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Science fiction writer Ted Chiang has a fantastic article in The New Yorker this week about ChatGPT and how it can exist in a world of both “chat bots” and creative writers.
“What led to problems was the fact that the photocopier was producing numbers that were readable but incorrect; it made the copies seem accurate when they weren’t.”
A few disparate thoughts (from Jonathan) come to mind after sitting on this one for a day:
I’m not a creative writer. I’m not even a good writer (these emails are fantastic evidence of this, and big thanks to Elle for fixing them with me). But Ted’s passage at the end really stuck with me:
“Your first draft isn’t an unoriginal idea expressed clearly; it’s an original idea expressed poorly, and it is accompanied by your amorphous dissatisfaction, your awareness of the distance between what it says and what you want it to say.”
I feel this. When I write poorly, I’m frustrated because I’ve read enough fantastic writing to know when my writing is poor, and I want to do better. But I know I can edit! The idea is mine, and I know with time and effort I can improve its expression.
I provided the content of Ted Chiang’s piece and asked for a summary, and they definitely didn’t get caught up on any of this. Instead, they said: