How will writers fare in the age of automation?

The robots are coming. They will eventually take most of our jobs. Welcome to the Age of Automation!

Such is the refrain of journalists, pundits, techies, economists, sociologists, politicians, everyday folks — anyone with an eye to the future and an interest in human livelihood.

They’re not wrong. Look around and you’ll probably see it in action. The most recent example I noticed was when automated pay booths were installed in the parking garage at my former workplace. My thoughts on the event went something like this:

Cool! Now I can get out of the garage and into standstill traffic MUCH faster.

AND I don’t have to have that awkward moment where I swipe my card and give a half-smile to the lady working the tollbooth. Speaking of which, I hope she finds another job!

I feel kinda bad for her. I wonder if that could happen to me…

But I’m a writer! The world will always need us creative types. You can’t program a machine to write with creativity or emotion or irony. You’d literally have to teach it how to learn.

Machine learning.


Writing Robot
Seriously? That’s your “writing robot”?

What will become of writers in the Age of Automation? What kind of work will we do? Is there anything our minds and pens can produce that can’t be taught to a machine? Should we “learn how to code” so we ourselves can teach the machines how to do what we do? I’m not sure how I feel about being an architect of my own obsolescence.

What, if any, use will there be for writers when machines can learn? It’s a question I’ve wanted to explore for some time now, and I intend to do so, right here, on this website, which I created quite easily because WordPress pretty much automates it for me!

I’m not even sure where this exploration will take me yet, which is part of the fun. I want to consider as many angles as possible on this important subject.

Are my fellow writers and I ultimately doomed? Stay tuned to find out!