top of page
  • Writer's pictureAri Mostov

Input-Process-Output: Meaning Making in the Age of AI

orange and black abstract

AI is changing everything, including how we make meaning.


Perhaps you’ve stayed up countless nights worrying about your livelihood, or maybe you poked around the internet to experiment with AI and see what it can do for you. Or, you’re an AI evangelist and you can’t get enough. For me, personally, I’ve been reflecting on what it means to be a writer when AI can do the job for me.


And there’s an odd sense of relief, to be honest. No longer do I have to stare at the screen and hope words will appear. I input a prompt to chatGPT, and it outputs a reasonable string of words and phrases that can get the job done. The process of writing is no longer tedious. And for certain writing directed tasks, it’s a marvel worth celebrating.


Recently, I challenged myself to write everyday for a month. I’ve been letting my creative writing skills languish and I needed to reclaim my identity as a writer. I had one requirement: it had to be written by me, no help from AI. I decided to write about the future and what it would feel like. You can check it out here.

What I discovered during that experiment was how much I love writing. It wasn’t about the outcome. It wasn’t if the writing was any good or pleased others, or accomplished anything (you know, like pay the bills). It simply was a stimulating, visceral experience to put words down on the page and let my imagination take charge. It gave me that beautiful flow state, that gorgeous feeling of perfect alignment and ease, where everything is effortless.

It had nothing to do with the input. It had nothing to do with the output. It was all about the process.


While AI is taking the process out of all the ways we work and do, I believe we will have to reorient ourselves to making meaning based on what actually feels worthwhile. What gives us a meaning wont be the outcomes we’ve been told to spend our lives chasing. AI will deliver the outcomes, and we’ll just be involved in the periphery of inputs and outputs.


But process? The actual doing of the thing — that’s where we can find our meaning. For instance, AI can now produce visual art that rivals professionals. Input into DALL-E or midjourney a prompt and it’s output is an impressive visual. If AI can make art, does that means you should stop creating art?

Hell no.


Because I promise you, AI can’t experience the joy of creating. Only humans can do that. If the process of creating or doing something brings you satisfaction, do it. Lean in. Embrace every sensation of the process.


Think back to when you were a child. What did you do in all your childlike wonder? You likely played, learning about the world and yourself through your senses, through the process of exploration and discovery. It was only with time and cultural conditioning did your focus shift to generating outcomes. Outcomes like monetary value and productivity became your compass for meaning, and now AI is causing you an existential crisis that seems to have no resolution.


But I hope you can pause and find what it is that you enjoy creating. What do you want to spend your time doing? What feels best to you? No longer worry about the outcomes. Draw ugly things. Paint weird shit. Write silly love songs.

Create with abandon and enjoy the process.

It’s essential to our meaning making.


*no AI was used or harmed in the creating of this post.

0 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page