AI and Poetry


Feeling fucked up about the future. AI is moving way faster than anyone is ready for. What kinds of skills are worth it for me to pursue, any more? What won't AI and robots be doing much faster and better within a few years? Even certain kinds of artistic pursuits seem thrown into question. Electronic music production. Illustrating. Writing, obviously. Sculpture.

What feels safer? The human-to-human arts, anything live. Campfire jamming. Clowning. Immersive event production. Getting outdoors. Shibari. Staying up late, getting drunk, shooting the shit. Acts of kindness. Making gifts with your hands. Maybe that makes space for writing—writing for each other, love letters and poems.

Some arts will be safer longer than others. Acoustic music. Theater. Cottagecore pottery.

Maybe cottagecore will come back in a big way, as an aesthetic which resists roboticization.

Maybe poetry will enter an arms race. Suddenly all the trite, mediocre Instagram poetry of the world will be indistinguishable from what a computer produces. But we will learn to recognize what is it that makes poetry human, and that part of it will flourish and deepen. That is anyway exactly the thing that makes poetry worth reading. Spoken word will make a comeback. RIP Oulipo, Long live the post-modern, I guess.

Viktor Frankl wrote that the three big sources of meaning we might find in life are love, works, and suffering. I think suffering might have sort of been a fall-back. If robots usurp all our works, we really better be ready to lean into love.