To be, or not to be, an AI writer. That is the question!


This is a personal essay I wrote while contemplating the use—and misuse—of artificial intelligence in the world of writing. I was particularly thinking about generative AI, such as ChatGPT, although there are many other ‘flavours’ of AI in use. I’m not against generative AI per se, although I do think it has severe limitations in its current form. There are legal—and moral—issues to consider as well. I don’t think it is the panacea that some people seem to think it is, but it does have potential, and it is certainly useful for many people, including those with disabilities that would otherwise not be able to write. AI is still very immature, but its something I’m keeping an eye on and will use when and where I think its appropriate.

The essay

“AI blog writer generator”, “GPT for writers”, “How to write a blog post properly with AI”. “Write better, anywhere with AI”. Writing with the help of artificial intelligence seems to be all the rage these days. I’m fascinated by its potential but also scared about the consequences. A quick search online using your favourite AI-powered search engine, and you’re presented with many ways to write a blog post. With AI. Artificial Intelligence tells you how to write a blog post with Artificial Intelligence. How very meta.

But let’s talk about the elephant in the room.

Is AI actually intelligent? Or is it simply retelling what has already been told? Plagiarising? Auto-complete on steroids? An over-hyped search engine?

Kevin Pocock, in his article Is ChatGPLT plagiarism free?, written for PC Guide, tells us there is no plagiarism. He says that sentences are formed through sophisticated algorithms, where the likelihood of plagiarism is almost non-existent. Yet, there are problems. Who owns the words it creates? The ‘prompt engineer’ that asked the question that resulted in the answer? Or the company that created the AI bot?

Does the fact the bot gets its inspiration from content on the internet mean that it’s stealing the work of others? Maybe, but surely that is also the case for flesh and blood people who learn through that same inspiration. Ethics and morals, are sometimes fluid. What is wrong today might be perfectly fine in the future.

Progress usually comes at a cost, and I just don’t know yet, what that cost will be.

I’m torn. There’s no doubt I like technology and using it to make things easier. But writing? How can a computer replace the essence of writing, telling stories, of engaging with your audience? I’d like to start writing about my travels. I’ve travelled a lot, and I could write quite a lot about it, but it seems to me that many bloggers are leaning into AI to help them produce content more quickly. To give them the edge. I suspect there is a very slippery slope on the downside of that edge.

People have been writing for aeons. Hieroglyphs on walls, etchings in stone, and words on paper. They all have something in common. Story. They all tell stories, transposing the spoken word to something more permanent and less subject to the transience of human memory. They record history, but they also engage. Computers, AI, not so much. Computers lack feeling. They lack the ability to draw you in. Although he never actually said it, Sgt Joe Friday, from the 1950s TV show Dragnet, is often misquoted as saying, “Just the facts, ma’am”. This is the essence of AI. Just the facts. No story.

I’ve travelled to many places in the world, and I’ve taken many photographs. Some I consider good, some not so good. But each image has a story to tell. There’s the story of the journey to get there, the story of the location, and the story of what was happening when the image was captured. All of that is part of the photo. Would AI know that?

Stories get passed down through the generations, well, at least the popular ones do.

What of my epic travels? There was my flight to London with a plane change in Hong Kong, where the connection times were so close I almost missed the second flight. Then there was the running episode in Cologne. Running, literally, from one train carriage along the full length of the platform, carrying my suitcase, camera gear and carry-on bag. Dodging slow-moving commuters—mobile barricades—to get across the station to another platform seemingly miles away. All that to catch a second train before it left without me. Perhaps I could add the fact I got on the wrong train and had to clamber off and run, stumbling and overladen, further along the platform to the correct train, arriving with literally a minute to spare.

Writing travel blogs has become the thing to do. They seem to be popping up everywhere, although the COVID-19 pandemic stepped in and put a hold on them for a while. Now, they seem to be coming back with a vengeance. People. Travel. Travel blogs. They are the website du jour; they have become de rigueur.

There’s Nomadic Matt and his friends over at, where Matt Kepnes and his team of writers have been regaling us with their exploits, giving us travel tips and offering to sell us goods and services since 2008. Or the more recent Mike and Laura over at Mike and Laura Travel, where they have been living on the road since 2017 and sharing their travels with anyone who cares to follow them on social media. Oh, and courses. They sell courses on travel writing and “how to scale your travel blog”. Then there’s Sharon Gourlay’s Digital Nomad Wannabe site, where she shares tips and insights on how to start your own travel blog and invites you to “create your dream life”.

The sites are seemingly endless.

So, I have photographs. Do I share them with the world? Write a travel blog? Does anyone else really care about my images and my travels?

I think we’re a pretty weird mob, to borrow from the 1960s Australian Film title by, almost, the same name. Some humans like to watch. Some like to show. Voyeurism and exhibitionism. If I build a travel blog, will they come?

I suspect my travel experiences are things that not many other people would be interested in. It’s something to tell family and friends, to share stories over a glass of wine or a cup of coffee, but strangers? Interesting facts, no doubt, make for interesting stories and perhaps improve their shareability.

Google tells us they want EEAT—experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness—for them to promote a website. Could I write a travel blog and be promoted by Google?

Experience? Check! Expertise? Probably. Authoritativeness? Most likely. Trustworthiness? I hope so. My photographs. My words. My story. I think that covers the menu. I don’t think an AI bot could say the same.

Writing takes time. Time to think, to ponder over the perfect words. It takes effort to weave a story into sentences and paragraphs. It takes sweat and determination. Sometimes it takes a lot of energy, and sometimes not so much. Nevertheless, it always takes time.

Then in November 2022, along comes ChatGPT. That seems so long ago now. We’ve seen an explosion of AI-powered writing tools since then. Koala Writer,, Anyword, Sudowrite and Rytr, to name just a few. Then, of course, there’s Jasper AI, which used to be called Jarvis until Marvel Comics jumped on them for a breach of intellectual property rights and convinced them to change their name.

Ah, technology. The times, they are a-changin’.

Can these tools make writing easier? Or better? Time will tell, of course, but what we do know is these tools are here to stay. They’re not going anywhere, and it’s probably a good idea to at least know how they are going to affect the art of writing. The genie is well and truly out of the bottle!

Can I write blog posts with these tools? Should I? Will they be any good? Will they make it easier to write a travel blog to share my stories and images? Maybe. Possibly. At least, they could be useful starting points for ideas I hadn’t thought about including. Will the tools improve over time? Without a doubt. Sigh… Life is full of mysteries and conundrums.

“Write a blog post about travelling to South Africa and seeing wild lions for the first time”. Seems simple enough. Five minutes with a generative AI, or five hours brooding over every word? Which version would have more feeling? I don’t think there is any question the five-hour version, with every word teased out and lovingly crafted, will have more soul. There will be stories and tales that no AI could create unless it hallucinated and just made up things that, well, didn’t happen. Is the blood, sweat and tears worth the effort? Yes! Absolutely. Writers, or at least good writers, writers with passion, simply can’t be replaced by computers. Yet.

Times are changing, and technology continues to improve. Let writers write and use the technology to assist, not replace. Let’s not turn our written world into a series of chat novels that are merely chunks of text thrown together to form a grammatically correct but unmoving sentence. Words written by generative AI are often repetitious. They can seem lifeless and lack verve. Be engaged and live in the moment you write about. If you write with passion, your writing has passion.

Let that passion shine through.

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