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ChatGPT and ‘Where the Buffalo Roam’

Give me a home where the buffalo roam” is the refrain from a nostalgic song about the old West. It’s tie-in to ChatGPT is the sense of randomness—that thing that both buffalo and humans share and artificial intelligence lacks.

Fiction is a delicate thing because of what it is not. It is the story, usually of a person or an event, that has the surprise, chaos, beauty and struggle of its characters. Those characters are not the composite of all humans or events—which ChatGPT is really good at—but the sorrow and joy of life itself, which is utterly random. Think of your own life and how it bloomed and blossomed or wilted and nearly died from specific and unknown paths you would never have suspected.

That’s what we do, who we are as humans. That’s what AI can only replicate. Is your life a replication of all lives, a common denominator of lifetimes? I think not. Mine has certainly had its share of griefs and unexpected winnings. That’s why AI will never write an outstanding novel, because by its very definition it is not outstanding. It’s very good and blindingly quick but it will always be composite.

Margarine is not butter. That’s why there will always be those who pay just a bit more for something that comes from the cow.

Like butter, a well-drawn character or memorable story must come directly from the cow.

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