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There was one particular line in this week’s article to read that intrigued me and that I would tend to agree with when it comes to the use of AI in writing. The quote was this:

A computer, while not explicitly bringing its own intention, can disrupt the writer’s intention.

AI Reveals the Most Human Parts of Writing, Katy Ilonka Gero

That word intention has a lot of power behind it– it’s the why in anything you write, say, or do. I don’t think I mentioned it too much in my blog from last semester, but one of the first questions my abuelita ever asked my dad (through the translation of my mom) was “what are your intentions?” If you’re going into a relationship just to stay in a relationship, or if you’re going into a relationship based on feelings that can come and go from time to time, what kind of a relationship is that? If you’re going to build a house, are you going to build it on sand or soil that could wash away in a storm? Or would you rather build on a solid and intentionally built foundation?

In many ways it’s the same concept with writing. An author builds a relationship with the audience through the language of the piece– what is said, how it’s said, and why it’s said.

When it comes to using Artificial Intelligence (AI) in writing, I don’t think it’s a great tool if it’s the main source of language in any case. However, it can, for some writers, be a great source of inspiration– I personally don’t like this for most of my own writing unless I’m using it for an idea I already had and just have trouble putting into words. For some this is an incredibly useful tool to chip away at the infamous wall of writers block. AI writing is not my cup of tea for the most part though because it does not bring the same intention that human writing so often does. The intention of AI writing is in its code– its intention is to formulate a sentence that makes sense about a topic provided for it. That said, AI does not feel, and has its limitations on how it can perceive patterns of how certain emotions are expressed. Intention then becomes distorted in formula. A destination is reached in writing, but what does the journey mean– or is there a journey at all– when it’s based on a formula rather than a purpose?

There was another quote from Ilonka Gero’s article that also had me thinking about what it really means to be an honest writer, or even an honest person. (Not to say that writers using AI are inherently dishonest– the point is that AI might sugarcoat that honesty or in some ways limit the full truth the writer is attempting to convey).

Most writers are eager to get eyes on their work, and a computational eye may feel less frightening than your best friend; the computer might judge you, but not in a way that’ll impact your future relationship with it.

AI Reveals the Most Human Parts of Writing, Katy Ilonka Gero

What sticks out to me here is that while making things “less frightening” is sometimes helpful, making it so readily available can take away part of the experience and development of the writer as a person. Fear is, to some extent, necessary for healthy human development. Growth is uncomfortable. This fact is well known and not some sort of major plot twist or revelation.

I mean even if you think about it from a Biblical standpoint like I do, even Jesus Himself said that there would be hardship in this world. There will be times when speaking up or standing up, however necessary, will be scary and difficult. Example: Jonah. Example 2: Moses. Example 3: Gideon. Example 4: Jesus in Gethsemane. There are numerous other examples, but my point is that what is the point in expressing thoughts that everyone is already having? Express the thoughts that might face some opposition and that start genuine conversations where people might learn a thing or two from one another.

And that brings me back to another part of what the article said:

…other writers simply take pride in sitting down and pumping out a thousand words. It’s like exercise. You need to keep it up, otherwise your skills atrophy.

AI Reveals the Most Human Parts of Writing, Katy Ilonka Gero

Pushing limits and boundaries is not comfortable, nor is protecting your own boundaries at times. But it takes practice. And to make it so readily available that AI can “protect us” from the sort of interaction that might help us to develop as people and as writers is something to be wary of.

This all said, the use of AI in writing isn’t entirely bad. Much like with what and how we actually write, how we use this technology is also important to take into consideration. Computers to not bring their own intention into creating, but might suggest a way of phrasing or displaying the intentions of the user that is actually behind creating the piece at hand. Something someone said in e-lit last semester that I think is really applicable here is this idea that creation submits to its creator. I would agree wholeheartedly that is how it’s designed, but as we human beings don’t always submit to the will of God, technology doesn’t always submit exactly to the will of man as we picture it to either. In the case of technology not always doing things exactly how we might picture it, sometimes that can turn into a beautiful, serendipitous moment of inspiration. So using AI as a tool alongside human writing is a beautiful thing of course, though I personally feel convicted to avoid that for the sake of challenging myself more. The question for me is more along the lines of how this might get out of hand.

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