The only thing that sucks more than waiting at 3am for the art department to finish the 123,456,789th revision on work for a 9am pitch, is no work. One arvo of no work, great. Two – OK. Three – you can hardly find the motivation to even drag yourself to the bathroom when you need to go. When the agency robots do all the grunt work, always? Keep reading and find out.
(Image by Jade Mitchell)
May 13 2041
I’ve not written anything for a little while. I’ve been too busy being bored.
I used to be able to hide my lack of productivity by wandering through the agency having conversations with people. They were rarely about work; just banter – a chat about a film or TV show, a bit of bitching about someone, or occasionally something a little more profound around how “if we could get some budget” we might be able to creatively unfuck the world a bit.
But now there’s no one to talk to, it’s hard to hide my inactivity. Part of the problem is how bloody efficient Will is. He just churns through stuff, bashing out email after web banner and paragraph after paragraph of website and other long copy. I never thought I’d say this, but I do actually kind of miss doing some of that shit, at least to the extent that I miss having stuff to do. And while I’d much rather be writing blockbuster holographic video scripts than Bettaverse brochure copy, writing BB copy is better than writing nothing at all.
When Jed & Bob were trying to sell us all on the benefits of bringing creative AI’s into the department, the major selling point was that AI would do the down-and-dirty stuff, which would free us up to nail great ideas on big exciting briefs. Great in theory, but it does rest on the premise that there are plenty of “big exciting briefs” coming into the agency. Problem is, right now, there aren’t, and because William fucking Shakespeare AI is churning out three hundred words a minute of all the other stuff, I’m bored shitless.
You could argue that me doing something amazing shouldn’t be reliant on me being given a brief, and I wouldn’t disagree with you. But the truth is, right now I haven’t got the motivation or energy to go above and beyond. And I’m sure that my relative apathy is fairly typical of a sizeable proportion of the working population a significant proportion of the time, which points to a fundamental flaw in the argument for automation.
I have this sinking feeling that whoever it was who gave the green light to allow AI to be unleashed on the workplace may have grossly overestimated the human race. Many of the pro-AI arguments echo Jed and Bob’s: “with all the automatable, mundane tasks taken care of, human beings can step up and achieve their higher potential.” I guess it does make logical sense, but just because we can doesn’t mean we’re willing to put in the effort to do so. There’s a big can’t, as in “can’t be fucked” factor that seems to have been overlooked. I mean, look at us. For almost a century, the human race has spent huge chunks of our time happily “veg’ing out” watching mindless shit on screens, I’d guesstimate that at least 50% of the population has had the words “could do better” appear on their school report card and many of the things we hold up as our greatest achievements – namely technological advancements – have been designed to relieve us of having to do hard work.
So it’s our inherent laziness and desire to relieve ourselves of the burden of having to do arduous work that has driven the development of technology and ultimately of AI, but now we’re relieved of that burden, we seem to be expecting that we’re going to somehow rid ourselves of our inherent lazy “can’t be fucked” factor and somehow do something incredible. Call me a cynic, but I don’t buy it. Sure, humanity is capable of great things, but stretching the boundaries of human endeavour is hard fucking work and, truth be told, I don’t think most of us are up for it. No, I reckon a big chunk of the human race is quite happy to bumble along being utterly unexceptional and leave the really hard work to someone or something else. Which is why I wonder if the AI paradigm needs to be turned on its head? Why can’t we get the AI to crack big briefs, solve the big problems – do the really hard stuff, so we can get on with being lazy fucking humans. Would that be such a bad thing?
All this thinking is making me tired. While Will bashes out his umpteenth Bettaverse brochure of the day, I’m gonna take a nap.
Find episodes 1-3 by searching “Len Moise”. Or read all episodes on Len Moise’s website: www.thelastcopywriter.com