This & That: January 31, 2023
Is AI coming for my writing?
In the last few weeks I’ve had the chance to play around with a couple AI programs that are making waves both inside the tech industry and in broader culture as well. And ya know what? They are really impressive.
Between Dall-E 2 (image generator) and ChatGPT (text generator), artists and writers of all kinds are sweating a bit, or, at the least, wondering how to stay relevant and unique in an AI world.
I have just a few thoughts on that below, as well as our household’s favorite reads of January, plus a few great links to share.
Something I’m Thinking About: Is AI Coming for My Writing?
Artificial intelligence has officially entered the national conversation. From NY Times profiles, to Atlantic think pieces, to CBS Sunday Morning features, so-called “generative” programs like Dall-E 2 and ChatGPT are getting a lot of press.
The gist is simple: you input some sort of prompt and the program spits out an idea of what you’re looking for. The image above is an example. Below is what I got from ChatGPT with the prompt “write a glowing book review of lonesome dove by larry mcmurtry”:
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry is a true masterpiece of American literature. The novel tells the story of two former Texas Rangers, Gus and Call, as they embark on a cattle drive from Texas to Montana. The characters are richly drawn and the story is both epic and intimate, capturing the spirit of the American West in all its complexity. McMurtry's writing is both poetic and gritty, and he creates a sense of place that is both nostalgic and timeless. This is a novel that will stay with you long after you've finished reading it. It's a must-read for anyone who loves great literature or the American West.
Pretty darn good, isn’t it? That seems like something I would write, honestly. It’s impressive and a bit scary at the same time.
All of this inevitably leads to existential questions about work, art, and the robot apocalypse.
I don’t think AI is coming for me just yet, but it will probably change my writing. In light of the above review, I’m actually inspired to become a better, less cliched writer. This is not rich prose that the program spit out, but closer to a formulaic combination of buzzy, bookish words.
Unique and high-quality writing will stand out all the more in an AI world. If ChatGPT can give me some ideas, though, or a good outline, I’ll happily welcome it. As I explore these tools even more, I’m certain I’ll have more thoughts. One thing is for sure: this stuff is not going away and will inevitably change how many of us work and create. It’ll be better to understand it than outright shun it.