Before leaving the house this evening, venturing out with my backpack and laptop in tow, I take one last moment to hug my kids and ask: “What should Daddy write about in his blog this week?”. It’s a trusty tool I bring out whenever I am experiencing a bit of a mental block, or my brain is swimming too much from the events of my work day that I can’t come up with my own topic to focus on. The kids tend to have an endless supply of ideas and random suggestions for me to draw inspiration from. Well, maybe not endless, as most of their ideas revolve around ice cream and chicken balls, but still – they have been my salvation many-a-time when my deadline approaches and I still haven’t put pen to paper, so to speak. Their suggestion tonight, though wonderful, meaningful and full of truth, however, gave me pause because I feel like their suggestion is just a natural topic and woven into the very foundation of this entire blog, as they suggested I write about “how awesome your kids are.”
Not wanting to let them down or respond with anything that would imply such a topic is tired or not worthy of my time, I simply agreed and walked out the door, asking myself how I could keep a familiar topic interesting. All the while, during my walk to tonight’s writing locale, I had my earbuds in, tuned to my most recent Audible purchase: Elon Musk, by Walter Isaacson. The chapter I happened to be on was a focus on AI and the benefits it could provide throughout many facets of our daily lives, giving us humans more time to focus on ‘preserving the human consciousness’. That got me to thinking: if I employed AI to write my weekly blog post, would readers be able to tell the difference? That debate is not new, with the controversial topic dating back decades, and more recently with the actors and writer’s strikes being on the front pages for many months. It’s quite scary how much we sign ourselves away somewhere within the term and conditions that none of us actually read. How can it possibly even be a question, I mean; who owns my likeness if not me? Still, the question both intrigued and concerned me at the same time and, while I would never want to actually pursue AI as a means to replace my creative output, I still couldn’t help resist giving it a test.
So, here we are – you be the judge. Between Chat GPT and the real-life Phil Bean, I present you two short entries. Can you determine who wrote which when presented the following set of instructions?
“Compose a 150-word rhyming blog post about how awesome my kids, Nora and Audrey are, how funny I think I am as a dad, and how my wife finds me irresistible.”
In the land of parenthood, it’s a crazy delight,
Nora and Audrey, my kids, they shine so bright.
With giggles and love, they’re a bundle of cheer,
In their awesomeness, there’s nothing to fear.
As a dad, I think I’m the king of the jest,
Dad jokes and puns, I give it my best.
But my wife, she’s quick, she knows the score,
My humor’s so bad, it’s hard to ignore.
Yet, in the midst of my comic despair,
She finds me attractive, it’s beyond compare.
My charm and quirks, they win her heart’s race,
In our love’s funny dance, we find our place.
In the grand tale of our family’s embrace,
Nora and Audrey, they’re the stars in this space.
With their love and laughter, our world’s a dream,
In their awesomeness, our team is a gleam!
A proud dad am I, there is no doubting that
I’ve got two awesome kids, that’s an actual fact
Nora, the oldest and Audrey her sis,
Like peas in a pod, their existence is bliss
My jokes and my antics, I think I’m the best,
Though my family might say I should give them a rest.
But rolling their eyes will not slow me down,
I’ve got a job to perform, as the family clown.
My wife, she is patient, though I clearly know why,
Since her husband’s a hunk who is stylish and spry.
She tells him each day just how lucky she is,
To be in a presence as charming as his.
With all said and done, I am one lucky man,
And I have been since this family’s story began.
To be one part of four that makes up a team,
Who’s joy is exactly as big as it seems!
So, there you have it – Phil vs. the machines. Can you tell the difference? Will AI take over my creative sensibilities and blur the lines of creative rights? Shall I toss in the towel on the tradition of my weekly writing habits? Nah. While I am impressed at what these technologies can do, they, nor any human, can truly feel what it is to be me. Words are one thing, but everything that sits behind them is unique to who I am and what they mean. Giving my thoughts over to an algorithm may seem convenient but it is in no way genuine. Besides, I have too much fun coming up with these entries each week to give it all over to some computer. You’re stuck with me, world, for better for for worse, though I’ll leave you these words to consider.
V1 or V2, they’re alike in some ways,
Yet different enough in the ethics they raise.
In a world where words come from a machine,
They can’t match the wit of the one, true, Phil Bean.