Write so a Robot Won’t Be Able to Replace You
Let’s outsmart those glorified toasters together!
There are lots of thoughts that keep me up at night. Sometimes, instead of sleeping, I stare at the ceiling remembering all the embarrassing things I’ve ever done. This isn’t great for my sleep hygiene, but it does help keep me humble. After all, there have been a lot of embarrassing things.
- There was the time I was watching a movie at the theater and I leaned forward in the fancy chair, then the whole chair fell on top of me.
- One time in elementary school I got so scared by someone’s description of a movie that my parents had to be called to come calm me down.
- Then there was that game of Truth or Dare in fifth grade. I’m still too traumatized to even write about that.
But the past can only terrorize you so much.
Then it’s time for the future to step in! There are lots of things to worry about in the future. I wonder if I’ll get cancer or maybe a rare disease that will take doctors five years to diagnose and by the time they figure it out, I’ll have grown antlers on the top of my head. I get scared that the people I love will die. I worry that, through a Dickensian sequence of events, I’ll end up homeless.
When one’s most marketable skills are sarcasm and a penchant for making things weird, it isn’t such a leap.
Huh, I did not expect this post to get so dark this soon.
Plus, there are the robots. Have you heard about them?
While we’ve been futzing around, writing jokes about farts and flannel, the robots have had their noses in the books, studying journalism and SEO and the best way to interpret data and explain it to humans. Robots don’t demand snacks or breaks or ping pong tables. They don’t gossip about the hr manager’s weird shirts or take photocopies of their butt cheeks and pin them up on the cork board with the words “Important Memo” scribbled over them.
Could you really blame the big bosses for preferring robots to us?
Maybe a robot isn’t capable of writing prose that competes with the great works of Shakespeare or Charlotte Brontë or Dan Brown. But it could certainly crank something out that competes with… well… me, for instance.
Plus robots suffer from none of the existential despair that plagues humans. It doesn’t arrive in the middle of an important assignment, interrupting their flow and sending them to the kitchen for comfort cookies.
Well, we can’t take this lying down. Sure, robots are probably better and cheaper than us, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to let them win. Because we are human beings and if there’s anything human beings are good at, it’s stubbornly sabotaging the greater good to serve our own interests.
Say it with me, my writing siblings! We will overcome these bot brains and reclaim our rightful place as content creators writing five pages on the pros and cons of cyclical vacuuming systems! Ha ha!
Our objective should be to create a world the robots don’t know how to navigate. Robots love things that are quantifiable, repeatable patterns and events that can be understood and explained.
Well, we can certainly pull that rug out from beneath their metallic little feet!
Maybe a robot can type up a piece about a standard-issue bank robbery without breaking a sweat.
But what if the bank robbery was performed by people in large chicken suits? What if they’re playing ‘The Times They Are A Changin” by musician and songwriter Bob Dylan while they empty the safes? What if the Japanese flag is taped to their chicken beaks and they give sparklers to small children as they flee the scene?
Sure a robot can explain exactly what happened, but there’s no way they’re going to make sense of it.
Us human writers certainly can!
Because we’re comfortable spinning bullshit out of chaos. We’ve had lots of practice. Not only will we write fifty think pieces about the robbery, connecting it to all kinds of things like boomer resentment and the rising cost of bananas, but we’ll also pitch a show to Netflix based on the theoretical life of one of the chickens. We will inspire angry tweet hoards and millions of clicks.
And the people will love it.
Take that, robots!
This plan is perfect and I anticipate nothing will go wrong. I’m excited to save the jobs of millions of writers. Sorry robots. You’re going to have to find some other occupation to pursue, maybe something where the humans aren’t quite so quick and smart. Baking? Politics?
In the meantime, those of us who are writers will keep doing what we do best, typing out thousands and thousands of words, while stuffing our faces with cookies.
Do any of you happen to have a chicken suit lying around?