Dr. Patrick E. Crawford
Leadership Thoughts | Issue #106
Writing is a necessary ability that leads to success in life! Other essential skills are reading and mathematics. Some forecasts suggest advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI) may make writing irrelevant one day. Do you agree? When I read a blog from Farnam Street (fs) entitled "Why to Write," I felt compelled to analyze the key concepts and write about them myself. You could read the article yourself in the same amount of time it would take to read this blog (2 minutes), but then you'd miss out on my commentary.
I am one of their 30,000 subscribers. The author of fs blogs is Shane Parrish, the founder of Farnam Street and the host of The Knowledge Project Podcast. The tagline is, "Farnam Street helps you master the best of what other people have already figured out."
What about AI?
AI-based writing assistance has been used since the early 1980s, integrated into word processing programs. A Stanford University study in 2019 found the speed of AI surpasses Moore's Law. First observed in 1965, Moore's Law states that the number of transistors on a microchip will double roughly every two years while concurrently, the cost of computers will be halved. Even faster than this, however, is the rate at which artificial intelligence computation doubles: approximately every three months.
Many writing AIs are available. A few are:
According to Forbes writer Kumar Mehta in the article, Using the Most Powerful AI, Just Got Simpler GPT-3 is the most powerful AI system in the world. The popular ChatGPT is a conversational application of GPT-3.
3 Reasons to Write
I've asked myself why I should spend time writing during my encore career. I no longer have a position that requires me to spend hours composing, writing, and rewriting.
After all, writing a 2 – 5-minute blog takes me a couple of hours weekly. I've identified three reasons writing is important to me and supported Parrish's good reason for not letting AI do the writing.
First, writing helps me sort out my ideas and discover new ones. Writing allows me to identify what I know and don’t know about specific topics and general concepts. Paul Graham (computer scientist, essayist, entrepreneur, and author) said, "A good writer doesn't just think and then write down what he thought as a sort of transcript. A good writer will almost always discover new things while writing."
Second, writing demands that I gather my ideas and arrange them orderly. This is useful for me and essential for the reader of my work. Writing requires me to pay close attention when I am a freethinker who drifts from one idea to the next. No one wants to read a post, article, or report that does not have a logical progression with clear and understandable content.
The third reason I write is about influence. My mission statement is to strive to give the best of myself and positively influence others. If my writing positively influences others, then it is worth my investment of time.
Another important aspect of writing referenced in the fs blog is to remember that good writers focus on the readers more than what they want to say. Writing AI cannot determine what will resonate with the readers.
The emergence of AI-generated writing will no doubt bring about drastic changes in how we think and write. In the same way, electronic calculators outmoded slide rules and personal computers upended traditional ways of working; AI promises to be an equally disruptive force. Despite all these advances, there will always be a need for "Leadership Thinking" and for us to have the capacity to communicate our ideas to others effectively.
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