Why AI writing is a stupid idea 🙁

(This is an English assignment that I’m proud of enough to publish. I put a lot of authenticity in it that differentiates it from other unnotable works written explicitly for a grade.)

A year ago, my brother told me proudly that he used AI to improve an essay for a literature college class. He dumped his thoughts into ChatGPT and asked it to “make it sound better”. In only a second, voila! He had a perfectly professional paragraph for his essay. 

When I heard this, I was mortified, especially since he thought there was no issue with this. It was still his ideas explained in the paper. It was no different than using Grammarly, according to him. Sure it was hypocritical of me to judge when I write notes on my arms for Spanish tests; however, as a writer, it felt wrong to replace writing skills with a robot just to pass a class. The issues of this span far past academic dishonesty because this will surely spread beyond a few lazy college students. AI can never effectively surpass the benefits of human literacy because it limits both social connection and the creative mind.

As AI surfaced to the forefront of American consciousness, we immediately began to discuss and test it to its fullest potential. This is an exciting time for innovation. Even so, it’s no reason to jump to exploring avenues willy-nilly. It’s already been bad enough with fabricated audios and images, making us now start to doubt everything we see and hear. Now it’s being used to assist with— and often even to replace —classwork. Of course, we can’t just dismiss this outright just because it’s AI. We have to look at the facts and weigh if this could be a beneficial innovation or a dangerous slippery slope.

Many high school students find themself asking what the point of writing is, beyond passing classes. You won’t need to write eight pages on the origins of country music past your mid-twenties, so why not make things quicker with artificial intelligence? Yet, we use writing more than we know.

Writing is essential to social communication. To earn a job, contact coworkers, and overall take any sort of professional action, one must learn how to transfer their thoughts onto paper or digital and edit it before sending it out into the world. Sure, you could easily ask a program to write up an email for you, but in the end, it will be empty of any sort of human complexity or deeper understanding.

My father, Alberto Diaz, manages a company that resells software and has been watching AI for years. Though he is impressed, he admits it’s scary, especially in the hands of the general public. He expresses that thoughtful writing is an important life skill and goes on to explain:

“I was talking to a bank representative, two days ago, and you can tell that the person just didn’t have the skills to even speak with the kind of customer service that eases the customer. And that’s in speaking. In writing, it takes additional care. Write and rewrite and reread and ensure you’re conveying the right information. The number of times that I send an email to someone, asking for information, and the answer that I get is not what I asked, not what I needed, and moreover didn’t anticipate follow-up questions. You could tell that either their skill level was down or they just wanted to get it off their plate.”

Though he admits the use of AI in the workplace can indeed boost efficiency, overuse can strip the humanity from communication and customer service. These drawbacks stretch even to mature personal relationships, especially with such a reliance we have on long-distance communication.

 Writing is not merely for writers. Writing allows us to connect to others in a way that simple conversation cannot. A well-worded letter, text, speech, or story connects us both to the concepts presented and to the writer themself. It builds friendships, establishes respect, mends strained connections, and unlocks new opportunities. Using AI for writing may well eradicate a key form of communication. And in the end, it disables the human race as a whole. This is already seen with handwriting and cursive now that we type everything, but eliminating the very craft of literacy itself will certainly have disastrous consequences.

Not only does relying on AI for writing limit connections to each other but also our connection to ourselves. Putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) allows us to do more than fabricate some words. It allows us to sort through our thought processes to create a polished and well-articulated idea or opinion. It forces us to pause our brains from our day-to-day rambles and make some sense.

Frank Bruni explains it best in his recent New York Times article: “Writing is thinking, but it’s thinking slowed down — stilled — to a point where dimensions and nuances otherwise invisible to you appear.”

There’s no need to use AI to make something “sound better” when it’s the job of a well-practiced mind to do that itself. It doesn’t, as Ms. Berrong says, “need to be the next American novel”, but it should come out of your head, full of authenticity and grit. Without writing, will we even be able to exercise critical thinking and develop our own thought-out opinions? Or will we have AI to help us with that too? You don’t have to enjoy writing, but regularly practicing it exercises your brain and provides you with important cognitive skills that you won’t get from shooting a quick text.  And if we don’t learn those skills, how will we ever learn to enjoy it?

I love writing to death. Even though it’s difficult and it twists my brain in knots and even though I’ve met people far better at it than me, I love to write. There’s a delightful Eureka moment when a phrase clicks in my brain and it all comes together like a symphony. In turn, I love to read what my peers write. I find it truly depressing to imagine a mind-numbing world filled with kids who will never know the simultaneous joy and frustration of writing.

Why do we insist on erasing this vibrant and passionate medium for the sake of revenue and productivity? 

I cannot stress enough the significance of writing to the human race. It documents, it connects, it improves, it inspires. It is part of our very language and society, and to consider replacing it with a thinking computer is completely absurd. Sure it has its benefits. AI can allow us to get tedious tasks done faster and potentially kickstart certain industries that don’t necessarily rely on human literary creation. Nevertheless, I think we should rethink letting these programs write our essays. It really isn’t worth it in the long run.

[4 pages]


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