Tortoise Worried about Taking the Rote Out of Writing

I’m an English major.  I will always be an English major.  Thus it bothers me that robots and robotic scribblers are, like the Borg, assimilating everything human.  Right now, the race can still take comfort in the claim that robots are relieving we humans of demeaning tedium, all in the name of efficiency.  Of course, efficiency increases productivity and that means more money can be made.  We can do it fast, fast, fast.  So it was with ditch digging before Ditch Witch arrived.  I hope that a fair number of humans have become Ditch Witch  operators, repairers and sales people.

Will Orem in Slate takes comfort that robots will never completely master what is distinctly human: nuance, passion, anger, disgust, a turn of phrase, sarcasm, et cetera.  I am less optimistic.  The way things proceed a Miltonic robot using Miltonic algorithms may one day write the equivalent of Paradise Lost. (There may be no one around to know the difference or care.)  I assume a modern Descartes is still safe from assimilation, but poetry is quantifiable.  Is there an algorithm for creating metaphors and similes.   I’ll bet a robot can diagram a sentence.

In any case Technology  will not cease developing, this brave, brave  new world.  I find it all just a little boring, but then I am an English major.    David Milliken

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