I love technology when it creates useful tools, like a thermostat that I can control from my phone. But I also feel like I'm getting old and not looking forward to some of the impending changes.

When I was a technical editor at Adobe, we did eventually get a tool that was like Grammarly on steroids. We were all skeptical of it, but it was actually not too bad. But guess what — we still needed some human editing, and this was technical writing, basically software help systems. Not your usual writing.

I write because I love writing, not to produce "content." I actually put ChatGPT to the test and it couldn't write anything like what I write. https://flowerchild.substack.com/p/overall-chatgpt-will-not-replace. Maybe a future AI will be able to, but I really, really doubt it. It will never have the human perspective. It will never have a lifetime of experiences to draw on. It will never feel awe and wonder (see https://flowerchild.substack.com/p/awe-is-the-key).

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May 17, 2023Liked by Ramona Grigg

I use Grammarly, but at least half the time I see a suggestion and go, “Yeah, no,” then tap Ignore. But sometimes it will make me think, and okay, maybe one would better than three right there. And every so often it will catch something that autocorrect messed up. (Yes, it was autocorrect’s fault. Definitely. Prove me wrong. 😉)

I see AI editorial aids doing similar work. “You did not get to the subject of your article until the tenth paragraph. Did you intend to bury the lede, and if so, why?”

Alas, I also see AI “reporters” churning out trite short articles all over, which will be a shame, because writing crap like that is how a lot of today’s good reporters got their start.

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AI will lead to mediocrity on a massive scale!

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This is it for me too, Ramona: "We’re writers here. We write. We don’t go looking for someone or something else to do our writing for us. We do it because it’s in us and it’s what we do." I write because I need to write. I write because it's how I process the world; I read to learn about the perspectives of others, to be delighted, to be surprised. I do both in order to *feel* things - since AI can't feel when it writes it's unlikely to make people feel when they read. I also agree that, like so many things, we learn to write by writing and by reading people's work that speaks to us and shows us how to do it in interesting ways. It's an ongoing love affair with words not a task to be delegated to a chat-bot.

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Ramona, I couldn't agree more... "We’re writers here. We write. We don’t go looking for someone or something else to do our writing for us. We do it because it’s in us and it’s what we do." if you don't want to be writing, start cooking or gardening or singing or learning a foreign language...

As I've often said to younger people in our field, if you are truly a writer, you're never not writing...

And as in so many other cases with technological advances, we let the cat out of the bag before we understand the ethical implications.... writers are already scrambling for the few pennies that come our way...AI is owned by tech companies who are trying their best to take it all. They already control the income from AI generated scripts which is why the writers have gone on strike in Hollywood. They are trying to prevent the studios from giving them AI generated scripts to "clean up." No royalties or by-lines for writers in that scenario.

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May 17, 2023·edited May 17, 2023Liked by Ramona Grigg

Exactly with bells on, Ramona!

I'd never use AI - goodness, writing is as much therapy as anything for me so why give it to an AI and expect the same level of emotion and observation? Where does my feel-good moment come from when AI takes over?

I've never used Grammarly either - I'm old school. OED and Roget's for me. In fact I just love Roget's - make a cup of coffee, grab a cookie and pick a word and then disappear down a rabbit hole lined with words for a while. Perfection.

Besides, I have a wonderful editor who scours my manuscripts and taps out little corrections everywhere - that's the part of writing I love. He's my coach and he's always walking along the side of the pool as I swim lengths, offering advice and constructive criticism. I know and he knows that I'm not perfect. So I thumb my nose at AI!!!

Thank you for your post today and for saying it like it is, as always.

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The best news I heard recently is that AI created work cannot be copyrighted. If submitted and claimed as human work, the fake writer can be fined up to $100,000 per incident.

Meanwhile, we keep honing our craft. One word at a time.

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As a travel writer I find AI pointless in doing my actual writing for me, especially since so much of our newsletter is our voice.

However, as a research tool, AI has proven pretty remarkable. I've asked it complex questions about economics in Thailand and how things have changed over the past forty years. And with the right prompts it has given me a quantity of information that it would have taken me hours to compile on my own, including a list of resources.

Of course, I verify that information in other ways but so far it's been quite accurate.

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Definitely interested to read the Vanity Fair piece - thanks for adding it!

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First of all I found inspiration when you got a little off track about a grammar correction tool. I tend to write how I talk and while I got all A's a kazillion years ago in English classes my grammar is not great and is often made up. When you mentioned some people just throw it all to the wind and it works it made me feel better!

I am one of those atrocious folks who would use - (is that called a dash? I don't know) at random wherever I felt like it. Recently I read a Note about how those people make the writer nuts. I can understand how irritating that would be to someone who knows the rules of punctuation. After reading that Note I have tried (albeit unsuccessfully) to do better but I have really missed my - as I write while continuing to throw random commas around and even being brave with a semi colon.

I work full time so I don't have time, or inclination if I am truthful, to really lean into proper sentence structure. Dictionary.com app is the one app I could not live without and I truly love the thesaurus. There is nothing better than roaming through it looking for words. The actual grammar part...I will have to make do or perhaps use an AI tool to help. The thing is though - my random writing style is mine, my very own made up by me. I warn readers on my about page that if they are looking for grammar and punctuation that I am not their girl. I simply don't see me using a robot to fix my inherent, yet beautiful flaws.

At this time I am pretty much burying my head in the sand about AI because it is so alarming. I appreciated the insight of your article and will check out the link you sent. Just yesterday I was sent an ad about ChatGPT app now available for phone which made me realize that educational institutions will have to change much quicker than they anticipated to get ahead of it. That's a discussion for another day.

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May 26, 2023Liked by Ramona Grigg

AI, I had an uncle Al once. We called him Uncle Allen. Don't know much about AI but when techys discover something they use it. Students always want to find the easy way to accomplish their studies. The joy of learning goes out the window when the clock is ticking and hormones are pulsing. I think we humans are better at experimentation and innovation than any machine and I thank goodness for that 😊

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