If AI Can Replace You, You Must Be a Shitty Writer

We get the future we deserve

Ryan Frawley

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Photo by Possessed Photography on Unsplash

You must’ve heard

Open AI’s latest language model, Chat GPT, gained over a million users in its first five days after launch. No one, including the program itself, can shut up about it.

We’ve had chatbots seemingly forever now, stacked like racks of angels tethered to a customer service decision tree that leads penitents ever onward into ever-deeper circles of perdition.

But this new one is better. Faster. Smarter. Breathless online articles tout the program as being indistinguishable from talking to a human.

It can answer your questions about anything. It can write code and churn out (terrible) song lyrics, and if it can’t tell you where you left your keys, it will find out soon enough. It can write. It can write, the tech boosters crow with misanthropic glee, better than you.

A harbinger of the coming technological revolution. A computer that can think and reason like a human, that can perform tasks that were once the sole preserve of humans. It’s not just the chat bot. There’s the visual art too, Midjourney and Night Café and Dall-E 2, able to create images from a few words in a prompt.

Suddenly, anyone can write or draw or paint. Talent and taste and effort are so last century.

I write for a living, so I keep an eye on anything that threatens that livelihood. Why pay me to generate content for your website when a machine can do it far faster at a fraction of the cost? And already, on the online job boards, the rates for freelancers, dismal enough to begin with, are dropping. Already, writers are losing jobs to robots. This is no longer something we have to worry about happening in the future. It’s happening right now.

But if a robot can replace you as a writer, you must be a pretty shitty writer.

Why do you write?

It’s a question every writer or wannabe has to ask themselves at some point. When the ravenous silence devours your latest work like it never existed in the first place. When the bills keep piling up and the royalties evaporate.

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Ryan Frawley

Novelist. Essayist. Former entomologist. Now a full-time writer exploring travel, art, philosophy, psychology, and science. www.ryanfrawley.com