Podcast: Writing in the Age of ChatGPT
Today Melissa and I nerd out about writing. We’re passionate about writing. We’re professional writers! Ergo: we LOVE it!
The unique aspect of Brave Writer is that our approach to teaching writing is different from what’s typically taught in education or seen in other writing resources. It’s a process that is reflective of the stages a writer goes through when writing and publishing a novel. And when we were designing that program, we felt that the missing element in writing education was love.
On this episode of the Brave Writer podcast, we discuss the history of the written word that led us to this conclusion, as well as new technologies that may have the potential to disrupt what it means to be a writer.
Have you ever found yourself reading a sample paragraph out of a teaching program and thought to yourself, “What happens next? I want a second paragraph!” If the answer is no, let me ask you this: Why would you want to use a lifeless piece of writing as an example for your children?
We know good writing when we see it — that’s love. We should be teaching the writing that lights us up, and that wants us to keep reading.
Why do humans write?
What drives us to create art, hieroglyphs, and alphabets? It’s the desire to preserve and share valuable information. The excitement of capturing something in a lasting way is contagious — it taps into our awareness of our own mortality. To teach a five-year-old the value of writing, they must see the purpose behind it. Why do we read and write? To preserve and share information. This is seen in how parents record their baby’s first words and share them with others. There is a strong desire to preserve original information in a written form.
When you start from a foundation of valuing the human being and the writing voice that lives inside, it makes the work more meaningful and you can take it at a pace the child can handle. We’ve designed all of our programs with that pace in mind for the sake of the child. Kids have to understand that there is something of value at the end of it.
But what about ChatGPT?
If you haven’t heard of it yet, ChatGPT is a sophisticated AI technology built to understand natural language. You can ask it a question and it will answer with what is often eerily human-sounding responses.
- What about this brave new world of AI writing technology?
- Will Melissa and Julie (and other professional writers) be out of a job?
- Do your kids even need to learn how to write?
- What role should ChatGPT play in our culture and education systems, like college?
ChatGPT can be, at first glance, surprisingly impressive. But as you see more examples of it, you begin to realize the limitations of what it can create or how reliable it is in its accuracy.
Beyond that, there are many unsettling questions about what this means for creators and writers. Where is it getting its information? Who could you unknowingly be plagiarizing by using it? As a structure, it’s appropriative.
If you want to incorporate ChatGPT and other AI tools into your child’s writing and education, start by treating it as an adventure that you can go on together. Explore and see if you can arrive at an understanding of where it’s useful and where it’s lifeless.
There are no easy answers when it comes to adopting and adapting to new technologies. We’ve seen it before with the rise of the internet, smartphones, and ever-present screens — it takes time to find a balance that works for your family, and you’re going to have questions along the way. We’re all still figuring it out. We hope that you’ll be along for the ride with us as we continue to see what direction this may unfold.
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