Jan Adkins, the most human of us all, wrote the following response. It was not created at the speed of light but arrived approximately an hour after I sent the message. It allows you to see how neurons connect in an active, creative, human brain:
“The thing that distinguishes us from machines and "artificial intelligence" is our tattered covers, the inimitable flaws life has stamped and tramped and scraped on us. Our long course of dings makes an illogical texture of faults that changes the way we perceive the world and informs the way we report the world. Unless we've lived in a test tube we're all bent and creased, spindled and perforated by a random world that has no mechanism for kindness or preservation of spirit. The randomness of life leaves us all illogically astigmatic. We're all neurotic in multiple directions, and the way we process life and recount it in the form of art (which we hold as the reflection of life) is flawed, warped, skewed in our particular fashion. Moreover, the particular voice with which we recite our version of life is even more personal – we hold forth as interlopers, victims, slyboots, grifters, or flies on the wall. What we produce as art, then, has little to do with logic, even when we're reporting facts, because our tales are sung in our own neurotic, skewed voices, and because most of us (being experienced casualties of life) have a sense of humor about the entire hoopdoodle.
"What apps and AI constructs and computer-generated tales can't offer is joy and love and laughter, because these things are not logical. We're not logical. Lucky us. We're battered by life into odd shapes that respond to data with unpredictable insights and perspectives. It's possible that a story-generation app could process a predefinition of "love" but not possible that the emotion, itself, will have any credence. We're powerful in our mistakes and flaws, and in our sense of illogical intangibles like pride and affection.
"This is not to say that Botnik & company isn't dangerous. If you've dealt with editors and publishers long enough, you'll acknowledge that they're eager to replace troublesome "artistes" with reliably logic content providers. Quarterly profits don't accommodate "quality" as a valid navigational tool. "Quantity" and "what the market will bear" are more profitable concepts. We're silly when we tout the quality of our product, because the bean counters that control our publishing masters are unconcerned about artistic innovation or depth of feeling. Look at a Disney Princess book. We may speak with the tongues of angels but if we can't add to the bottom line and promise sales bonanzas, we might as well catch the next ice floe out of town. “
Think Botnik can whip out stuff like Adkins? Is the handwriting (a very human activity) on the wall? Literature, defined as the single passionate voice, may be replaced by vending machines spitting out one-, two-, or five-minute stories unread by human eyes before reaching the market so that you can "calm yourself with our stories or perhaps our white noise recording" Of course, iNK's mission, as authors of nonfiction, is to wake students up. Hmmmmm.... Can this story be an alarm clock?