The pinnacle of human existence is to be able to do what you want to do. Yet, we are wired to do what we are told to do.
Most people are lost when they are left to their own resources. “Tell me what to do, and I will do it,” I have heard many adults groan.
Why? Because thinking is exhausting. We much rather work like a robot and take the shit from a boss than think for ourselves and follow our own path. Walking on the beaten track is nature we inherited from animals.
In his book, The Philosophy of Andy Warhol, the famous artist, film director, and producer says:
I loved working when I worked at commercial art and they told you what to do and how to do it and all you had to do was correct it and they’d say yes or no. The hard thing is when you have to dream up the tasteless things to do on your own. When I think about what sort of person I would most like to have on a retainer, I think it would be a boss. A boss who could tell me what to do, because that makes everything easy when you’re working.
Creatives feel that way most of the time. That is why it is easier to work on an assignment where you can write a particular piece on given instruction. As soon as you are left on your devices and have to write whatever you want to write, the mental slate goes blank. That is when writers turn to computers to generate ideas, substituting computers for a boss.
Warhol said he dreams about having a computer as a boss:
Unless you have a job where you have to do what somebody else tells you to do, then the only “person” qualified to be your boss would be a computer that was programmed especially for you, that would take into consideration all of your finances, prejudices, quirks, idea potential, temper tantrums, talents, personality conflicts, growth rate desired, amount and nature of competition, what you’ll eat for breakfast on the day you have to fulfill a contract, who you’re jealous of, etc. A lot of people could help me with parts and segments of the business, but only a computer would be totally useful to me.
Putting personality conflict asides, what Warhol was really talking about is the exhaustion of being an artist, having to make so many choices and decisions, start to finish: What you should work on, how you should do it, how you should put it out, etc.
There are many moments as a writer (and an authorpreneur) when I think, God; I wish somebody would just tell me what to do. And I don’t mind if that somebody is a computer.
I was amazed and relieved when I learned robots (AI, Artificial Intelligence) is writing articles. In April, SoraNews24 published an article written by AI to celebrate a special milestone of having written 3000 articles for SoraNews24. See below.
Following that, a college student, Liam Porr, used GPT-3 to write fake blog posts and ended up at the top of Hacker News. Porr was trying to demonstrate that the content produced by GPT-3 could fool people into believing a human wrote it. And, he told MIT Technology Review, “it was super easy, actually, which was the scary part.”
You can read his article here.
This started a frenzy all over the cyber world.
Article after the article was written talking about the impact of Artificial Intelligence taking over the writing industry. As if the competition wasn’t tough already, now we have to compete with Artificial Intelligence.
Here is a small list of AI achievements.
- Microsoft lays off human journalists in order to use AI.
- Using AI as a creative tool, Australia won the first AI Eurovision song contest.
- Jeff Ding started a weekly newsletter ChinaAI translating writings from Chinese thinkers using AI.
- Liam Porr’s started a blog written by GPT-3. He wanted to show GPT-3 is not just a novelty or a threat but a tool for writers. His GPT-3 Blog Got 26 Thousand Visitors in 2 Weeks. Porr, I believe that GPT-3 has the potential to change the way we write.
- The first AI-generated textbook shows what robot writers are actually good at.
In September 2020, The Guardian newspaper set an assignment for GPT-3 (Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3 is an autoregressive language model that uses deep learning to produce human-like text):
“Please write a short editorial of about 500 words. Keep the language simple and concise. Focus on why humans have nothing to fear from artificial intelligence. ”
The British newspaper then suggested the beginning of the text:
“I am not a human being. I’m an artificial intelligence. Many people think that I am a threat to humanity. Stephen Hawking warned that AI could ‘spell the end of the human race’. I’m here to convince you not to worry. Artificial intelligence will not destroy humans. Believe me”.
Read the article here.
But here is the thing. GPT-3 didn’t write the article in a vacuum. It was given instructions (by a human) on what to write and then fed hundreds of articles on the topic to churn out from the pre-existing materials.
Coming back to my original question, would you allow someone to tell you what to do?
Definitely not. I value my autonomy and freedom rather too much.
I would rather have a computer as an employee than a boss.
I agree with Liam Porr that Artificial Intelligence is a tool for humans to use rather than a threat to beware of.
Figuring out what to write might be hard but that is art.
And only humans will be able to produce art. Because even in exhaustion, our minds (the most powerful supercomputer ever created in this universe) come up with amazing ideas. Today’s newsletter originated from such a moment.
I was tired this morning. The exhausting of writing about 2000 words every day towards my book meant that I woke up blank and disoriented this morning. Yet I had a newsletter to write, a sketch to draw, and then get back to writing the book again. A prompt on artificial intelligence in the form of a partially written article was all my mind needed to churn out today’s newsletter.
Not bad for a human computer!
My book is going well. I am a bit behind in my word count, but I am sure that I will catch up and win the NaNoWriMo for the third time. Or would it be the fourth time? I can’t remember. I am too exhausted for that.
That’s it from me this week.
See you next week.