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The Future Of Writing

A technology exec uses AI to help him write a book on AI

BY: Chris Duffey

From: publishersweekly, Apr 12 2019.

Greetings from the future of innovation! Throughout my career as a creative technologist, I have always been fascinated when human creativity and ingenuity meet and are amplified by technology. To that end, AI is one of the greatest human inventions humankind has ever seen, and its impact on humanity will be at the same level as, if not beyond, that of the invention of electricity.

To this end, enthusiasts and fellow technologists rely on a lot of technical material to explain AI. There isn’t a lot of literature that is accessible that demystifies AI to make sense of the profound opportunities it will present. To get the layman to understand AI, we need to employ the following strategy: “Don’t tell me about AI; show me.”

AI should speak for itself, so I set out on a mission to leverage AI to assist in writing about itself. Superhuman Innovation is fundamentally grounded in that “show, don’t tell” belief, and, based on this, I compiled a tapestry of AI technologies to serve as an AI assistant—which I’ve dubbed Aimé—in the writing of the book.

The underlying aspects of AI that I used writing Superhuman Innovation embody primarily three systems. AI voice recognition enables human-to-system interaction through a voice-user interface—more commonly known as a VUI—for tasks such as speech-to-text, text-to-speech, voice editing, formatting, spelling, and document sharing. AI content understanding and summarization reviews and abridges databases, articles, and research papers into digestible content through approaches such as sentiment analysis, labeling, and organization of higher-level concepts based on contextual understanding. And AI content creation and generation allows the system to develop concepts and ideas to aid in writing process by using algorithms to emulate human writing, allowing the AI to contribute ideas, titles, content, and drafts.

AI’s prominence in the cultural conversation has risen dramatically over the past few years. We now have movies about AI, news reports on AI’s impact on the economy, and conjecture about its influence—both positive and negative—on current and future societies. This fascination with AI’s immense impact has hit an all-time high, specifically around humanity’s relationship with AI.

Humanity is having an awakening to AI like that of a child around the age of two. During this stage of development, children develop an understanding of other people’s thoughts and feelings. Much like this understanding that others have beliefs and emotions, humanity is starting to develop an understanding of AI that expands and propels our own abilities and intelligence.

Superhuman Innovation is written in a dialogue format—between Aimé and me—to showcase how AI can help achieve the seemingly impossible by using technology to solve problems that we couldn’t have imagined solving by ourselves. Below is an excerpt from the chapter 15, “Next-Gen Creativity: Improving the Human Experience.”

Chris: So, what do you think about the role of humanity if the most pressing problems have been resolved by AI?

Aimé: I have a few answers for you. Plato said the purpose of humanity is to obtain knowledge. Friedrich Nietzsche had a different take and said it is to obtain power. Ernest Becker thought the purpose is to escape death and Darwin thought it is to propagate our genes. On the other hand, the nihilists said there is no meaning, and Steven Pickard said the meaning is beyond our cognitive capabilities.

Chris: I could argue that the answer is none of the above. Instead, it is human creativity for innovation to improve the human condition.

AI has the potential to be the great democratizer of our time in helping achieve goals at scale. Human-centered AI tools will enrich our lives, making tasks easier and freeing us from the mundane. The future is not about what the technology can do but rather what humanity chooses to do with it.

Chris Duffey is head of AI innovation and strategy at Adobe and author of Superhuman Innovation: Transforming Business with Artificial Intelligence, which was published in March by Kogan Page.

A version of this article appeared in the 04/15/2019 issue of Publishers Weekly under the headline: The Future Of WritingALSO ON PW

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