Why You Shouldn’t Be Skeptical About AI Writing Together With Humans
To cut it short.
Nothing to be scared of, trust us. Try Storykube 🚀
I don’t know how many of you can remember your first computer or laptop. For sure you can’t remember your first typewriter. I do remember that. I was something like eight or maybe nine years old and I loved writing. I used to write by hand, filling white sheets (not even ruled pages), front and back, with words.
I then learned that there once were these fellows, called amanuenses, who used to copy hundreds of books and writings over and over, all day long, with quill and inkwell. Their name comes from the Latin “a manu servus”, which originally and literally indicated slaves who wrote while their masters’ dictated. Later on, this activity spread in monasteries, places of culture and knowledge. Here, there was this name who used to scare the poor amanuenses, which was Titivilus, a demon who worked on behalf of Satan, placing errors and mistakes into the works of the amanuenses. Pretty scary. You weren’t allowed to make mistakes.
Anyways, after I filled a dozen sheets, my dad came to me with his old typewriter and said he got it fixed just for me. I was in utter amazement. Although I personally loved putting my words in writing with the pen on a sheet, I was happy not to have a sore wrist and aching fingers, no more ink on my hands, no more back bending on the sheet. I started using the typewriter and I soon learned how to type really fast. I copied all the writings that I had done by hand, but of course I noticed that I had to be very careful not to make mistakes, ’cause I couldn’t erase them and I didn’t want to waste too many sheets of paper and of course I was a child, so I didn’t want a scary monster or demon to come after me.
At that time, I learned that the first book ever printed was the Gutenberg Bible (also part of UNESCO’S Memory of the World) in the mid-1400s, using movable types, little metal dowels with a character embossed on each of them. It was a revolution. Not only the process of printing became faster and with a lower cost, but soon reading was about to become something within everyone’s reach, not only a privilege of the few. Reading and writing was becoming democratic.
At the same time, the foundations were being laid for the development of a consumer literature, purely recreational and aimed at making money. Even more democratic.
Of course the typewriter had its flaws too; just like the amanuenses, you weren’t allowed to make mistakes. Everytime you made an error, you had to throw the sheet away, the ink could soil all the sheet, the typewriter would get stuck and needed maintenance and cleaning.
Writing on the computer
Back to my story, one day I entered my dad’s studio, where my typewriter was…and there was no more. It was gone. But there was something different on the desk. A screen, like the one of the TV and then a sort of rectangular box. My dad said it was called a “computer”. I didn’t know what to say, ’cause I didn’t realize what I was facing. I was just disappointed, I wanted my typewriter back. But my dad (with a lot of patience) started to show me what I could do with it and I discovered a new world: what I typed, I could see on the screen. No ink, no paper consumption, reeeeally fast typing. I could actually write and delete, and then write more, move sentences, add paragraphs and other functions that I can’t even remember. It was so easy and fast. I started writing… and I couldn’t stop.
From that day on, computers improved, developed, enhanced; technology moved forward; not to mention the Internet. The quantity of information that you can have in seconds is not calculable, it’s something that some time ago was quite unimaginable.
All this leads us to the fact that human beings, in their most intrinsic characteristic of their own humanity, have always been and still are constantly pushing themselves in the creation of tools to be able to empower and overcome their limits, improve what they already have and find a solution to their needs.
Another intrinsic characteristic of humanity, given its aspiration to achieve more and more, is that it constantly complains about slowing downs, delays and going backwards instead of onwards. People are always looking for something quick and immediate.
There’s more to it; although we humans are always constantly seeking new tools and technological advancements, paradoxically there is always an ongoing attitude of resistance in adopting these very new tools and a sort of common behavior of disdain towards them. So while a part of us jumps headlong into the new, another part (almost as if balancing a social behavior) instead expresses dissent and sometimes hatred, discrediting everything new.
Writing four-handedly with an AI
This is what is happening with AI beyond writing tools like Storykube. Just as we went from amanuenses to mobile types/printing, all the way to the computer, in the same way AI is just a new tool, guess what? Created by us. Humans.
And just as the typewriter has over time meant “speeding up writing” (and democratizing it) so AI will push even further by making possible what was not possible before.
The problem, most likely, is also that we tend to personify AI and this almost leads us to a xenophobic thinking whereby this intelligence is here to steal our jobs. But AI is just and only mathematics. It is a set of numbers in a matrix, a statistical model, created by us. If you think about it, it is an extension of our own intelligence.
It won’t replace you in your person, in who you are and in how you want to express yourself. Instead, it will optimize YOUR writing, boost YOUR ideas, enhance what YOU already think or did.
The nine-year-old me loved writing by hand, but the typewriter really gave me a nudge. The ten-year-old me was really skeptical about the computer, it really looked like an alien, and I was so upset that my typewriter was gone. But I changed my mind, because I really saw what I could have become with that new tool. I remember I started writing something new and different, because the computer just gave me a whole new way of thinking and creating. I was really committed to starting to write something meaningful. I almost got to 100 pages of a story I couldn’t have written by hand or with the typewriter.
Now that I’m older and looking back to the ten-year-old girl, I’m wondering what she would have thought about AI as a writing assistant. I’m sure I would have been skeptical at first, like many of us were and are, but then I would have loved this new amazing writing tool, just like it happened with the typewriter and then with the computer. Those 100 pages of my story could have become something bigger. Who knows, maybe now I’m going to pick it up where I left off, motivated by this new tool.
This is why there’s nothing to be scared of. AI was created by people; humans are still and will always be the teachers and AI the learners.
You just have to give it a chance. It won’t start singing Daisy Bell, take control over you, lock you out and try to kill you. Promised.