Is Thinking Extinct?

Okay, so I’ve been studying up a storm, in order to become an Internet entrepreneur. You’d be amazed just how much stuff there is out there to learn. And how very much of it is free. I have a whole folder of free or almost free ebooks that I’ve downloaded and I’m not even close to being all the way through them.

But…something landed in my inbox that scared the bageebers out of me. There is this blogger guru dude, whose email list I got onto and he’s sent me some really cool things. So cool in fact, I might actually be able to build my own website after all. And i was really grooving on getting his emails because he always sends cool links to free stuff and tips and on and on. But….what he sent yesterday sent me into the depths of despair. It really depressed me.

Apparently he has developed a program (for lack of a better term) that has a bot writing web copy. Cool, huh? Now you don’t have to pay those nasty ol’ expensive copywriters anymore all those bagillions of dollars because this nifty little bot will build you an article, blog post, or heck whatever you want, fully equipped with all the right and perfect searchable key words in three seconds. Yup. Three seconds. There is even a vid where you can watch someone doing it.

Up in flames went my little dream of starting my own little copywriting biz. I mean, who’s going to need me after this gets around? Soon he’ll have a sales letter writing bot and Bob Bly will be out of business too.

After I got over the shock and dismay it got me thinking though. Is the human really no longer necessary – except to create things so the human mind won’t be necessary? Have things really gotten to a point where ibots can replace writers? Thinkers. Do we just want to stop thinking? Is using our minds to solve problems just now blase’ – a thing of the past?

It would seem that things may be going in that direction. I mean, why the heck am I surprised? Generally speaking, it seems that we, as a society want to be taken care of from cradle to grave. The government are in charge of our property, our incomes, our children, our healthcare – and the more we whine about needing to be taken care of more, the more the government seems to like it. Among others.

Maybe there is no need to write any more. Maybe I should stop straining my brain and just ask the ibot if he can give me a job filing or something. I mean, how long will it be before he comes up with a blockbuster generator? A sitcome generator? A Pulitzer generator?

On the other hand – it’s stuff like this that makes me wonder if the internet as well as other places – doesn’t need me and other writers even more because of this. I’ve been to a lot of blogs and websites and that boring, prefab, keyword saturated crap that you see on so many of them makes my eyeballs bleed. I don’t feel the least bit inclined to stay at those sites, much less buy something from them.

Maybe this is really just a big phat cry for help. It’s something to think about.

What do you think?

WC

PS: I got a really interesting idea and I’m going to be emailing the writers among you to ask some questions. Developing…more later

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18 thoughts on “Is Thinking Extinct?

  1. Oops – but you are right – I think it is a cry for help. Canned text is not going to do well for long. It can’t have much personality and to give it personality I would think that would be as much work as real writing. So why not just go with real writing to begin with and not risk alienating readers/potential customers?

    You know, I’m wondering Teens if maybe we aren’t in the minority on that view here. Educational standards have gone so far afield that maybe that is the case. I have a friend who does a lot of copywriting for lawyers’ websites and they are very insistent that the copy has to be dumbed down to a 6th grade level. Sixth grade? Are you fricking kidding me?

    Not long ago, I downloaded an ebook that was supposed to give you tips on how to set up a successful copywriting business and it was a piece of crap and the advice wasn’t worth the pixels it was written in but one of the things that really floored me was they said you didn’t have to be a writer to be successful at web writing, you only had to be able to write at a ninth grade level and have decent grammar and punctuation, as well as the willingness to write really fast to succeed.

    Maybe thinking really is passe’?
    WC

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  2. Maybe there is no need to write any more.

    No, I dont think that’s the answer. I dont think that a mechanical anything can come up with ideas and wonder and thoughts and brilliant brainstorms that you can. I don’t think that a machine will take the place of a human’s thought/brain scan/whathaveyou.

    Or perhaps Im wrong. It’s happened before 🙂

    LOL Red, yup I been wrong too. 😉 I agree that machines will not come up with what the human mind would – my curiosity is whether or not, by and large that matters to those out there reading. Know what I mean?

    A

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  3. Hi WC,

    On one hand, I suspect that it’s not just copywriting, whatever that is, but they’re also using automatic script generators for movies. See my post on No Country For Old Men if you want an example.

    On the other hand, it is traditional for some fields to set low standards on their documentation in areas where it absolutely must be understandable by as many people as possible. The US Military, last I checked, has a goal for all their field manuals of an eighth grade reading level. This is quite reasonable, since we don’t want a Marine who is trying to fix his rifle having to reference a dictionary in order to understand the instructions.

    On the gripping hand, the day I’m not more creative than a computer program is the day I become a Luddite, and that will be a very bad day for civilization as we know it 😉

    the Grit

    Hey Grit, then I guess we could form a club whose motto is Ludites Unite! I heard Country for Old Men was hideous. And you’re right, movies have been very formulaic for many years. I never thought about a computer writing it though – because if that was the case then the writer’s strike wouldn’t have made any difference in our television and movie viewing. Then again, maybe the ‘writers’ were just tapping out a few commands on the computer….
    WC

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  4. The dumbing down of America over the last four decades is enough to make you cry. College entrance requirements have been lowered, high school graduation requirements have been lowered (gotta get x-percent of those students out the door to keep that funding), kids have sound bite mentalities and attention spans to match. So-called journalists (with so-called educations) brutalize the language on a daily basis while viewers absorb and perpetuate the bastardization. Proofreaders and copy editors got replaced by secretaries as word processing became more adept at spellchecking and grammar checking, and no one seemed to notice or care about the lower quality result (after all, it was so much cheaper). As word processing software incorporated multiple fonts and crude page layout, publication designers became passe, again because no one appreciated the drop in quality.

    All that fancy software is just a tool, an automaton, with no sense of beauty, creativity, nuance, and all the other subtle qualities that the human mind can impart. It is, however, cheaper and faster, and for too many people today, that has become the standard.

    Rage, rage against the dying of the light!

    You go 30!! You officially have your own soapbox here at my blog. Feel free to use it any ol’ time you want. 🙂
    WC

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  5. There will always be the need for writers, don’t despair!
    Because there are those of us that desire the human touch on things.

    i felt this way, at first, when e-books were developed. i thought people would stop buying books but, i came to realize that others, like me, not only want to “read a book” but enjoy what goes along with reading a book- a comfy sweater, a cup of coffee, your favorite spot on the couch, the weight of the book in your hands, the smell of its pages, stacking them in a shelf and so on.

    Just like that, there will always be those of us that seek authenticity in what we read. So you better keep striving, Chica! Don’t let the ibot getchu down!

    ~c

    Chica,
    I wrote a little poem for this bot, which I forgot to post:

    And what my
    sputtering eyes
    did see?
    An Ibot
    taking my work
    from me

    You know, on the fiction front, I really don’t worry about it too much. Because, I think you’re right. People who love to read will always want books in their hands. Ebooks are great for the how-to’s though, I think. Since I want the info but don’t want all of those books cluttering my bookcase. It’s the other kind of writing – the writing that most writers supplement their incomes with that seems to be threatened. I take comfort in the fact that somehow, it will be yet another storm we will ride out. Hope so.
    A

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  6. Creativity is too fickle for a machine to have a go at… no matter how good the programme might be. We are what we are because we think…

    I don’t know Paul…the governator is living among us and running the state of California. 😉
    WC

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  7. We have seen many changes over the years. I for one feel much like the commenter above:
    “others, like me, not only want to “read a book” but enjoy what goes along with reading a book- a comfy sweater, a cup of coffee, your favorite spot on the couch, the weight of the book in your hands, the smell of its pages, stacking them in a shelf and so on.”

    As far as some things,I despise the phone systems. I want a real live person.

    When I was in school about a 100 years ago, I remember that it was said you had to write on a 6th grade level for a book to be really enjoyed so that the masses would read it and buy it. Don’t know anymore but I suspect it is not too far off with the ‘dumbing down’ that has been mentioned.

    Personally while I read a lot of news on the net, when I want a good book. It is too tiring for my ole eyes on line. I much prefer what I stated above. I love books real books. At this time,I don’t much care for the audio books either. 🙂

    Yes technology has evolved to such a degree that we seem no longer useful,but I don’t really believe that. I would not give up. You have way too much talent and that to me is a God Given gift. There will always be a new idea or thought. So keep thinking girl.

    Hugs

    Hey Ange,
    You know, I do like the audio books for long drives. When I had a 45 minute commute to work, I would borrow audio books from the library and ‘read’ on my way to work. It was great. But I’d much rather be sitting in my big leather chair with a book in my hand and my iced tea on the side table. Nothing like it.
    WC

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  8. I actually think that the more “push” there is for this type of market, the less we, the people will “go for it” and eventually all things will even out and come back to where they always were “with the people”. Because as much as we want “intant” and “generated” what we want more than anything is human contact. We want to know someone “real” is out there fighting this battle we call “life” right along side of us, not some robot.

    I like the way you think, girlie. 😉
    WC

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  9. Those damned copybots steal my shit all the time. If we weren’t around wtf would they steal.

    LOL – that’s a really good point. What would they steal? McDonald’s ad copy? 😉
    WC

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  10. lol @ Evyl (so nice he’s back)
    As far as bots writing and someday taking over the literary world?
    Raymond Carver, Ray Bradbury, Jonathan Carroll, Stephen King . . . and the list goes on ad nauseum.
    Okay?

    ~Hal9000

    Just call me, Dave. 😆
    WC

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  11. I worry about the dumbing down thing too, but then I read a blog like yours (and the comments), and I’m not so worried anymore.

    Also, what ~m said.

    Aw thanks, Queenie. Back atcha. 😉
    WC

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  12. I don’t think we should give up yet. We got something that no program has. Feelings and emotion…you just can’t had that over to a machine.

    I agree that we can’t get that out of a machine – but I guess my abhorence is that someone would think that that isn’t a necessary part of writing. Interestingly enough, I had a conversation with someone yesterday, who told me there are actually several programs out there that do this. He also went on to say that they write the most hideous copy and it wasn’t anything to worry about.

    WC

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  13. (((SIGH))) . . . My cousin makes her living working soley at home on the computer. She has struggled in many different ways…. I don’t know if I could ever do it full time. To me it seems a bit scary! It also seems that too many people are jumping to the internet to make money… I don’t see how people make tons of money in the cyber world…. A few years ago it may have been easier, now it seems that everyone has floaded in and the jobs & sites are diluted….

    Good luck with your search!!! Though I don’t personally know too much about this form of career, I am sure if you are determined you will be guided. 🙂

    Have a great weekend WC!!!

    Lucid! How the heck are you? 🙂

    I know what you mean – it seems that all roads lead to the internet. Yet, I have to say, the ability to telecommute all because of this cool invention does delight me. While there is an enormous amount of crap out there – there is also an enormous amount of intelligent, interesting and lively people out there – to whom I can connect and would otherwise never have had the opportunity to do so. So, depsite all its flaws and drawbacks, I still have to say, God bless the Internet. 😉
    WC

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  14. Hope I didn’t sound like I was dissing technology before. What it does now, and its potential, is exciting beyond words. Computers have made writing and publishing so much easier. I remember telling my boss, after I first saw a black-on-white Pagemaker page displayed on a Mac, that it was the “ultimate toy” for someone like me. I still feel that way. It’s a shame that so many people today seem to think the tool — the computer — is the creator. (It’s fun hanging around with people who know that ain’t so!)

    Hey 30,
    I didn’t think you were dissing technology at all. I agree, it has made writing and publishing unbelievably easy and accessible. But, it has also helped to create a lot of slackers in the world who think that the machines are the smart ones. Sad. Ditto on finding others who know they are smarter than the machine. Thinkers Unite! 😆
    WC

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  15. Wow. That’s a lot to digest. When I wrote for the newspaper, I got that a lot too… writing on a sixth grade level. It offended me to be honest with you. It does sometimes feel that everything has been said (because it has) and everything that you could possibly think of writing about has been written (because it has). However, I think what we have to hold on to as writers is that each of us is unique in our own right. You and I may think of the same idea but there is no way that we could tell a story or write something in the same exact way. What we bring to the table is our individuality, our own life experiences. That is what makes a story interesting and computers, robots, etc. no matter how capable they are of performing human tasks, they will never have the ability to think, or feel, and react to life in the same way that we writers do. We are a different breed, we really are, and I think we spend most of our lives wandering around lost until we find other writers. It is then and only then that we realize that we belong to something special, that we are a part of something special. It’s that idea that you have to hold on to because trust me Annie, you’re something special. And you shouldn’t let anyone, especially not some ibot stand in the way of your dreams. There is no one like you. Never forget that. 🙂
    PS. I received your email tonight and I’ll work on getting it to you this week.
    kim

    Hey Kimmie!
    Wow, thanks for saying that. I don’t know if it’s true, but I’d sure like to believe that it is. I do think though, that any writer (or any artist for that matter) strives to make a difference somehow and do so by using their own voice or vision. And you’re right, no computer program will be able to do that.
    Annie

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