Considering blogging in an AI saturated world
Is there any point in writing when AI can generate text so quickly?
Planted November 15, 2023
Last tended November 17, 2023
I’ve been playing around with ChatGPT since we first got access to the GPT models. I use it to critique my thinking, help me clarify my thoughts and solve problems in the code editor and beyond.
You’ve probably played with it as well. More and more, it feels less like playing. It feels useful and as a solo business owner, it’s nice having a colleague around.
There are tools and plugins on every market place that help bring AI directly to the platforms we use. There’s a WordPress plugin that will take a topic and generate as many posts as you like.
There’s no doubt that we are seeing more and more AI generated content. If there’s something we want to know, we can go to our AI of choice and ask it to generate a blog post on the topic. Or if we use our search engines, more and more of the results are responses from AI.
Does that mean there is no point in my writing posts on this blog? What’s the point of us writing ourselves as we move forward?
I feel like I’m probably in a shrinking minority but I love my RSS reader. With it, I can subscribe directly to my favourite writers and get new posts as soon as they are available.
When I come across a post I find interesting, challenging or entertaining outside of my reader - I get excited! I’ll dive into the author’s back catalogue and explore their site. I’ll see if there is more of their writing and thinking that I find interesting. Once I’ve got to know them, I’ll see if they have a feed and add it to my RSS reader. I’ve got another voice I can listen to and think along with.
It’s nice if we feel like we were learning about a person through their blog. Finding out what drives them and makes them tick. We could probably train an AI to create posts like this but I want to connect with the human and not the computer.
A blog is a space to have a long and protracted conversation with people. My writing and thinking isn’t always about coding, learning and teaching. These are things I’m passionate about, so it makes sense they’ll be prominent here. I’m also a parent, a husband, a board gamer, a roleplayer, a hardware hacker and lots of other things.
As we write, we clarify our thinking. That is helpful for the writer (mostly) but the best writing invites the reader along on that journey. We can be brought along to see the battles and the scars, the triumphs and the failures, shining light on the three dimensional human who exists in meat space.
While we can use machine learning to generate posts to our hearts content, the writing of others can lead thinking in directions we didn’t expect. We can be surprised by other humans, be shown connections that we didn’t expect and grow in unique ways.
If you read a lot from the same author, you feel like you know them. They become another voice in your head. Something happens and you ask, “I wonder what they’d notice or say about this situation?” (And again, with enough of their writing you could train an AI to have a pretty good guess!)
A blog post is a very long and complex search query to find fascinating people and make them route interesting stuff to your inbox
Henrik writes well about the social dynamics of blogging. How, in putting something out into the world, we attract like minded people (or the opposite - people who want to disagree with us!). By writing, we are opening up our inboxes and inviting responses.
My writing is mostly technical. As I look back on some of it now, it feels pretty dry. I want to help people solve the problems they landed on this blog for. Whether that’s parsing arguments in Node or working with databases in Next. But I also want to offer them something more than a prompt response.
I think I’ll try to inject more of me into future posts but I’m also keen not to be like a food recipe site. I want to know the recipe, not how you inherited it from your great grandmother. There is probably a middle ground.
I’m going to keep writing. It helps me to think. It helps me attract like minded people and build relationships. I know I’m not just shouting into the void (most of the time).
I’m going to keep reading others blogs, through my RSS reader and on the individual sites. I want to encounter these other humans and witness their thinking growing and changing, even as it grows and changes mine.
I think AI is great but I like hanging out with humans more.
Do you have a blog I should be following? Let me know!