There is always a sense that by the time the mainstream becomes aware of something that could greatly alter society, or even destroy it, it’s actually been doing so in the shadows for some time. Maybe AI won’t push us to Judgement Day, maybe it will. But the level of awareness (pun maybe intended I just don’t care enough anymore to know) to which AI has risen of late probably suggests it has infested every corner of our world when we weren’t looking. And what better marker of that could there be than Tom Brady?
I have a close friend I went to college with. During our senior year in Boston, she spent a couple hours of a night out in Faneuil Hall and surroundings in Brady’s company. Her reports of his level of conversational skill and interest have always suggested it was an experience of trying to converse with something nebulous that was trying to learn how to be human. The output did not suggest someone, or something, that was of the same form as she and you and me, but she could tell that there was some kind of gears turning within this being to try and have that output match the inputs it was receiving, i.e. human behavior. It wanted to be what it was surrounded by, but couldn’t.
Has really that much changed in the following [redacted] years? With the thousands of interviews and puff pieces and press conferences we’ve been put through, does Brady seem any more human than he did then? The practiced smile, the empty eyes, the yearning to be more but the inability to do so… has any of that ever really, truly evolved? Brady has always been an empty vessel that too many have projected their own wished image onto, without any evidence that he, or it, could carry it. He has stood still in a world speeding around him, attempting to latch itself to anything passing by without ever seeming a part of it.
Everything with Brady has been rehearsed
Everything with Brady has been so rehearsed — his pregame yell and fist pump, the blowups on the sideline, the not-so-comfortable attempts at being comfortable, the appearance of being folksy that only makes him seem colder. Everything looked like it had been repeated over and over again to perfection. What was really going on?
With the news that Tom Brady’s reps have shut down an AI-created stand-up comedian Tom Brady that made the internet rounds, perhaps what looks like the normal celebrity PR machine going overprotective on a client’s image is really an event horizon. What if it’s an AI sending cease and desists about another AI? What if Brady, whatever form he might be, is afraid the alternatively created Brady might out him, or it, to the world? What if these are simply calculations that he, or it, could not anticipate and solve?
Or perhaps this was a trial balloon. It’s a brilliant cover, don’t you think? We all expect lawyers to come chasing something down that sullies Brady’s image in any way. As the Joker said, “Nobody panics. It’s all part of the plan.” Maybe this is how whatever Brady actually is dips its toe into how the world would react to a comedian version. Maybe this is how its AI thinks people get into comedy these days (and it kind of is!) and then can easily cover its tracks through lawyerdom. All part of the plan.
Does it sound any different than the pawing-at-something-unknown fashion that Brady speaks, while trying so hard to not sound like that? This wants to be human as much as any Jim Gray sitdown has been.
We are now slightly more inured to the idea of Brady as a comedian. In time, it will take another step. It’s all too logical, too systematic. It’s learning.
Maybe this is just how The Brady Being learns in his post-football phase. It has conquered that field, those parameters, but now has to learn and evolve in a new one. With everything you know about Brady, a stumbling rollout of his new phase was always on the cards. This new form of data collection in the non-sports world was always going to be clunky.
We can say we must watch the next move, but perhaps it’s all too late. If the Brady AI has gotten this far, perhaps there is no going back. After all, given the place football holds in our country, and the place quarterbacks hold in football, if that were conquered by a robot, what can present a challenge?
It’s too late. Always has been. Always will be.