Why are you so scared of AI?

The word 'intelligence' chiselled into a boulder
CC image via flickr: David Bruce

You could be forgiven for thinking we currently live in an Issac Asimov-inspired world, given the recent headlines about how artificial intelligence (AI) is going to take over your job.

And, it’s true that some jobs will be replaced by new technology – but that’s nothing new. For centuries, something else has arrived and upset the existing order.

I’m not even talking about the past 50 years – do you think the invention of the spinning jenny in the 18th century was greeted warmly by those who were manually employed to spin cotton?

I work in an industry where, theoretically, I should be worried this time. The arrival of ChatGPT seems to spell the death knell for people who play with words for a living. After all, enter the prompt: “write a 500-word blog post about the threat of artificial intelligence to those working in the creative industries” and it spits out a coherent, fairly well-written piece. Continue reading “Why are you so scared of AI?”

Do you need to really ‘love’ what you do?

Kae Tempest

I recently read Kae Tempest’s short, but highly-thoughtful book On Connection. Not only are they searingly honest about their shortcomings, but they also explain how important it is to just be ‘creative’ and find a connection, at the expense of all the other trappings that may or may not come with the process.

Then I read Lauren Pope’s excellent post celebrating the last 5 years of her business. In it, she says: “work has been a joy. This time last year, I said that my business feels like a gift I’m giving myself, and I still feel the same way… I love what I do”.

Although slightly different, both these examples echo the same point – that ‘the thing you do’ should be something you enjoy, rather than a way of making shedloads of money or acquiring oodles of fame. Continue reading “Do you need to really ‘love’ what you do?”

The cowardice of the passive voice

Ex-Prime Minister, Boris JohnsonRegular readers will know that I’m a big fan of the use of language and how small changes can drastically alter the meaning or the tone of what’s being said.

In advance of Boris Johnson appearing before the Select Committee who will determine whether he misled parliament, I was struck by one particular phrase that the ex-Prime Minister used in the dossier of evidence that he presented.

In point 4 of the introduction, it says:

…I accept that the House of Commons was misled by my statements…

What’s notable about that sentence is that he uses the passive voice. Basically, Boris Johnson is admitting he told a fib/lie/untruth (whatever you want to call it), but the way he phrases it, means that he doesn’t explicitly take responsibility. Continue reading “The cowardice of the passive voice”

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