Who Wrote This? How AI and the Lure of Efficiency Threaten Human Writing

Book by Naomi S. Baron: “Would you read this book if a computer wrote it? Would you even know? And why would it matter?

Today’s eerily impressive artificial intelligence writing tools present us with a crucial challenge: As writers, do we unthinkingly adopt AI’s time-saving advantages or do we stop to weigh what we gain and lose when heeding its siren call? To understand how AI is redefining what it means to write and think, linguist and educator Naomi S. Baron leads us on a journey connecting the dots between human literacy and today’s technology. From nineteenth-century lessons in composition, to mathematician Alan Turing’s work creating a machine for deciphering war-time messages, to contemporary engines like ChatGPT, Baron gives readers a spirited overview of the emergence of both literacy and AI, and a glimpse of their possible future. As the technology becomes increasingly sophisticated and fluent, it’s tempting to take the easy way out and let AI do the work for us. Baron cautions that such efficiency isn’t always in our interest. As AI plies us with suggestions or full-blown text, we risk losing not just our technical skills but the power of writing as a springboard for personal reflection and unique expression.

Funny, informed, and conversational, Who Wrote This? urges us as individuals and as communities to make conscious choices about the extent to which we collaborate with AI. The technology is here to stay. Baron shows us how to work with AI and how to spot where it risks diminishing the valuable cognitive and social benefits of being literate…(More)”.

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