Are You a Poet, Artist, Designer, Content Creator or Bot?

poet-or-bot

*

The technocratic term content signifies the lowest common denominator of writing, photography or graphic design.

Whatever you put into an empty shell, it will be its content according to the broadest definition.

Now that leading news agencies start using bots to create content you need to move the quality ladder up to make sure you stay in business and don’t get replaced by artificial stupidity.

 

Do you sound like a bot?

Personally I’ve never “rebranded” myself as some kind of content marketer or content strategist. I dislike the connotations of both content and marketing plus strategy. Instead I still call myself a blogger in most cases or when I do client work I even refer to my occupation as search engine optimizer. Yeah, that sounds sooo 2004. I will change that in future in favor of popularizer probably but that’s a different story yet to be written.

Today I want to ask you whether you are a poet, artist, designer or just a content creator.

You may be even a bot but then of course you won’t reply. On the other hand the difference between a content creator and a bot is very small and thus AP can replace human writers with robots without most people noticing I guess.

The point is: when you sound generic like a bot you probably deserve to be replaced by one. Then without work you can spend your time in serenity and waste it on useless endeavors like poetry, art, design… wait a minute. Did I just make a full circle here?

 

Let’s automate work and be free to do whatever we want

First off, let me clarify that there is nothing wrong with robots doing the work for us. I love the sci-fi idea that one day we won’t have to work anymore and every task that is tedious, repetitive and boring will be done by machines, computers or robots.

Why spend your life staring at the screen or sitting in a factory when you can automate most of it? Why rely on Web directories when you have a search engine? Why wash your clothes by hand all day when you can use a washing machine?

Of course I understand that there are many exceptions where it’s not so clear whether automation means progress or not.

  • “Why cook yourself when you can open a package of processed food and put it into the microwave?”
  • Why walk when you can drive?
  • Why care when a CCTV camera monitors?

In all three instances there are good reasons not to automate.

Cooking yourself is healthier, tastier and generally means a higher standard of living. Walking instead of using a car makes you stronger, healthier and more connected with your surroundings. Caring for other people instead of letting big brother watch them makes you more human.

 

Is writing, painting or shaping things enjoyable for you?

Once automation has taken over completely we will be only doing what we enjoy. Society will have to adapt and the idiotic notion of being “unemployed” will vanish while the machines will provide for our livelihoods. A 100 years from now we will all be aristocrats ideally and nobody will be able to imagine the dark ages of forced labor.

Did you notice in the paragraphs above how I stressed that when your writings, paintings and sculptures are boring and repetitive they could be easily automated?

Just take Associated Press and their typical articles that have been copied to hundreds of publications usually. They are feigning objectivity and thus sound bland and interchangeable. One article just reads like a dozen of others if not hundreds. Just change the name, locations ans stats (like the number of casualties in a plane crash) and you can manufacture an infinite amount of “news”.

Here I’d like to cite one of my favorite sages – the founding father of American literature Henry David Thoreau who said with regard to news:

“I am sure that I never read any memorable news in a newspaper. If we read of one man robbed, or murdered, or killed by accident, or one house burned, or one vessel wrecked, or one steamboat blown up, or one cow run over on the Western Railroad, or one mad dog killed, or one lot of grasshoppers in the winter, – we need never read of another. One is enough. If you are acquainted with the principle, what do you care for a myriad instances and applications?”

In case all you do day in and day out is about repetition, just like the 19 century factory workers or those assembling iPhones in China without even earning a living wage you are bound to be replaced by technology. Rejoice! I know this sounds scary now. How will you pay for food? Will you starve? Let’s just pretend you just watch the whole process from high above. Then you can appreciate it.

All the redundant toil of billions of people will come to an end and we will lead fulfilled lives instead.

In case you really enjoy what you do you will keep on doing it. In case you are truly creative and each piece of work you finish, be it a poem, an image or a product is a one of a kind expression of your true individuality – the future belongs to you. You will be one of those people sought after. Just like today the most expensive products are hand made (or manufactured what in the past simply meant actually “hand made”) you will be successful with your line of work. More than ever probably.

 

The notion of “work” will disappear altogether

In most cases work means wage slavery today. In future work will mean calling. Only a few lucky or rather rich people can afford to do the work that truly fulfills. Most others have to perform the work that pays the bills. Writing is somewhere in-between. Creative writing as the name suggests is more than just work or a profession.

Who would say that he works as a poet? You wouldn’t even tell people at a party that you work as a writer in case you publish novels for example. Than you are a novelist. I sometimes refer to myself as a writer because obviously I’m not a novelist yet. I’ve been a poet once though. Yes, to some extent I’m one of those failed poets. There are are also many failed artists who are web designers now.

Why did I fail at poetry? I even had a publisher who wanted to print my first poetry book.

I imagined the future then. Around 200 elderly people would stick my book at the highest shelf in their huge library where it would collect dust among all the other dead poets. I wanted to be alive. I didn’t want to see my scary bald wrinkled face at the age of 90 on the back of elitist poetry books. I didn’t want that bleak future.

I wanted to change the world right now. I wanted to write for everybody. I wanted to tell people how they could actually change things. That’s what I’m doing now. I wanted to create real life poetry instead. That’s what true poetry is ultimately about, not more content but the positive impact on humanity.

 

The sure-fire formula to get yourself replaced

I affect people’s lives directly be providing actionable advice to fix things. I don’t solely mean how to articles on how to optimize this or that. I provide much more than that. I inspire people whenever I can. Can a bot inspire? Can a bot tell people “this is what I lived through and that’s because I do things differently now”? No, a robot can only replicate preconceived ideas. Even the most sophisticated AI won’t be able to feel like a human being and express pain, anger, love, enthusiasm. Even if it tries it will just be a poor imitation.

When you are only using tried out headline formulas like “Top 10 Reasons Why X is Y” and just putting “big data” into words you can be replaced right away.

  1. Nobody needs you and your “writer’s block” to litter the Web with more content.
  2. Nobody wants another marketer vying for attention and shouting click here, I’ve produced just another “me too” content piece.
  3. Nobody needs a content strategist to use multi-level targeting on unsuspecting audiences.

In case you behave and write like a bot please give up and let real human beings with emotions take care of creative writing, artistry and design. Let the bots do the low level work instead.

Are you a human being yourself? Then stop creating content like a bot and start writing poetry, painting artworks or designing solutions for a better world or simply be creative. You don’t have to write poetry to act like a poet.

 

* The custom “poet or bot” illustration has been created by the fine folks over at Freepik.com