AI Will Not Replace Me

In a conversation, recently, a friend suggested that Chat GPT was going to replace me pretty soon. I had to laugh. There are some very good reasons why a robot can’t replace me, and I think this is important to talk about for the sake of writers and creative people everywhere. People seem to think taking humans out of the equation is, first of all, cheaper (true), and, in some ways, better. The thing they’re missing is:

In order to program a computer, you have to know what you want.

It’s certainly possible that a robot could be more grammatically correct and have more perfect proofreading than a human. And I’ve heard they have even programmed computers to “be creative.” I guess that depends on your definition of creative, though. I’ll give you an example of what I do that a computer can’t do using a recent client. Like many of my clients, this one felt like he had something important to say, but wasn’t quite sure what it was. He wanted to write a book about business principles that are also life principles– the mottos by which he lived his life, basically.

My job in a case like this is to figure out what would be valuable for the client to contribute to the world.

Neither my client nor I want to add yet another redundant self-published vanity book that never needed to be written to the Amazon listings. You could hire Chat GPT to do that. So, while listening to his business principles, I kept my ear open for what makes this client unique, what about him and his message is different from anything I had ever read before. After many hours of interviews, I realized that he has a very particular type of personality.

He’s the type of person who was born with excessive confidence,

intense perfectionism, a high drive to accomplish things, and a sort of bull-in-a-china-shop method of aggressively pushing obstacles out of his way. He wasn’t a subtle, analytical man, but he was very smart and also, in certain ways, very kind and compassionate. Having succeeded, he genuinely took pleasure in helping others do so, as well. This interesting combination of traits made me realize:

He’s a “type.” And it’s an oft-misunderstood type.

My client had learned how to tame his personality to make the best of it and restrain the aspects of it that got him into trouble. That alone was quite an accomplishment, but he wasn’t really aware of that until I brought it up. I think a lot of people with this personality can easily fail in many aspects of life and be deeply misunderstood. When I suggested writing the book directly toward readers who had this type of aggressive personality, with a view to helping them overcome pitfalls to which that type is prone, he agreed that would be a unique message other businessmen hadn’t addressed in their books.

The intuition to look at the story BENEATH the story is what Chat GPT doesn’t have.

The very human understanding that people are born with certain personalities they must wrestle with all their lives–that’s what I’m here for, and what a robot doesn’t understand, because a robot has never wrestled with its own personality in just that way.

You can program a robot to have a personality (I think).

But you can’t program the robot to be conflicted about it, analyze what that feels like, and transpose that knowledge over to another person, with a completely different personality, who experiences the same type of internal conflict. Feel me? That’s what I do.

So, in the end, this client’s book is about what to do when you know you’re too confident for your actual skill level and too bull-headed to listen to advice, but you are who you are and you got to work with what you got. It shows readers how to channel this personality so it’s an asset in business instead of pissing people off. It does the same for your personal relationships. I bet you’re already thinking of someone you know who could use this book, aren’t you?

A big part of my job is to look inside your heart and figure out what about you is special and different.

I challenge a robot to take on that challenge. Truly, I do.

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