I would like to preface this post by saying that I am militantly against the use of artificial intelligence for the purpose of writing anything, whether it be fiction or nonfiction. And that is not just because I once accused Chat GPT of trying to eat humans and it replied by saying that it could not eat humans because it has no mouth. Like what? Is that supposed to make me feel better? Anyhow, the real reason why I oppose the use of A.I. for the purpose of writing is that it strips away the soul of a form of art that is uniquely human. At the moment, thankfully, A.I. writing is generally needlessly verbose, uninteresting, and riddled with various errors; but I fear that one day it could surpass the abilities of the best writers in history. Imagine if, in ten years, you could ask Chat GPT to write you an 1000 page epic fantasy written in the style of Dostoevsky and it could fulfill your request in minutes? What if it actually managed to incapsulate the style of Dostoevsky and could draw from the greatest works of literature of all time to develop one of the best books ever written ever? And what if you then asked for a ten-episode mini-series based off of that book with Nicholas Cage, Willem Dafoe, and Zendaya in it and in a few more minutes you’d be watching it on your device (with several interruptions for advertisements I’m sure)? At that point, we would have to truly ask ourselves what is the point? Why have authors, or film directors, or actors, or creative people at all? They would, essentially, be made useless and the heart of all of human culture would die. When I was a kid, I always figured that A.I. would one day replace the shitty jobs that people don’t want to do and leave everyone to pursue their creative interests, but now it seems like the opposite is true. It seems to me that, in the not too distant future, everyone will still be working soulless corporate jobs, while A.I. will rob humanity of its creative pursuits (which actually the subject of a short story I am writing coincidentally). Maybe I am being too pessimistic here and it isn’t really that big of a deal, but if we are on the verge of an actual singularity, I think that humanity should tread lightly. Once we open pandora’s box, I fear that we may not be able to close it again.
And this is the point in my blog post where I realize that I haven’t actually addressed either of the articles directly and just typed a giant paragraph full of rantings and ravings. So now, I would like to say that I actually found the first article, while very intriguing, to be underestimating the extent of the problem at hand. The author (or A.I. who really knows?) writes the following in regard to the usefulness of A.I. to overcome writer’s block: “Most writers, or really most people who have to write, know the feeling of a mind gone blank. The average writer trains themselves out of this fear, but no matter how many times you’ve put words on the page, you’re bound to encounter that moment when you don’t know what comes next. This is literally the task most computer systems are trained to do: predict what comes next” (Gero). There is no question that what the author said is true: writer’s block plagues all writers at one point or another and most of us would rather not have to deal with it. In my subjective experience, and I’m sure the experience of most writers, writer’s block isn’t typically a result of not knowing what to write but more so of not knowing how to write it. I might know the general plot points I would like to occur for instance but translating those ideas on paper (getting from point A to point B in a logical way that also sounds nice) is often the hard part. With that said, I don’t think that A.I. is the solution to this problem. People have been struggling with writer’s block for millennia, any you know what…maybe that’s okay. Maybe it’s okay to struggle and fail sometimes whether it be on a college essay or a novel you are working on. That’s what makes that book or essay meaningful: the fact that is wasn’t easy to create. You had to pour time and energy and love (or hatred) to piece it together and finally arrive at a finished product that you are proud of.
To help illustrate my point a little further, I have a friend who working on his Master’s degree in business and had to write a 15 page essay for a class. He turned in a 30 page essay written mostly by various A.I.’s and received a 100 despite the majority of it being incoherent and mind numbingly boring. How can someone genuinely be proud of that? Perhaps for some it doesn’t matter (it’s just one class after all) but even those who use A.I. would have to agree that–had they actually written the paper themselves– they would have an actual sense of achievement and pride.
Moving on to the second article, I found “The Risk Of Losing Unique Voices: What Is The Impact Of AI On Writing?” by Rodolfo Delgado to be more in line with my sentiments and general anxieties centered around the usage of A.I.. Like Delgado, I do not deny the vast potential of A.I. (although I am fearful of its capabilities to deceive and rob us of our humanity), but I think that it should generally be avoided by author’s who wish to preserve their unique voices. Delgado describes how he edited a previous article using artificial intelligence and that it revised his work in such a way that it was perfectly correct grammatically but has lost its ‘human side’. It may have made for an easy and straight forward read, but the passion behind his writing was gone and it was, therefore, less interesting. I think a connection can be made here to the banking concept in education from last week’s article. In the banking concept, the teacher inputs information into the student and gets a specific output and that is much like what an A.I. does. You feed it information (or it pulls information from the web), and generic responses are procedurally generated. Writing, in my opinion, should not sound procedural or clinical, instead it should come from the heart of the author and give insight into their unique viewpoint of the world. If we wish to avoid using our unique voices, then we should limit our usage of A.I. to a minimum.
The famous poet T.S. Elliot one wrote in his epic poem “The Wasteland”: “This is the way the world ends: not with a bang but a whimper”, and I very much think that he may have been on to something. Will A.I. rise up as blood thirsty robots and kills us all? I mean…yeah maybe…but I find it much more likely that the opposite will happen. It will kill us slowly and indirectly. It will invalidate our existence and make our history, our struggles, and our art meaningless. For this reason, I believe that we should be wary of it and proceed with extreme caution. By the time we realize that we have gone too far, it may be too late.
Note: In the spirit of preserving my humanity I will not be revising or editing this article…which is good because I rarely do that anyway.