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a number-one best-selling author, success and book coach, and speaker on a mission to help leaders use the power of writing to uncover their unique stories so they can scale their impact.

I'm Stacy Ennis,

Hello there!

My predictions on generative AI

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I'm a number-one best-selling author, success and book coach, and speaker on a mission to help leaders use the power of writing to uncover their unique stories so they can scale their impact.

Hi, I'm Stacy

I just returned from Book Summit at Web Summit, a massive conference in Lisbon where 70,000 nerds like me gathered to discuss tech, AI, the future of humanity . . . and yes, books.

As I sat through four days of discussions on AI and AGI—artificial general intelligence—one thing became clear to me: technology is not inherently good or bad. Yes, we can do both good and bad things with the technology. But technology, for all its sparkly potential, cannot replace human creativity.

Then there’s generative AI, an area of great fear in the writing and publishing world. This technology generates content, including writing and design. One panelist made the point that generative AI is great at finding the mean—to reaching the middle-ground summary of its broad range of input.

But generative AI cannot think. It does not have the human desire for excellence. It doesn’t have an internal drive for greatness. It cannot have an epiphany from a conversation or a moment at a bus stop that sparks an idea or an aha from reading a great article. It cannot put its heart and soul into its work. It cannot shed tears while writing or feel pain or elation or any of the things that make great writing great. And it cannot create new ideas, because generative AI is only the summation of existing ideas.

Most of us have had the experience of reading a social post, email, or article that is clearly AI generated. I don’t know about you, but when that happens, I feel frustrated. Like I’ve just engaged in an inauthentic interaction.

On the other hand, we’ve all read an article or book, or watched a reel or movie, that moved us deeply. That made us feel connected to ourselves, to the author, to the emotions within us.

Will AI replace writers?

Cogito, ergo sum. I think, therefore I am,” feels truer than ever right now. Our complex thinking—our creativity—is part of what makes us human.

Do I think AI will replace rote writing? It already is. But I also expect to see new technology that will verify human work and a collective push for real content from real people.

Do I think AI will replace authors? No way. I think it can replace formulaic books. But it will never—and I can say never with confidence—replace the work of great writers. It will not replace the Anthony Doerrs or the Alice Walkers, because we need the human brain to create masterpieces.

The trouble with replacing rote writing is that it’s the development pathway to great writing. I got my start as an intern at an alumni magazine and moved into a regional publication, then a national one, where I was eventually promoted to executive editor. I then ghostwrote for a Nobel Prize winner for four years, edited dozens of books, and started writing more books. I would never have reached where I am today without those early rote assignments that helped me develop my skill set.

So will AI take over the world? I think there will be a surge forward, then a push back. I think great work will be more prized and that true artists will be even more highly valued. I hope—dear heavens, I hope—that books will continue to further humanity.

Comments +

  1. Carolyn Bond says:

    Thanks, Stacy, for diving into that high-tech-y space, thinking deeply about what you experienced there, and then sharing it. Your assessment of the artificial intelligence / authentic intelligence landscape makes good sense to me.

  2. This is so true.
    AI can’t replace true and great writers.
    My opinion is that AI is a tool to make some things easier for writers.

  3. This is the future I also see for generative AI. Unfortunately, I also think there is a future few, if any, can see or predict with AI overall. Generative AI and other AI will evolve in unpredictable ways, just by the nature of how they are built.

    • Stacy Ennis says:

      That’s a fair point, Marlon. That said, I have been trying hard to be on the forefront of knowledge, rather than being surprised by the changes AI brings. I hope the future is one of hope and creativity.

  4. I watched a webinar yesterday by an editor offering a class for editors interested in learning about chatGBT. I know editors today are worried that AI will replace us. The editor yesterday focused on how it can help. She said, “Think of it as gett getting two editors in one.” I like that idea and want to learn as much as I can to make AI a positive in my business.
    Thanks for an interesting post.

    • Stacy Ennis says:

      Thanks for this thoughtful comment, Cassie! I agree that fear is not a strategy—we need to understand how to use it to our advantage, without crossing ethical lines.

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