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The Fear of Being Considered a Fake

Raise your hand if you’ve tried any of the many Chat GPT apps! I’ve tried some and, frankly, it kinda scares me on two levels:

  1. Will people start assuming everything I write is AI generated?

  2. Will people’s critical and creative writing processes fizzle out if they don’t use their own brains to write?

Item number one comes up in my writing group often. Anyone who loves writing knows that to produce something “good” we put our heart, soul and/or brain into it to come up with something original that no one else has ever said the way we say it.

We fear that people will start wondering, “did Tim actually write this poem, or did he use AI?” “Susie’s memoir has taken a different tone - is it because she’s writing from a different perspective or is she letting AI write this chapter?

This concerns writers because they put blood, sweat and tears into their books, essays, poetry, etc. We fear people will doubt whether what we wrote is from us - or did we use AI? Writers are often vulnerable and open and that’s why we appeal to our readers. They want authentic writing from the author. Is there going to be an emerging trend of doubt now that AI is looked at as a “writing tool?”

You probably have a favorite author and recognize their style. You buy their books (or borrow them) because you resonate with them or are entertained or educated by them. You wouldn't know if they suddenly started using AI to generate some of their content. Or would you? Does it matter? Would you think less of the author if they incorporated AI into their creative process?

Do I need to disclaim everything I write from this point forward: Written by BL not AI?

Before I wrote this blog post I put my idea for it into AI to see what it would come up with. Here is what it gave me:

“AI has become an increasingly popular tool for authors, especially those who are looking to write faster and with more accuracy. As AI becomes more sophisticated, it will have an even greater impact on the writing process.
However, many people are concerned about how AI will affect the creativity of authors. Will people assume that authors are using AI to write their books? How will AI influence the thinking process of authors? And most importantly, how can we be sure that no AI was used in the writing of a book?
These questions remain unanswered as we enter a new age of technology and automation. But as AI continues to evolve, so too will its impact on authors and their writing processes.”

Hmm, interesting. I don't think it sounds like me, but it sounds good.

My second concern is that we won’t use our brains as much. Research - not a problem, AI will do it for you. Statistics, ideas, outlines, legal documents - the list of things it can do for us is endless.

I totally see the value in this. It will save you time and money. Money because you won’t need to hire someone to do this for you. You can do it yourself so easily!

Here’s an example of why this concerns me. For 17 years I worked for an international organization as an administrative assistant. Part of my job was to make travel arrangements. Thank goodness for travel agents! I would call my favorite one and she would help me plan a trip that looks something like this:

  • Leave from LAX on July 1

  • Arrive in Baltimore, stay two days, no hotel or rental car needed

  • Fly to Uganda, get accommodations and a rental car, stay 5 days

  • Arrive in Paris in time to attend a 3 day conference that starts July 10, rental car - no accommodations

  • Be back in Orange County no later than 6 pm on July 16, arrange shuttle from LAX to home

There is so much to consider in getting this itinerary to work! The different time zones, the nearest airports, the cost and availability of hotels, dining and car rentals. The time it takes to get from point A to point B by driving.

The first half of my time working in this office I relied on my trusty travel agent to help me make this happen. We’d spend hours planning it and sometimes it was impossible to accommodate this exact plan - so that involved talking to my boss, his travel partners and their assistants and getting things just right so there were no surprises.

Travelocity and all those sites started popping up. I chose to keep using the travel agent as long as I could - until her business closed because no one needed her. I know there are still travel agents out there, but not nearly as many as before. What will happen to people who write, research, edit, etc. for a living? Luckily, I don't have to worry about that because writing is not my job - but it is for millions of people out there!

If you’re still reading this my only question for you is, do you have any concerns about AI affecting you personally? There are pros and cons for sure. I have a love/hate relationship with it so far. I see the value - but it's a huge concern about where the future is heading if we replace jobs and PEOPLE with AI.

2 comentários

Hi Barbara - you may know but my whole career has been in tech PR - PR for tech companies. AI is by far the biggest thing to go mainstream in a generation. As big as the advent of the Internet IMO. I think Google has already made us dumb - who needs geography when you can just Google it!? I think Chat GPT can be very useful as an assistant. Yes it might replace that part of the admin job you cited, but maybe it actually frees up that admin's time to do something more valuable? In terms of writing, major news organizations have been using AI to start or draft stories for years and years already. I think…

Barbara Legere
Barbara Legere
08 de jun. de 2023
Respondendo a

Thank you for this, Paul! I like hearing from someone who knows what he's talking about. And yes, I do see the value, I really do. I wrote this after being with a group of nervous authors looking at it mainly from that perspective. You're 100% right about Google dumbing us down already. It's so convenient and I love all it does for me, but it's taking the place of critical thinking skills...Remember encyclopedias? I loved them. I would read them for fun (I was a nerdy kid that way). It was a big deal for a family to get a set of encyclopedias, especially the ones that came with those World Books.

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