The Slim Self is Worth Fighting For

Luddites feared being replaced. But I the solitary being am consumed apart from AI. I type in my 80s reflection and GPT gives me many more to go with it. My memory is even old. In memory regurgitated, my slim self of that reflection dissolves.

“Bots…are going to understand our wants and needs and align with our distinctive worldviews. We will form buddy-movie partnerships that will let us drink from their massive processing power with a spoonful of sugary natural language. And if forced at the end of the road to decide whether to lose to obnoxious humans or gracious bots, we won’t give it a thought. We’ll change our wills, leave them all we have, and let them roll their upbeat tanks right over our houses” (Wired).

For me, the buddy movie seems like a bot leading me by the hand safely, feeding me sweet language as I fade to grey down the greying street.

“No, I don’t want you to say it for me!” I plead with the damn program.

My independence is necessity. And I would rather have a human I can argue, debate with, than none at all.

It turns out the very same things that will distinguish you from chatbots in your work will be part of what you must retain to be human. Work gives your personhood voice. It’s no longer only about worth and relevance as a human, it’s about the existence of self apart from screens. If I turn it off, I don’t want something to comment on everything I do. Yes, I appreciate its help. But not to complain, I’ll call you when I need you.

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