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I write therefore I think


Staff member
Feb 16, 2024
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I think this will become a major problem with embedded GPT & LLM appearing in almost every work productivity tool — “Skipping the writing process short-circuits reflection (‘Writing as Thinking’)”Stephen P Anderson

While they may help to write summaries and presentations, tools like ChatGPT will likely short-circuit the creative writing process.

“For creative endeavors, I never want to have something else come up with my writing. The holistic labor of creative writing is struggling to succinctly translate your own experiences and ideas from your mental space to the physical realm. My ideas and the ways I express them in text are the most precious things I have, the ones that differentiate me from everyone else. Moreover, in the process of generating the written form of your ideas, you come up with different ways of thinking about them.” —Vicky Boykis 2023

In The Craft of Writing Effectively at the University of Chicago, a key point is that writing is an important form of thinking.

“Unlike a journalist, almost surely, you are using your writing process to help yourself think. In other words, the thinking that you are doing is at such a level of complexity that you have to use writing to help yourself do your thinking … You are using your writing to help yourself think.” —Larry McEnerney 2014

Even the process of note-taking can help make sense, inasmuch that ninety percent of it may be crap.

“Evernote to OneNote, Moleskins to Field Notes, Roam to Obsidian. We blame the tools, the techniques. Surely they’re to blame. A new app will be better.

Then we dump our newest thoughts into it, try the latest features to organize notes, until we’re back to safely forgetting things. Then the illusion gets shattered again, and we’re on to the next new thing.

Yet maybe the apps worked all along by letting us forget. We didn’t need bookmarks and notes as much as we needed the safety of letting go. Anywhere we could save our thoughts was enough.” —Matthew Guay 2022

So keep on writing to develop better thinking skills. Don’t let the machines think for you. They may be appropriate tools in your workflow from time to time, but not for thinking.
first we shape our tools and then they shape us
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