Why Read and Write if AI can do it for you?

Nathan A. Cunningham
3 min readJul 8, 2023
Photo by Andrea De Santis on Unsplash

In the age of generative AI where you can install a Chrome plug-in that automatically summarizes results of google searches or articles you’re reading, you might ask why bother writing anything?

Sidebar: Perhaps this question is most critically addressed to students. And did you know that ChatGPT usage data has dropped significantly since summer vacation started? Are kids just getting help from it for homework? Or are they outsourcing their homework? What will be the impact on the education of “Generation AI”?

I was considering writing about a practice I tried some years ago, that of writing down 10 ideas per day. I believe reestablishing it will help in my goal of regularly writing and publishing valuable content here. Stay tuned — I’ll eventually share my thoughts on that practice.

So I searched “10 ideas a day” to find an article I once read on this (the excellent article linked above) and Merlin a ChatGPT extension that can “can Summarize or Chat with any WEBSITE” gave me this to the right of the search results:

Coming up with 10 ideas a day can be a great way to exercise your creativity and problem-solving skills. The more ideas you generate, the more likely you are to stumble upon a truly innovative or unique concept. Additionally, generating ideas on a regular basis can help to improve your brainstorming skills and make you more adept at thinking outside the box.

Here are a few benefits of coming up with 10 ideas a day:

Expanded thinking: Consistently brainstorming ideas helps to expand your thinking and open your mind to new possibilities.

Problem-solving: Regular idea generation can help you become better at finding solutions to problems, as you exercise your problem-solving skills.

Innovation: By consistently generating ideas, you increase the chances of coming up with truly innovative concepts that can lead to new opportunities.

Practice: Generating ideas on a regular basis helps to improve your brainstorming skills, making you more effective in producing creative solutions.

Flexibility: Coming up with 10 ….

(Yes it just ended there, but with a prompt “Lets Chat” — more on that later … also when I did the same search again later to provide the screenshot below, Merlin actually came up with a new summary.)

Why would someone read what I write if they could simply plug in the AI and read what it’s writing.

Or why not just use the AI to write for you — part from the ethical and moral implications? How can we even tell anymore who’s writing is generated by AI vs. original to them? Is anything original to us given that we have to be educated and continue to read and learn to produce anything?

For me it comes back to why I write.

Writing for me is primarly about the importance of sharpening the saw (i.e. habit 7 in a famous book by Steven Covey). The impact of the result is secondary. It’s the practice more than who reads the output. I have an intrinsic motivation. To maintain and improve my cognitive capabilities. This is very similar to why I exercise — for my own well being primarily. To maintain and improve my physical capability as long as possible. To improve my quality of life.

Don’t get me wrong, I want to put out something that is valuable. And who can ultimately tell the value of something except the consumer.

So if this unit of writing is garbage, ignore it. Or better, let me know and how it could be better, so I can get better, esp. if you’d find value in helping out another person.

If it has value, great! I’ve accomplished my secondary aim. Feel free to let me know, but I also don’t really care that much because my primary aim has been served by getting my butt in this chair, putting my fingers on these keys and manifesting some thoughts into words on this medium (pun intended) and getting the sense of accomplishment that is vital to my well being.

--

--