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Should you keep writing?

Updated: Apr 10, 2023

It gonna be weird and surprising to see what all the AI revolution might bring upon humanity.

Some folks welcome it, some fear it. I'm in the former camp (at least for now).

I can imagine a future where AIs are assistants, butlers, buddies and nannies, brainstorming buddies, our friends and our experts, whether as counsellors on a long trip to Mars, expert simulator for a new drug or climate change resistant crop, or the next Mind to defend against totalitarians.

No, I don't think AI would save us, humans, from ourselves. If nothing else, they would enhance (for better or worse) who we already are. That is something to fear indeed.

I've seen publishing houses no longer taking manuscripts. Too many AI-generated stories they said. I can understand that. However, I'm still writing. No, I'm no accomplished or even known by any standards. I'm just starting. And I'm wondering: should I even bother anymore?

There's a bunch of ideas brewing in my mind. They have been for at least 20 years or so. I wrote stuff and I've thrown it all away. Now I can open ChatGPT or Bard or pick your favourite AI here, type in what I want to say, the style and hit "Generate". Easy? Maybe. Fair? Who cares. In love and war all is fair. In writing, maybe so too. With AI generating content, the cat is truly out of the bag. And that's alright by me.

I cannot predict the future. And never claimed to. Maybe engage in the occasional prediction game, maybe make a bet or two. But truly: if AIs are our brain kids, they would have our "genetic" make-up and then some.

They say we are the sum of those we surround ourselves with. Perhaps the AI entities are the sum (and insights, and much more) of their input data. They can generate new ideas, show-case and present them, and sound, look and smell like anybody. Is there then anything unique or creative worth doing as a human?

I'm likely the wrong human to take a stab at this question. Perhaps folks such as Neil Gaiman or the amazing N.K. Jemisin are better suited to grapple with this question.

But here I am, myself, a wannabe aspiring writer, well past my prime (whatever that may mean), still raising my fist to the grey skies of south west Ireland, and shouting in defiance:

Yes, by golly, yes, humans can still create

Because I truly feel so. There is something unique in each of us. So unique that no AI can fully recreate. If they could, then we'd probably approach the age where humans can upload themselves into the digital-verse and we can finally live forever. Myself personally won't live to see that future, but maybe our children will (if we don't destroy the planet and humanity with our petty arrogance and need for control and power, that is).

I can see AIs as awesome assistants. They can summarize and re-write. They can generate SEO tags or find things for us.

I love automation and optimization. I would just love to put out an AI request our there to Google:

Hey Google. Keep an eye out for babyblue suede shoes, will ya? Let me know when there's any discount below $1000.

Yeah, I love suede.

I also love helping people. It breaks my heart to see the poverty in the South African slums (and San Francisco homeless areas). The lack of access to drinking water, to hygiene products for young girls. To clean energy. To basic medicine.

I used to work with an amazing start-up. They were doing antibody discovery with high affinity high rates of success, in silico, using ML models, prepping the ground for more efficient and cheaper wet-lab tests.

In our future, perhaps no teenager has to spend their entire hard-earned scholarship money to bribe hospital nurses to take care of their mother who had just come out of cancer surgery. Perhaps there will be no cancer, or it will all be treatable.

Perhaps there will be no more hunger.

Perhaps we as humanity will throw away these opportunities and kill each other out, let the arrogance and fear get the better of us.

Perhaps we can colonise the Solar System, have a whole new set of problems and discoveries and adventures. Perhaps we'll die off in a 3rd World War, a nuclear war where we succumb to our fears, of each other, or AIs, or whatever triggers our ancient unresolved anxieties or desires.

I always found it fascinating how Science Fiction takes a stab at imagining worlds and futures. I always found it fascinating how current and real it is, despite the often futuristic or dystopian setting.

I'm in for the debate between Star Trek Picard or Strange New Worlds and (at least) the first season of Discovery. I have no clue how they were generated, but I know how I felt watching them. How the former two showed consistent leadership styles, how the characters made decisions consistent with their character make-up and their story. How disjoined the Discovery characters felt to me. (fwiw, I heard the newer seasons of Discovery are much better)

Hey Google. Generate a movie script based on these 50K words story of a 16 year-old girl on the spectrum named Pavisa who joins a starship led by a sadistic murderous psychopath captain called Zemelen.

Maybe. I see AIs assisting us. I don't see them replacing the human essence. We should and can keep writing. And writing our story as humanity.

If nothing else, I see humanity's building of AIs as a challenge to ourselves, to find ourselves. I hope we will (find ourselves) somehow. We can achieve great things if we manage to not self-destroy.

Note from a friend

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