What will happen to the written word over the next couple of decades?
It seems to me that at the speed at which we are now moving away from writing, it will not be long before we will become so dependent on artificial intelligence that there could be a time when human-generated thoughts will become obsolete.
Well over half of the people I know no longer read anything printed on paper. They depend solely on what information they can gather on the internet. Factoring in such social media platforms as Facebook I may be underestimating even those figures.
Personally, I do use the internet for some of my national news, but for local news I still depend on a newspaper.
I love to read magazines especially those about cars, guns, and sports. I have read a lot of historical books and like a good mystery as well. My favorite type of book is biographies about ordinary people who have done extraordinary things.
My neighbor shares his Wall Street Journal with me. There are some well-written articles generally speaking in that particular paper.
For me sitting down and reading something that I can hold in my hand is what reading is about, having that one-on-one connection with the writer.
One day, hopefully a long time from now, our society will lose the ability to use both critical thinking and most importantly creative thinking.
I think it will be a sad time when we can no longer produce opening lines to wonderful stories like these: “He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff in the Gulf Stream and he had gone eighty-four days now without taking a fish; Call me Ishmael; It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; You don’t know about me without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, but that ain’t no matter; It was a dark and stormy night.”
I hope there is still a lot more time until those kinds of writings will disappear. Progress in most cases is a wonderful thing, otherwise we would still be on horseback and washing our clothes on the creek bank.
However, I believe losing writing to a machine is not necessarily a good thing.
Byron Spires is a retired newspaper editor. He has written dozens of short stories and serials in the Havana Herald. He recently published “The Curious Life of Marci Bell” in a series of three books. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.