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  • Writer's pictureAlex Nichiporchik

tinyBuild (does not) spy on their employees through Big Brother AI

I did a presentation about AI this week. It centered around how AI tools are evolving to both boost our productivity and get into extremely creepy territory.

The obvious concern that many have is how AI may replace jobs, especially in an industry like game development. So I wanted to explore how realistic these fears are.

Spoiler: none of these jobs are getting replaced.

I talk about examples of how AI can be used to figure out game designs, and how to use AI to accelerate your games marketing. Specifically with keyart.

For example, that you can train ChatGPT to end up replying in JSON to text commands, which can then be used for scripting one way or another.

After which we go through some actually useful things like automating your meeting notes, and how it can go wrong.

And towards the end I go into some Black Mirror level territory, which I now realized could've had a lot more concrete context. It didn't cross my mind much that it can read that we're doing all these things already and are happy with it.

So when an article got posted, I talked to the author and clarified. By this point, several other websites were quick to judge and posted about us spying on employees. Here's the update to the article:

I also had poor wording on a slide where I say Burnout can lead to Toxicity. Instead, I equated both of them.

The idea here was that you can see when someone isn't doing well, like taking a lot of time during large meetings can sometimes be a symptom that a person needs help and is heading towards a burnout. Instead of confronting such behavior, it should be used as information and the team member likely needs support.

I think a lot about how to facilitate an environment where people can get help should they need it. For example, we have retained an external therapist that's available for free for online consultations, and has strict confidentiality in place. Or our 2nd-year running experiment of 2 weeks off for the whole company during the year has been getting great response. Before New Years and around the Summer Sale the whole company is off. Nobody to bug you. People started planning holidays way ahead, and it helps recharge. This is on top of normal days off.

In a very dystopian way, AI tools can analyze a lot. Should they? Definitely not when it comes to privacy of employees.

Back to the presentation:

I also touch upon some non-gamedev things such as finance. How you can use AI to make your spreadsheets pretty or fix formulas in broken excel exports.

In the end of the presentation I summarize it with this picture:

With the main takeaway being that we're entering the industrial revolution of the digital age. We're discovering tools that allows us to exponentially increase productivity, and many of them are great.

The darker side of using AI for surveillance and things like serving you ads based on what you just told someone are a topic that do need much more discussion.

I will update this page as the situation unfolds


Develop Magazine, who initially posted a tweet filled with nonsense and made a very aggressive article that's designed to promote a hateful reaction, has posted an updated tweet:

Unfortunately, they didn't update the title of the article itself, and put the update at the very bottom. By the time that anyone reads said article, the anger is already there.


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