Ibrahim Sowunmi

Writing in the era of GPT

Articulation is a good skill. It lets you make the big things, small. It’s a critical pre-requisite to being highly expressive, and more importantly, easily understood. Often, I find myself struggling to convey my thoughts, which suggests that my ideas are not as organized as they feel on the tip of my tounge. How do you organise your thoughts? I think the answer lies in developing a more practiced and structured way of thinking. There aren’t many avenues for achieving this, but my take is that it can be accomplished through experiencing significant events, consuming vast amounts of QUALITY content, or creating your own content(most important). Doing this is hard, and getting the callibration of these three things correct is even harder.

I want to be an excellent writer. Not for the accolades of writing, but for the second order effects of writing. I want a unique style, a distinct voice. I admire people with a masterful command of the English language, people who possess a flair for making points, and a flourish to their phrasing. For a simple reason, their grasp of language allows them to lose themselves, to separate from the “I” and merge with a broader stream of consciousness. They are able to extract a part of this conciousness and package it for dissemination to a wider group. A talent.

However, I find myself grappling with a formidable foe: the temptation of using AI tools. These tools make content creation easy, simple, and low-effort. They strip away the style from text, leaving a generic, bare, GPT-branded voice. Even if one attempts to inject the style of a Paul Graham or Tony Robbins, the result remains, banal, bland, uninspiring.

Initially, these new AI tools led me to believe that blogging was dead. I imagined an unprecedented proliferation of shitposts, resulting in lower quality spammy articles. While this concern remains valid, I now realize that high-quality content is a “strong links” problem.

There are two types of problems: strong links and weak links. For example, Regulation is a weak links problem, aimed at raising the minimum standards. The FDA (US-based food and drug agency) ensures that food meets a certain quality threshold to protect consumers from illness. Raise the problem based on its weakest. On the other hand, strong links problems, like scientific advancement, are driven by the best in the field. Society is transformed by great science, and not every athlete will be a star at the Olympics; success hinges on the greatest athlete and science hinges on the greatest scientists.

Blogging shares similarities with strong links problems; the highest quality blogs rise to the top, and those are the ones that matter. This mindset should be embraced when creating content: strive to produce the highest quality work. With this approach, I will continue writing because why the heck not.