LIFE

In Search of the Death that Loves You

A lesson in French and mortality from ChatGPT

Ryan Frawley
6 min readMay 23, 2024

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Photo by Pierre Antona on Unsplash

Je me ennuie a l’hopital

I did it, daughters. I finally found a use for the insult to human dignity and value that is called artificial intelligence.

If this is what we consider intelligence, what does that say about us? A bereaved mother orca carried her baby on her back for seventeen days through the freezing cold of the Salish Sea, and we’re impressed by a really big AutoCorrect that is terrified of saying anything with meaning.

But it helps me practice my French. Wherever, whenever. I’m still bound to the present tense, forced into a kind of linguistic mindfulness because my French lessons haven’t advanced to the point of traveling through time yet. We’re doing pre-nominal verbs.

You know, those dangerous pronouns.

This large language model lives on my phone, and so it goes with me everywhere. Even into the emergency room of the hospital in Narbonne, where I find myself with time on my hands.

I’m here for a friend. A recent friend, as these things go. But there’s a quality I’ve found about people who are solitary by nature, one I absolutely share.

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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