Hey Robot, Make Me a Sexy Praying Mantis Wearing an Eye Patch
one writer's thoughts on AI 🤖
We make sense of our lives through stories
~ Samantha Power, The Education of an Idealist
I’m coming at you full of health, vitality, and a little extra juice after an absolutely amazing soul session with my soul sis-star and embodiment coach, cat h bradley. Even though I do a ton of energetic work on my own, it can’t replace the support, clarity, and healing gained from this session. If you’re feeling low in any of these areas, click the link above to learn more about cat and what she does!
Shifting gears, I played with OpenAI for the first time last week. Here are my thoughts…
AI Tools: Friend, or Foe?
Some of my best ideas come to me in the quiet darkness of night, when my mind is transitioning between sleep and consciousness. When this happens, I write that shit down.
Like many other writers and artists, I always have a notebook and some type of writing instrument within arm’s reach for easy capture of fleeting ideas. (Except in the shower, when I can shout at Siri to record a note for me.)
It’s not uncommon for me to roll over in bed, grab the nearest pen, highlighter, or whatever, and scribble something down in the middle of the night. It’s also not uncommon for me to completely forget that I did this, even when I discover my bedside notes in the morning.
For many years, I kept a blog called irunintotrees, where my tagline was, “freelance writer. trail runner. relentless savage.” That’s because one day I woke to find the words “relentless savage” scrawled across an otherwise blank notebook page on my bedside table. I looked at the phrase and thought, “hey, I kinda like that.” I still have no clue where it came from.
As such, I wasn’t exactly shocked to see the words, “sexy praying mantis wearing an eye patch,” in purple ink when I woke up one morning a few weeks ago. This time, I remembered writing it down, and the intention I had for it. A brilliant vision of a cartoony, yet sexy(?), praying mantis with a black eye patch over one eye, lounging in a giant purple lily had come to my mind, and I wanted to recreate it with AI tools.
I let this idea simmer for a while and finally got around to experimenting with DALL-E 2 and ChatGPT last week. It was so much fun!
But not everyone thinks so.
Which Side Are You On?
I subscribe to many podcasts, blogs, and newsletters of writers and creative entrepreneurs. Within this group, it seems like everyone’s stance on AI tools like ChatGPT falls into two categories:
a) enthusiastically embracing it and exploring its potential
b) feeling threatened by it and criticizing any artist who supports it
And you thought politics were divisive…
Here’s how I feel:
AI is not a threat to my job or my creativity, but a tool that will support me as a writer and creative entrepreneur.
The ideas, images, and phrases that appear in my mind cannot be replaced by software, and machines are not yet capable of the heartfelt storytelling that only arises from living the human experience—being “in the shit,” if you will.
For example, the sexy praying mantis wearing an eye patch and emerging from a large purple lily that appeared so quickly in my mind never appeared on DALL-E, despite dozens of iterations with slightly different prompts.
Perhaps one sticking point is that AI tools reject words like “sexy,” and I’m sure a bunch of others. Apparently, the topic of cannabis is fair game.
Let’s Focus on What AI CAN DO
After several minutes, I realized I’d be better off using Canva to create the mantis image as I wanted her to appear rather than waiting for the software to get it right.
More importantly, DALL-E generated a lot of images I hadn’t thought of on my own. It was like bouncing ideas off a friend who was able to respond and create with superhuman speed. I played around with it for a while, and in the process, got two new images for action potential!
Here’s the new site logo:
And my new profile avatar:
In case you don’t follow me on Instagram or Marco Polo, my hair is, in fact, purple.
Even though this was my first time working with OpenAI (I’m sooooo excited to try Whisper, next!) I use other AI tools in my day-to-day writing tasks.
Grammarly is my constant writing companion, and I use Surfer for search engine optimization (SEO).
One of the reasons I know robots won’t take over my job is that I’m constantly overriding or ignoring suggestions from these tools. Yes, they’re incredibly helpful, and yes, they make my work less tedious. But they can’t effectively deliver a message to the intended audience the way a human writer can.
For example, I recently accepted a lower Surfer score because I chose more relatable terms like, “gum disease” and “the health of your gums” instead of “gingival status.”
From where I sit, human brains are still in the lead.
I hope this post gave you some new resources to help grease the wheels of your own creativity! To support my work, please consider becoming a paid subscriber or buy me a coffee. Knowing that you find these posts valuable helps me keep writing!
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As always, thank you for reading.
I love you,