reported that “Machines are getting better at writing. They can finish our sentences. They can reply to our emails. They can write news reports and even novels. But just because they can doesn’t mean they should.”  The August 24, 2019 article entitled “Why we shouldn’t let AI write for us” included these observations:

Writing involves revision, which clarifies thinking. We think. We write what we think. Then by reading what we write we realize the errors in our thinking, or at least in the way we have expressed our thinking. We rewrite until our thoughts are clearly and accurately and fully expressed. This practice is at the core of our ability to analyze, create, make good decisions and make progress in our lives and in our work.

Literacy and thinking are connected. This was the point of George Orwell’s Newspeak idea in the novel 1984. The totalitarian government in that book used restrictions on language to make complex thought impossible. Its purpose was “to diminish the range of thought” in order to pacify and enervate the public.

Writing, even writing business emails, forces us to confront our own thoughts in black and white. And this makes us cultivate our ability to think clearly.

It’s also the foundation of our ability to talk with logic and coherence. You’ll notice that good writers tend to speak well.

And writing aids memory. Just letting AI communicate for us, even if we choose from a menu of options, makes it easier to forget what “we” said.

More to the point, writing ability is a use-it-or-lose-it proposition, and AI systems that write for us could make us gradually lose it.

What do you think?


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