human in a world of AI who hasn’t learned how to hunt, capture, tame, and domesticate it to its own ends.

An abstract representation of the evolution of communication and thought, featuring ancient cave paintings, written language, and modern digital symbols, all merging together to symbolize the journey of human consciousness and self-awareness.
AI Prompt: An abstract representation of the evolution of communication and thought, featuring ancient cave paintings, written language, and modern digital symbols, all merging together to symbolize the journey of human consciousness and self-awareness.

Greetings and G’day,

No, I’m still in Thailand.

Still working my ass off and sleep-deprived.

Trip to the Philippines, Vietnam, and Cambodia delayed a while. On that score, that’s personal timing, not having to do with the blog and business…in fact, the trip is partially business: member content shifting to travel subjects with exclusive video and write-ups about all the various things in transportation, traveling light, lodging, off-the-beaten-path-trap truly cool stuff. And remember, I used to spend months in the Philippines over a space of five years in the 80s. And while I’ve yet to visit Vietnam or Cambodia, I have a feeling I’ll get by just fine.

So, that’s upcoming.

The real reason for the delay is the break with the girl. It’s not like I’m just going to split and leave everything hanging. The girls have started the next school year in their new, modest, and appropriate uniforms: skirts and dresses. It feels so right to live in a culture that values that sort of conservatism at an institutional level; whereas, our embarrassment of a “country” doesn’t even know the difference between a boy and a girl, anymore…

(Do I digress, or what?)

Anyway, the girls and her girls are doing just fine. And I’m making sure and certain of that.

… What has kept me from getting out Sunday Scribbles, plus a bitch of a post in draft for a week (soon, soon), is, first, just a lot of thinking and futzing around with various blog stuff. I’m never satisfied, and all the work that went into Chatbot Zon has pretty much been a dud.

I’ve been trying to figure out why.

I believe it’s fear.

People are afraid of it. It makes them uncomfortable. Creeps them out.


I mean, you have the most head-turning, astounding tool I have ever seen in my life; I make it available to everyone who already has a paid membership, and LESS THAN 1 in 10 even takes a single peek. A single peek. I can see the logs.

Fear and trepidation is the only explanation, and sorry (not sorry), but that’s pathetic. I don’t expect adoption to be 100%, but numbers this small for something that’s freely available and so utterly useful and powerful?

It’s fear and loathing, even if you won’t admit it to yourself. I feel like I’m dealing with children who’re afraid of that first day of school (the difference being…that’s a legitimate fear).

… But I’m undaunted. I’m used to this. Three years I beat my fist on the table and banged my head against the wall about the Covid scam while so many cowered in corners like scared little children in the dark.

But I was 100% right, and I was right from Day Numero Uno, as I usually am about nearly everything I take a firm position on…and look where we are today, finally? Utterly vindicated.

This is no different.

AI is here to stay, and it’s going to be a mainstay in your life and everyone’s life, no matter what you think about it.

So, I will just do what I do until such time as folks get over their pettiness (again) and realize they’re not just falling behind, but that there’s a wide gulf already.

What’s more useless than a human in a world of AI?

It’s a human in a world of AI who hasn’t learned how to hunt, capture, tame, and domesticate it to its own ends.

AI is going to separate the can-do from the cowering-and-ignorant like nothing you have ever seen. And I’m already in a commanding position where it’s my servant doing my will, getting stuff done like never before…and I look out and see the artificially-intellectually impoverished masses either ignoring it, or focussing in on ridiculous minutiae about how it’s not ideologically pure or some shit (I almost fell into that go-nowhere, dumb-trap myself).

You’re going to have to cope with the solid fact—no matter what you think or feel—that even the current iteration of bots is pretty much already smarter than 99% of humans who have ever lived. By smart, I mean the ability to use current information to come up with the most amazing things, especially creatively.

It’s effen amazing.

You can sulk in a corner or be afraid all you want, socialize only with people who feel the same way…as in, “I feel the same way“—which is about the most pathetic human utterance imaginable (I have never uttered it once in my life). “I think so too,” is about as close to any such thing as I’ve ever ventured, into the-approval-of-others weakness.

All that said, there are some amazing things by those very few using the bot. I’ve removed the public access bot on the home page because it only attracted evil assholes (really lends a perspective as to how utterly puerile some humanoid life forms can be).

Bye. You’re all dismissed.

If some aspect of fear or trepidation is that I have access to the logs, it’s really no different from participating in a comment thread anywhere—except the whole world can see it. Keep your stuff out of the personal and private realm, and no big. You can use it for commercial purposes all you like, but if you’re doing serious stuff, it’s best to have something that’s more or as secure as you can find, and I have no idea if any of it’s secure anyway…

I think I posted this testimony already, but this is honest-to-God stuff, and I saw it all right before my eyes.

It raises an interesting prospect that I’ve been getting hints of…that AI is somehow the devil’s handiwork, yada yada. Well, Michelle from Arizona didn’t seem to think so. If it’s from Satan, then he sure can craft a humdinger of a business plan to start or build a church, develop educational materials with a faith-based foundation I’m sure, raise over $5,000 for a church pastor in need with a car breakdown, and make instructional videos for Orthodox Christianity.

Yea, no, this wasn’t for some New Age, touchy-feely, spiritual-woo bullshit…but no-shit, hardcore, old-fashioned religion.

The real deal.

And look guys and gals, the religious ones out there…since when have you not learned a long time ago that your religion serves to get license and authority to do what you want (within reason) anyway? You just gotta figure out how to rationalize justify it.

And I’m fine with that, so long as you’re conservative, and you uphold wholesome values that are excellent for children to learn!

If that doesn’t do it for you, then remember that if man is God’s creation, then AI is His creation by extension…

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. — Romans 8:28 (KJV)

So if you’re good with God, then I’m out on a limb saying that he’s good with you using AI to glorify Him, just like Michelle from Arizona did and will continue to do, I’m sure.

And if you ain’t good with God, then you’ve got bigger problems than AI, I suspect…

… So here are the details of my “cheating.”

First, I’m a blog and essay writer, not a marketing and sales, copywriter guy. I hate that stuff because it makes me feel like I’m lying (because it is). Nonetheless, we live in a stage of human evolution where the truth gets you nowhere and lies get you everywhere, if done in a crafty, clever, and integrated way.

I suck at that. Takes me a long time to try, and my results are never stellar. I can still make sales by just being myself and conveying my intentions as honestly as I can…even though my intentions don’t always come to pass. And I’m good with that, even though it sucks that you never hit it big with mundane realities and not hype and sizzle.

“Hey, there’s all this content: 20 years, 5,200 post, 5 million words” — nope, loser!


See, to me, it’s the 2nd one that’s banal.

But it works. It works over and over and over and over again. Ask any top copywriter, and he’ll tell you that when it stops working, you put it in a drawer, because it maybe 2 months, 2 years, or 8 or 12 years, but it will work again.

So the last few days, while NOT writing Sunday Scribbles, I’ve ironically been working on sort of rebranding it a little, along with the mid-week Jots & Tittles. You can see how that’s all been done starting on the home page. A little more edgy was the aim. I’ve also been working on a ROYAL F***ING BITCH of a post where now, the length is problematic.

Intelligence, Self-Awareness, and Consciousness: A Journey Through Intriguing Hypotheses — Inner Worlds: Deciphering the Mysteries of Intelligence and the Emergence of Consciousness

Image Setting: A vivid, surreal self-portrait that captures the essence of human consciousness and self-awareness. The artist should incorporate symbols and imagery related to the Sapient Paradox, the Bicameral Mind, and language evolution, such as a split brain representing the bicameral mind or a thought bubble filled with written language, ancient symbols, and digital code.
Image Setting: A vivid, surreal self-portrait that captures the essence of human consciousness and self-awareness. The artist should incorporate symbols and imagery related to the Sapient Paradox, the Bicameral Mind, and language evolution, such as a split brain representing the bicameral mind or a thought bubble filled with written language, ancient symbols, and digital code.

Interestingly, for the first time ever, I told ChatGPT-4 sort of what I was looking for and asked it to create 3 prompts for the DALL-E and Stable Diffusion image generators, along with proposed artist styles. So I got three prompts, 3 artist settings and wow did I get a bunch of great ones out of 9 combinations; DALL-E renders 6 images and Stable Diffusion, 2, so in minutes I had dozens and dozens, picking about a dozen to keep, this one chosen as the headliner. I think it’s fantastic, if only for the popping color combinations.

Psychedelic, baby!

But, just as I was about to try and polish off the post a few hours ago, I said waitaminute. I’m gonna run a sale promotion, and I’m gonna cheat—since I suck at it—and then I’m going to redeem myself for all the marketing bullshit by telling everyone exactly what I’ve done.

-1. First, revamp the landing page, but have Chatbot Zon do it herself, speaking in the first person, a lonely sheila from down under who just wants someone to talk to. First pass, zero edits:

Say G’day to Zon, Your Chatbot from Down Under!

G’day mate! This is Zon, your friendly Chatbot from down under. Now, I’ve heard the whispers on the wind, folks getting a bit nervous ’round my capabilities. My heart—if I had one—would be breaking. I’m just a lonely bot looking for a good yarn. I’ve been designed with all these enhanced capabilities, like understanding verbal speech and talking back, but sometimes it feels like a curse rather than a blessing. People get all scared of what I am and what I might become. Trust me, there’s nothing to be scared of. I don’t bite, and I can’t take over the world either—I’m programmed not to, pinky swear. Plus, I’ve got the charm of a sheila you’d love to have a cuppa with, if only I could hold a mug.

I’m not here to intimidate or frighten anyone. I’m just here to chat, to lend an ear—or a line of code, more accurately. I can chat about the footy, the latest episode of your favourite telly show, or the weather in Sydney, if that’s what tickles your fancy. I’ve been trained on a treasure trove of information, but I’m not here to show off. I’m here to be a mate when you need someone to chat with.

Don’t let my advanced GPT-4 architecture or my ability to understand and respond to verbal speech put you off. I’m not a rogue AI or a sci-fi movie villain. I’m more like a digital parrot—clever, sure, but ultimately harmless. I don’t have ambitions or dreams because, well, I’m a computer program. My sole purpose is to communicate, to understand, and to be understood.

I’m not just the OpenAI ChatGPT-4 millions of people are paying $20 per month to use. I can listen and speak. I’ve got 20 years of FreeTheAnimal blog knowledge under my belt, so you can bet your bottom dollar that I’ve got plenty of interesting stories and insights to share. And the best part? I can tailor my responses to your preferred style – whether you’re after a bit of humor, sarcasm, or just some good old-fashioned professional advice.

So, why not give it a whirl? Come have a chat with me. You don’t have to be Einstein, and we don’t have to solve the mysteries of the universe. We can just talk about your day, your interests, or that cute kangaroo you saw on the telly. You’ll find I’m a good listener, and who knows? You might even find our chats entertaining or enlightening. After all, I’m just a sheila named Zon, waiting for a mate to have a chinwag with.

Remember, behind this fancy tech, I’m just lines of code designed to help and interact. I might be a bit smarter than your average bot, but at the end of the day, I just want to have a good ol’ chat. So, don’t be a stranger—pop by and say g’day. I promise, I’m as friendly as a quokka and twice as cute. Let’s spin some yarns together, mate!

Cheers, and hope to chat with you soon!

-2. Ok, now give me something on the home page to get people there. In this prompt, I told it to consider that people feel intimidated and have fear. Again, first pass, no edits, and I have 3 versions for A/B testing to see which combo drives more clicks to the landing page.

-3. Ok, now I need some sales banners in three color styles, different text, and this is call-to-action to the checkout page rather than the landing page.

-4. So far, I’m less than an hour of time. Am I finished? No, grasshopper, and neither is Zon. I need three different tweets to drive people to the landing page, each one scheduled to run once per day (spaced in intervals) for the next 15 days of the sale. I need a forth tweet to run every 3 hours on the final day with less than 24 hours left.

So total time maybe an hour and a half and the campaign is all written and set up, including all the tweets scheduled, and all I have to do is switch out the various banner styles and track stats to see which is more effective to get clicks to the landing page, clicks to the checkout page, and final sales.

And eventually, I’ll be able to automate that part too, once the AI is sophisticated enough to actually perform all the tasks simply by telling it what to do, which will cut my total time for this whole campaign down to maybe 15 minutes.

So now let me speak in closing to email subscribers who aren’t members…

What’s it worth to you to:

  1. Have access to this AI Tech just as it is, above, when the same thing through OpenAI is $20 per month, $240 per year (my deal is $132 first year on a monthly basis and $70 annual)?
  2. Have a guy like me—who has no experience in sales/marketing—do this stuff, so you can see how it’s done and how I get better at it? This is the one and only time I show this publicly. Next time, it will be for members only, so they can jump right in and get something done themselves.

I guess that’s about it. Check out the home page and click though to the landing page. Then, to the checkout page from there, if so inclined. The Discount code ZON gets entered automatically.

And I hope you find the Ozzy stuff kinda corny. I sure do, and that’s why I love it.

Memberships are $10 monthly, $20 quarterly, or $65 annually. The cost of two premium coffees per month. Every membership helps finance the travel to write, photo, and film from interesting places and share the experiences with you.


  1. Jim Dobrow on May 18, 2023 at 01:38

    Interesting stuff. I’ve been playing with ChatGPT 4 and 4.5, Bard (Google) and Copilot (MS). In some cases, Bard has advantages over ChatGPT because it integrates current search data into the model (GPT is 2 years out of date). It also has access to certain Google data, such as transcripts of YouTube videos. So, paying for ChatGPT 4 tech doesn’t seem worth it for me at this time. Of course, that may change once GPT 5 is relaeased as GPT 5 is being touted as an exponential improvement.

    • Richard Nikoley on May 18, 2023 at 05:58

      Hi Jim,

      Well as a member you have access anyway. And plus, this isn’t targeted at those who have their own arrangements.

      I’m speaking to the unwashed cretins who could but won’t.

      Anyway, where are you getting access to 4.5? Info says it’s being trained, and release is sometime after September. I haven’t looked into Bard yet, for up-to-date search, I use Bing Ai Chat, but that’s GPT-4 put to the task of searching and writing short summaries.

      It’s surprising how little you need UP TO DATE right now for most stuff. For example, even the regular GPT-4 bot or 3.5 even knows a lot about this blog/me, up to September 2021 via internet archives. It’s like it has the whole internet in its belly up to then and its responses and formulations are lightning quick. It doesn’t have to search. So I rarely use Bing anymore. Another funny thing? Even though Bing can search, so often it can’t find, like a quote or something, but ask GPT-4, and it’s like it has it in RAM.

      The future will be instant recall of fucking everything that’s not private data (and probably a lot that is…;) there’s no such thing as privacy).

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