I’ve uploaded the full text and images of a lecture on artificial intelligence and writing that I gave at Georgia Tech, October 5, 2022. I was going to wait until I published full final version, as part of a book in progress, but given the current fervor, I thought I’d post now. (Thanks to Melissa Ianetta, Kelly Ritter, and colleagues for the speaking invitation). “Postcards in the Age of AI: Writing as Burden, Writing as Craft” will take you to a PDF that will take some time to load and will benefit from a large viewing screen; it has has lots of images. It was a talk. It is not polished. The lecture takes a somewhat different slant on the topic, exploring the question not of “how good is AI writing” but rather of why people want AIs to write. I explain (and I hope rather more illustrate) that writing is often a deeply human activity that people want to engage for reasons of building relationships and writing themselves into the world. They want to write even when it’s hard, in fact maybe especially when it’s hard. AI cannot–and should not–replace that kind of meaningful, self-engaged, writing. The lecture also touches on Artificial Reading, Sandy Koufax, and building mandolins by hand.
Note: I started casually following artificial intelligence and writing in 2005, then again around 2012, and most recently since 2017. It’s been interesting to watch higher education and much of writing studies finally, in fall 2022, pay more attention to what entrepreneurs and the popular press, most notably The New Yorker, started covering years ago.
“Postcards in the Age of AI: Writing as Burden, Writing as Craft.” (Note: this link takes you to a PDF that will take awhile to load and will benefit from a large viewing screen; it has lots of images.)