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Artificial intelligence will never replace you
“Read, every day, something no one else is reading. Think, every day, something no one else is thinking. Do, every day, something no one else would be silly enough to do. It is bad for the mind to be always part of unanimity.” ― Christopher Morley
We’re going on an exploration of authenticity that spans Shakespeare to artificial intelligence, from Robin Williams to Dame Judi Dench, and includes poetry and video. So brush up your Shakespeare and let’s get to it.
There’s no question that AI is a force to be reckoned with and understood. With the White House’s Executive Order on AI last week to the OpenAI developer conference this week, it’s popping up everywhere.
No matter your industry, artificial intelligence will have some impact on it.
Not necessarily in the job-stealing, dystopic way that’s so often portrayed, but certainly through various methods of making processes more efficient. And that includes creating content.
The problem I have with AI-generated content is the relative lack of emotion or human voice. Oh sure, it does fine with mimicking content that’s already out there (because that’s what was fed into it).
But if you want AI to generate a piece of content that sounds just like you, the output isn’t quite there. Yet.
As Mister Rogers used to remind us, “there’s no one else quite like you.” And that matters when you’re showing up to customers, employees, shareholders or anyone else for whom you’re writing.
The late Robin Williams was, to put it mildly, an original. There was no one else quite like him. His manic rantings that might veer in seven different directions in the span of a minute kept everyone around him on edge and in stitches.
Case in point: Williams had only one line to deliver in a commercial from 1980:
“Howard Storm is now directing commercials. If he can work with me, he can work with you.”
Instead, he improvised for over 13 minutes, driving the director crazy. Here are some outtakes:
Via artneversleeps on Instagram
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In a slightly different way, William Shakespeare’s work constantly surprised people. His storylines were relatable, his writing paved the way for many expressions in the English language, and his poetry knew how to touch every depth of human emotion.
His “Sonnet 29” is the perfect example: it begins with isolation, envy, and despair, but by the 9th line, the mood changes to one of love, joy, and happiness, overcoming the envy for kings and their riches.
When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,
Desiring this man’s art and that man’s scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
(Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth) sings hymns at heaven’s gate;
For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.
It doesn’t get much more Shakespearean than that.
But when it comes to AI, I was curious: could we get ChatGPT to take Shakespeare’s sentiments and create an output similar to another author who might be more familiar — even more accessible — to us?
What if we wanted Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 29” in the style of Ernest Hemingway?
In the dumps with no luck or friends, I cry alone.
I cuss my fate and beg the heavens, though they don’t hear.
Wishing for others’ lives and skills, never my own.
Yearning for what they have, while I’m drowning in fear.
But sometimes, I remember you, and everything shifts.
Like a morning lark breaking free from the gloomy ground.
My heart sings at the gates of heaven, and my spirits lift.
Your sweet love’s memory turns my world around.
I no longer envy kings and their lofty reigns.
Your love, my treasure, makes me forget those things.
Not exactly a sonnet and not exactly poetry, it does capture Hemingway’s blunt and staccato style. We get a sense of Hemingway, at least.
There’s no one who has your unique style, mannerisms, quirks, and tone.
Don’t think for a moment that replacing it with a just a sense of you is acceptable.
It may be efficient, but it’s not sufficient.
And because I promised you Dame Judi Dench, Dame Judi Dench you shall have. Last week on The Graham Norton Show, the host put her on the spot and asked her to recite some Shakespeare (“like having a Shakespeare jukebox”).
Her impromptu recitation of “Sonnet 29” is one for the ages:
Thanks, and I’ll see you on the internet.
P.S. Speaking of being yourself, you might want to check out the latest episode of Timeless Leadership: