Grist for the AI mills
A special Fingers media report
I must warn you up front that today’s story isn’t about drinking in America, not in any meaningful way, at least. It’s actually about the media industry, which is bad, and a nifty little bit of intellectual-property arbitrage that a certain “media company” is running at the boozeletter’s expense. I think that’s also bad, but more importantly, it showcases the exploitation and banality at the core the artificial-intelligence gold rush in a way that makes the stakes for professional journalism painfully and personally clear. Those stakes are high and the downsides are bleak, but that doesn’t mean we can’t criticize the forces that would commodify the fruits of creative labor as grist for the AI mills. We can, we should, and today, we will!
Which brings us to Volv.
Volv? you may be wondering to yourself. Fair question, dear reader. Let me clear up your confusion: Volv. Does that help? No? Ah. According to its website:
Volv is “the anti-social media app.”
Volv’s “AI curates interesting content across cyberspace and delivers it to you in 9-second articles.”
Volv says “the future of media is here.”
More to the point, Volv is a platform that uses AI software and human editors (more on them in a minute) to summarize real stories written by real people in brief “bits” that users can swipe through like a social-media feed. “Think TikTok for readers and writers,”1 encourages the company’s site, a pastiche of too-online vernacular and Gen Z cultural references. So unfortunately, we must.