Christopher Mims over at the Wall Street Journal (paywall) in AI Becomes Silicon Valley’s Next Buzzy Bandwagon as Crypto Boom Fizzles presents us with another article hyping AI and at the same time telling us that AI is overhyped. Also, you can be a prompt engineer for $250,000. Not a bad gig. The article informs us of what most of us already knew, but still it’s nice to see they’ve made it to the party.

We learn from him that some investors are being cagey with their investments in generative AI, concerned that identifying winners will be difficult. Then there are the other investors (there always are), who are afraid of missing out on the next big thing.

He compares the hype (sorry, I forgot the scare quotes: “hype”) to what happened with 3-D printing, cannabis, and the metaverse: companies responding to investor demand in a new field and the subsequent appearance of dreaded bubbles and “froth”. But it can’t hurt that layoffs at big tech companies are freeing more senior engineers and executives to build their own companies.

Also, Mims reminds us that generative AI isn’t really new, obviously—certainly it was around since before last Thanksgiving. Many AI companies have been stealthily building AI-based solutions for years.

But still, there’s that hype and froth problem. For those playing at home, Investopeida defines froth as market conditions “where asset prices become detached from their underlying intrinsic values as demand for those assets drives their prices to unsustainable levels”. And then there’s this: the article quotes Humanyze CEO Ben Waber, “The people talking about generative AI right now were the people talking about Web3 and blockchain until recently—the Venn diagram is a circle. People have just rebranded themselves.” Is this just William Shatner showing up again and again on The Masked Singer, each time in a different costume?

Here are two quotes from the comments that pretty much run the gamut of current sentiment:

Tony Cooper: Ahhh…. The latest Cabbage Patch Kid has arrived.

Fred White: AI will obviously be bigger than the Industrial Revolution. It has the potential to explode America and the world’s wealth beyond our wildest dreams.

Well, somewhere in there the truth lies, and maybe somewhere in heaven Dutch tulip bulbs are laughing with 3-D printers and the mascot.