I am still a human

Alex Feinman
2 min readMar 18, 2023

For many years I have used a tagline similar to the current one, which includes the stipulation: “All posts made with 100% recycled electrons, sustainably crafted by artisanal artisans.”

It was meant to be a gentle jab at frou-frou food shops, of the type I often frequent when writing these posts.

But in these days of generative AI, which threatens to overwhelm our attention with content that *seems* interesting but is ultimately as contentful as the grinding noise from an aging microwave, it’s necessary to be specific.

The tools I use to write involve relatively “dumb” things like spell checkers and (when writing on a phone) predictive keyboards. I understand the allure of using generative text-slingers, and fully expect them to become normalized over the next decade.

But when you blindly use the regurgitated, reconstituted blur of whatever GPT and its brethren were trained on, the point of art is lost.

Art is communication and connection. This is because we are humans, and long for connection and communication, and we have refined our techniques for such over thousands of years.

So if generative techniques help folks connect and communicate — excellent. I will continue not to use them much, because I am stubborn, but also because I am most interested in the things that noone has thought before, the phrase someone just invented but turns out to be the thing we all knew needed a word, the insight that helps me connect with you all.

And we’re not there yet. Right now it’s all Madlibs pablum and regurgitated recombination of the cheapest data set the trainers could find. There’s no *there* there, to quote Gertrude Stein.

So yes. This is 100% hand-crafted. How about you? Are you human?

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Alex Feinman

Obligate infovore. All posts made with 100% recycled electrons, sustainably crafted by artisanal artisans. He/him/his.