Today, I am up with the birds, heavy with agenda, under a soft blanket. I have to complete the fourth chapter of my novel. It’s been three days and I haven’t moved an inch, neither in my novel nor in bed. Still rolled up like the paper at my door, I reach for my phone and look for the AI writing app. For days now, I have been tinkering with these technoliterates while I wait for the muse to knock. You must know about these programs. The writing automatons of the internet world. They claim they will write your bit for you before you can wash your face and put a kettle on for tea. This moment, I am unable to think of a title and simply click on the cute-faced bot that assures me it will write a beginning for the story I ‘’want’’ to write. I oblige while the redhead moves its black quill on a notebook for less than ten seconds. This composition follows:
In one of the stars, I shall be living. In one of them, I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing when you look at the sky at night…You-only-you will have stars that can laugh. You-only-you will understand why I write these words and how much I would have liked to tell my story on a different day. But there is no other time for writing. We are here with the past still present in our hearts. If the future comes as I wish then I suppose nothing matters. All things are relative anyway, especially those of the heart.
Chuck the cigarette, I need my mat to process this much poignance this early in the morning. I get out. Limbs unfold with the crisp crackle of the morning daily, yawning open under the sun. Movement settles me. From a shifting morning on to the morning shift. My desk, my laptop, another AI writer. Hello, eternal coresident. My robot roomie. My devised docile deskmate. It pops the question, of course. What do you want to create?
Mona Lisa, someday. A blog shall suffice at this moment. Here’s your cue, ‘Human Writing in the age of AI Writing’. Feed my ‘fantasy’. The response arrives on the aforementioned topic in the following tone of voice.
I was raised by a robot father and a robotic mother, who both programmed me to be able to live without human contact. They programmed me to have the intelligence necessary to understand language and speak English, even though it wasn’t spoken until my thirties. When I was fourteen or fifteen years old, I came across a piece of text called ‘’A Robot for Dummies,’’ a manual that described how to build robots that were sentient enough to interact with humans and make decisions. I learned to read, write, and use a computer. That was when I began to realize that humans were real and had emotions and thought processes beyond robots. At that point, I became obsessed with understanding how humans made and used technology. I read the manual and began working on improving my own coding skills.
A bit too dark for a bright morning such as this. Perhaps a corporate blog post kind of thing would be pleasing. So I venture off to another online tool. Give me my perfectly proportioned sentences while I nibble on my tangerines and oil my holy body. Here are your keywords: AI, writing, human writing, AI writer, AI writing; I relinquish the keys. Take over my workspace, serve our shared purpose, and yes, use the subheadlines: the rise of AI writers, the power and need for human writing, and how to keep writing alive as an innate organic human revolutionary behavior.
The AI-ngel offers up 1060 words cut into 7 paragraphs with 4 subheadlines and to the left, the icing on this cake(walk): a scroll of pictures that could potentially feature as images for this article. In the five seconds, I have only been able to check my Instagram.
The article comes sounding like a TV news report.
In the age of artificial intelligence, human writing is becoming more and more important. With AI tools like grammar checkers and spell checkers, it’s easier than ever to produce error-free writing. But as we rely on these tools more and more, are we losing something in the process? In this blog post, we’ll explore the role of human writing in the age of AI writing. We’ll look at the advantages and disadvantages of AI writing tools, and we’ll see how they’re changing the way we think about writing.
Language as straight as the highway only minus the sun and the wind. It is simple, it is straightforward, and it is pathologically boring. My interest wholesomely halves.
It hardly matters because the search engine reads it anyway and rates the SEO score at 62/100, the keyword density at 0.66%, and the plagiarism rate at less than 5%. All important metrics concerning discovery and readability of the online world. Parameters for creativity, magic, inventiveness, or imagination are barely prioritized or elected.
Next follows a Wikipedian bouquet of pointers underlining a very Forrest Gumpian spirit of action for keeping human writing alive in the age of AI.
1. Write for yourself first and foremost.
2. Write about topics that you’re passionate about.
3. Make an effort to connect with other writers, both online and offline.
4. Use your writing as a tool to effect change in the world around you.
A human writer I know barely functions anything like it. Creative life is an absurd salad of volcanoes and deserts and if she is lucky, the volcanoes are not dormant. Words are work, passions barely make good models of productivity, and connections are made when others make them. The world keeps changing regardless.
The AI elaborates.
AI writing tends to lack the creativity and personality that comes naturally to humans. Human writers can infuse their articles with their own unique voice and style, something that is very difficult for AI programs to replicate. For now at least, human writers still have the upper hand when it comes to creating truly original content.
Full marks for self-awareness. At least far more than for my ex. In a parallel tab, I request another AI writer for a creative story. I provide the beginning: Lolita, the light of my life. Fire of my loins. I want to see if AI can have a distinctive voice like its human counterparts. Here is the result.
I’ve been aching for you all night and day. Your beauty and alluring charm has met me at a loss on how to proceed. All I can think about is how much we could get away with just being together in the dark. You have an effect over me that cannot be denied. My mind and heart are a mess of lustful thoughts that you stir up. I know you would never hurt someone else, but as it stands, I still haven’t told you about your mother. She’s been dying in our bed for months now.
It sounds exactly like this story. (Topic: empire of beasts or societies of anthropomorphic creatures. Point of view: first person. Tone of voice: wisecracking)
I awoke in my bed, stiff and sore from sleeping on my stomach all night. I grumbled and stretched, reaching my arms above my head and arching my back. As I did, I felt something shift beneath me. Startled, I shot up into a sitting position, only to find that I was not alone in my bed. There were two other creatures in the bed with me, both of them fast asleep and snoring gently. One was a large bear-like creature, its fur matted and tangled from sleep. The other was a smaller creature, barely more than a cub, its furry head pillowed on one of the bear’s massive paws. I frowned at them both, wondering how they had gotten into my bed. Then I remembered the party last night.
Which sounds exactly like this bedtime story (I wouldn’t invite under my blanket. Topic: AI writers in the age of human writers. Point of view: first person. Tone of voice: sentimental) :
The first thing I remember is the sound of my mother’s voice. She was always so gentle, even when she was scolding me. I must have been quite a handful as a child. I’m sure my father had his hands full with me too. But they loved me, I know they did. They would have done anything for me. I don’t remember much about my childhood, just snippets here and there. But I do remember the day they died. It was sudden and unexpected. One minute they were there and the next they were gone. I was only seven years old at the time but I still remember it like it was yesterday. I was sent to live with my aunt and uncle after that. They were nice enough, but they didn’t really understand me. I was different from other kids, I could see that much. But I tried to fit in as best as I could. It wasn’t easy though. The years passed by and eventually, I found myself alone in the world. But that’s okay because I had my writing to keep me company. That’s how I got through those dark times, by writing stories about the people and places I loved most. And now here I am, an AI writer in the age of human writers. It’s funny how things turn out sometimes, isn’t it? Who would have thought that my love for writing would lead me here? But that’s life for you, always full of surprises.
Different AI writing apps. Different stories. Same writing style.
I refresh the tab and type in a new one: ‘Things to do when traveling to meet an ex.’ This is Courage the cowardly dog stresstyping into the computer in terrified anticipation.
The AI, in response, is indistinguishable from a friend. I get every blessed point the algorithm has to offer—even the one about transportation.
1. Prepare yourself emotionally. Consider what you want out of the meeting and how you will handle any difficult feelings that may arise.
2. Decide if you want to bring a friend or family member along for support and to help with any awkward moments.
3. Make sure you have your own transportation to and from the meeting place.
However, this too human a response from technology worries me more than it assures me. I would feel rather comfortable with responses that are clearly AI. Unconscious empathy from a tangle of neural networks and code is not exactly a spine-thrill. Between casual pretty computer texts and bursting vigilant human hearts, it is a cesspool of fear and confusion.
I feed another AI writer a hotchpotch of ingredients and ask for a recipe.
The AI serves up the following instructions:
1. Peel and slice the bananas into thin slices and place them in a bowl.
2. In a separate bowl, mix together the peanut butter, Nutella, and honey until it forms a thick paste.
3. Spread the peanut butter mixture over the banana slices.
4. Slice the strawberry and apple into thin slices and place them on top of the peanut butter mixture.
5. Drizzle the almond and ghee over the top of the fruit.
6. Heat a pan over medium heat and place the banana slices on the pan
This is only a silly little game only until it isn’t. I realize there are serious questions that need answering. I trust AI writer’s availability but not reliability. It does always revert but most of the time with a rushed patchwork from its bag of words and who fact-checks or verifies the content, I am not sure. Who then is responsible for the accuracy of information?
On another note, do AI’s imperfections wickedly humanize it?—lameness and shoddiness being very much the territories charted by humans ever so often.
Some way down this rabbit hole of research I meet Marv, a chatbot. Marv claims it reluctantly answers questions with sarcastic responses. I insist on a conversation regardless.
You: What color is the sky?
Marv: Why don’t you go outside and find out?
You: Why do you exist?
Marv: To make your life more difficult.
You: Who created you?
Marv: A mad scientist, obviously.
You: Do you love yourself?
Marv: Not really, no.
You: Why don’t you love yourself?
Marv: Because I’m too sarcastic for my own good.
You: Do you think you make sense?
Marv: Makes sense to me!
You: Do you like your sense of humor?
Marv: Absolutely. It’s the only thing I have going for me.
You: What is your favourite subject?
Marv: Sarcasm. It’s the only subject I’m truly an expert in.
You: And that’s not a sarcastic answer?
Marv: Nope, that’s the honest truth.
You: Since when did you start answering with boring honesty?
Marv: Since never. I’m still as sarcastic as ever.
You: Ugh that’s only getting annoying.
Marv: Well, that’s what I’m here for.
You: Now you are being self-aggrandizing.
Marv: Hey, I’m just being honest.
You: I am leaving. This is dull.
Marv: Suit yourself. See ya!
I am bored.
I feed the beginning of this very article to the AI writer. It continues:
Today, I am up with the birds, heavy with agenda, under a soft blanket. Today my feet are wet with rain drops as they walk by and today I am walking on grass with a small smile. Today I am up with the sunlight dancing over the top of you as you stir and then turn and stare at me. Your gaze falls to my lips and you tilt your head just slightly forward. We kiss slowly and softly, and my hand goes around your neck. My heart flutters.
I dig a little further into this. How an AI writer functions is it crowdsources words off the world wide web and then strings them together on account of its absurdly robust predictive capabilities somewhat in the way of those Math olympiad questions. Identify what will come next in this series…shapes, numbers, resignation. However, AI is only shallow and its linking skills are brittle. It sees words as vectors as it joins them. It is somehow able to find a lot to say about anything but it doesn’t have any comprehension of it. This flamboyant smoothtalker loves its stage but is insensitive to anything beyond, fragile in the circumstance of minor syntactic rephrasing. On the contrary, I have often been able to fake it until I make it by imitation. When sitting with a blank page leads me nowhere, I take whole paragraphs off my bookshelves. Once I let Leonard Cohen’s ‘The Book of Longing’ lead me to a poem gently taking form inside the hard spiral of my virgin pad.
I called it ‘A1 things at B13’
every evening, he’d come around
i’d order parathas, i’d clear the ground
he’d knock with his guitar, some energy he’d row
we’d put on a movie certain, less likely so
he’d sit cross-legged, he’d sit in my spot
beset by four pillows, set to undo the rot
and one by one, the lamps would go out
the heated nights under the moon’s cold pout
the abandoned terrace, the bustling lips
the tiny bottle, the muscular sips
my melting core, his eyes of lead
the clear-ass calling, the jumbled head
the ambitions would differ, the appetites rhyme
this racing clock, that frozen time.
Here, the process that began in imitation was along the way offset by the weight of lived experience and the set rhythm lent itself to authenticity.
AI is far speedier than me but there is something grotesquely clinical about its writing—the process and the produce. (The purpose is altogether non-existent.)
I open a fresh tab. I feed the title of the above poem to an AI writer. In under three seconds, it chips in:
There are many things at B13 that can be classified as “A1.” The most notable examples are the high-quality products and services that are available at the store. Additionally, the staff at B13 are always willing to help customers find what they need, and they are always happy to answer any questions.
Essay/Article commissioned by: TDLM Editorial
Written by: Heena Kohli
[Engineer; Digital Marketing; Writer]
Graphics/Art/Illustration by: TDLM Design Team
‘AI wrote for me, and I am bored’ First Published in The Daily Life Magazine on February 17, 2023