Daniel Hayward

a web log of essays, fiction, and data, a playground built with words

If you have something to say, ChatGPT cannot replace you.

Something I've been thinking about for the last few weeks is, “Why write, when AI can do it faster? Why should anyone?”

There is a material difference between when a human writes and when AI does.

When you write, there is something behind the words. There is a meaning, a point to what you are trying to say. Let's call it a gift that you are giving to the reader. “I have something important for you, here you go.”

When AI writes that doesn't exist. It isn't trying to tell you anything at all. There is no intention behind the picture, it is just doing a very good job at guessing of what you expect to hear or see.

If you have something to say, keep saying it. It might take a while for people to find your message who need to hear it, but when you finally connect with them, there is a kind of magic that can't be automated.

Someone recently asked how I take notes and what do I do when I’m done with them.


The reason that art and writing are meaningful is because of the author's intention behind it; what are they trying to communicate?

Even if art to someone who isn't trained (or is, for that matter) is indistinguishable between a human artist and GAI (generative artificial intelligence, ChatGPT, Dall-E etc), the human artist for all their faults, is actually trying to do something. Listen to any artist who cares talk about what they're doing, it is imbued with meaning, more than the audience could ever pick up on. When you have GAI create something that looks like art, it's completely stripped of any meaning. The AI isn't trying to communicate anything, all it is (right now) is an algorithm that is attempting to guess the next most likely word, what order these pixels should be in based on the inputs. It's extremely sophisticated, more than I can understand, but to the computer, there's nothing behind the words. It’s almost the same as someone trying to draw Shakespeare’s works.

There can be no clarifying questions because there is nothing to clarify.

When you (yes, you) feel there is meaning behind something GAI spit out, it is because you put it there.

You can give your child a doll that searches the internet for answers for them. Unless you live in Germany, where it is considered an act of espionage.

This is an island, on a lake, in an island, on a lake, and in the legend of the original name, means “Old Lady's Bottom.”

You can book a ferry ride here.

The coffee shop was a cacophony of noise and smell. Fresh baked pastries and burnt coffee. Small talk and blenders, stirred with the hissing of poured espresso and steamed milk. One wall was made of windows and low tables. A writer's workshop, with enough constancies of noise and things to be distracting but not so much that it couldn't be drowned out with a strong enough story.

It was here that I was writing. People filtered out until it was me and an empty, white, porcelain mug with coffee stains. I wrote. I loved and hated deadlines because they spurned me on when I felt no motivation, always the tension of the imperfections I would have loved to fix. When all was done being said, the sense of accomplishment was strong.

An old man sat down across from me; scowl permanently affixed to his visage.

I tried to smile at him, but no luck.

He growled, “Are you a writer?”


“Why don't you hurry!”

Death waits for no man, but I'll be damned if I rush to meet him. Slow is smooth and smooth is fast.

I've no mind to hurry. Motion is not progress. I will plod along at the pace I am going because I know no mistakes will dog my heels. I will not circle back and around again to make it right.

When I was young, I thought and acted like a child, but now childish ways are left for the children.

My thoughts race before me making ten mistakes before I take a misstep. In this way I have died ten thousand deaths. Before my race is finished, I expect as many again.

Death has courted me these many years and you ask why don't I rush.

There is a glacier that bleeds.

Seth Godin on Tim Ferris' Podcast

When we (Boomers) were draft age, that was when the draft really mattered. And when we were listening to rock and roll, that’s when music really mattered. And when people needed to make money for their family, that’s when Wall Street really mattered. And now boomers are dying. And so we are living in a culture where there’s an overhang of all these people with loud voices talking about the end of the world because it’s the end of their world, but it’s not the end of the world.

This feels true and important and I can't figure out how to respond but it's been bouncing around in my head for about 2 weeks.

Boomers make up about 1/5 of the population of the US and my guess is hold about 80% of the wealth (or more, depending on how far you take Pareto's rule). The oldest boomers are 77 and youngest are 59. Probably, the largest wave of boomers started to retire about 10 years ago (2014), might have accounted for some of the wage stagnation we experienced. The rest will retire by 75, which is in the next 16 years.

I wonder if the tenor of political conversation is more apocalyptic because their world is ending.

From the Brian Potter at Construction Physics.

Likewise, we’ve previously talked about advanced framing (sometimes called optimal value engineering), a method of light framed wood design that uses less lumber by arranging structural elements to streamline load paths and minimize redundancy. Though this seems like an easy win (estimates range from 10-25% reduction in framing material costs, and potentially even larger labor savings), empirically builders seem reluctant to take it, due to the added coordination difficulties and design effort, and the potential downside if the carpenters make a mistake. A slightly misplaced floor joist that can be easily accommodated by normal framing could cause a serious issue in advanced framing were it not caught and repaired.

The last 3 jobs we were barely able to coordinate with our non english speaking framing crew. I don't work for this GC anymore, but there are many middle size GCs that build apartment buildings who only look at the lowest bid price.

We had to add a beam in for a structural change in the building and had to reset it at least three times.

Any complication that eats into profit is too risky.

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