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Why I won't use AI

Here’s an illustration from my book:

image of bad SEO copy

You’ve probably clicked on a search result and landed on a page with this sort of mindless babble. It’s annoying to read, but it wasn’t written for you. It was written for a robot.

Nobody asked for an internet full of “SEO-optimized” content that dulls the mind without informing. But we got it anyway.

Now we’ve got exciting overhyped new technology that allows a computer program to generate similar (maybe even better) prose from a simple prompt. We’re suddenly able to produce low-value, mind-numbing content at an exponentially greater scale.

Which nobody asked for. But it looks like it’s coming.

My best guess is that we’ll very soon find ourselves expending more and more energy trying to distinguish machine babble from the actual opinions of real humans with (literal) skin in the game.

(Nobody asked to spend time worrying about that, either.)

So I won’t use AI. Everything you read on this site will be artisanally hand-typed and fussed over by a real person with real emotions. I promise.

You might object: “Wait, don’t you use a search engine? Closed captions on YouTube? Both of those are powered by AI.”

Touché. The ability to find information on the internet, and to create good-enough transcriptions of human speech—these are things people actually asked for. They’re fine. So to clarify, I won’t use AI to generate text, images, or video. (Saying it that way just didn’t make a snappy enough title.)

But still … why not use AI as a tool for creativity?

I’ve seen lots of takes and advice about this. “If you’re stuck, the robot can generate fifty topic sentences to get you started!”

This is the wrong approach. Don’t take technological innovations as inevitable, and inevitably good. They aren’t. Don’t try to make the best of them, and in so doing resign yourself to their proliferation.

We didn’t ask for this. The glut of mindless content, the displacement of creative work. If you just shrug your shoulders and say “Well, that’s how the world works,” you are a coward.

The world can work in any number of ways, and your vision can be part of that. But you have to craft that vision yourself. Because if you don’t, it’s not yours.

    © 2023 Brian David Hall