The Maddening Allure of AI

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Opinions may vary in the general population, but among us writers here at the Muffin, I think we agree on one point: using AI makes AI more proficient. Which begs the question, “How long will it be before we can’t tell the difference between AI-generated content and human-generated content?”

Honestly, the whole idea of AI producing creative works makes me shudder, so I sure don’t want to do anything that speeds up the AI takeover. When I read a novel or hear a song, I want to know that it’s straight from the heart and mind and voice of an actual breathing person. 

But feeding the AI beast is only part of the reason I’m against using it. There’s another side to this issue which I only noticed in the last few weeks whilst trying to build a website. 

That’s right, weeks. I won’t bore you with all the details—the domain transfer, the nameservers pointing to the host, the DNS or HTMMP or whatever the acronyms bandied about in tutorials like we’re all computer tech graduates. The point is, I’ve spent way more hours than my brain is accustomed to in IT-related mode, just to get everything prepped to start on the website-building. 

Friends, the little gray cells are fried. 

That’s why, when I finally saw the “You’re ready to go!” screen, I nearly cried. It was time to build a website! And my thoughtful hosting plan offered me choices: 

Choice A: Create or Migrate a website 

Choice B (in larger, bolder letters!): EASY BUILDING WITH THE AI WEBSITE BUILDER! With the AI-powered Website Builder, you can have a fully functioning website live in minutes. Sit back, and let it do all the work for you. 

Oh, how I wanted to sit back and let AI do all the work for me! That AI devil sat on my shoulder whispering sweet nothings like, “Good for you, Cathy, you’ve done enough! You deserve a break.” Or “Do you really want to spend weeks when I can do this in mere minutes? Think of all that extra time! You can get back to writing your next book!” 

The temptation of it all! And after what I went through, I don’t judge anyone who happily pressed that Choice B. 

But I knew I’d click on Choice A and create a website. And not just because I didn’t want to help AI push me out of a job by the year 2025. And not because I’m too cheap to hire a web designer (I do like to save my money but I have no qualms about hiring people when needed). Nope, I had another reason.

Firstly, it was pride; I know I can build my own darn website. I’ve done so several times. But mostly, it was because I want to stay sharp. AI is pressing the Easy Button and though I’m not completely averse to taking Easy Street, the older I get, the less appealing that option is.

If I don’t challenge myself, whether in writing-related technology, a new car, or even experimenting with different foods, I stagnate. Tackling the new, the hard, the different, gives my brain quite the workout, and I keep growing. At least, that’s what I believe. 

So will I kick AI to the curb and build an amazing website (or a somewhat amazing website…I’m not that picky)? Or will I get sucked in by the easy allure of AI? We’ll see, y’all. I mean, the little gray cells do deserve a break. But in a week or so, watch out website. I’m coming for you!

Photo by Tara Winstead


Sue Bradford Edwards said...

I too just saw something about letting AI do the job for me. Hmm. Trying to remember where it . . . website. It was reworking a website.

My thought? The best reason to avoid it is that it will sound like all of the other AI generated web content.

Hear me out. My won recently went to a job fair. He's a mechanical engineering student but he wasn't encountering other techy types but the human resources people. Every table had a banner with a motto and they all sounded exactly alike. It was clear that they all used a similar package to generate their content and they were interchangeable and glossy but spectacularly uninformative.

You have a unique personality and produce (your writing). You need a unique website to showcase it.

And I really do need to dive back into that website I'm working on. Sigh.

Paula said...

Cathy, what a smart post. Great points.

Angela Mackintosh said...

I'm glad you're working on your website, Cathy! I've been noticing AI in everything, and a week ago, our email service provider, Constant Contact, was pushing their new service of letting AI write our emails for us. Um, no thank you! I can imagine how stale and uninspired they would be. But I have a feeling AI is going to be in everything soon, and then we'll need John Connor to help us take down Skynet. Lol. Good luck with the rest of your site, and I hope you share it here when it's ready! :)

Renee Roberson said...

First of all, I'm sorry you've been dealing with website hell. As someone who went through that recently, I empathize! But yes, I agree, about AI. Using it will make it more proficient. I think there may be a time and a place for AI-generated web content but it's not for writers, in my opinion. The main thing we have going for us is our personality and voice! The last thing we want to do is have someone fall asleep while they're reading our website because the copy sounds like every other generic website. I've noticed a lot of marketers touting the benefits of AI on LinkedIn and I just have to keep scrolling. Sounds like many of them are embracing the new features but I'll continue to hold out.

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