It’s hard to come with a conclusion whether or not AI systems are a friend or foe for us. But I do believe that there are more cons than pros. Especially in the education field, and many jobs that survive and utilize technology on the day to day basis. In my last blog post, it’s clear that I have some strong view points on AI replacing humans in jobs. But it can also replace human writers. It’s evident, that children will do and use whatever they have access to in order not to have to physically do any work themselves. It went from getting a friend to do a paper to now having AI write your paper. Yes, while I do agree with the article, “Free AI Writing Tools Can Write Essays In Minutes. What Does That Mean For Teachers?” I also don’t agree with it. Yes, teachers can structure assignments that AI writing models can’t mimic currently, but that doesn’t mean for long. In the other article, “5 Reasons Why AI Is A Threat To Writers,” they mention that AI has already reached human-level writing, and AI can write about virtually everything. So while yes, AI can’t mimic class assignments and responses to other students, that mainly means that AI can’t be used for in class assignments. What about outer class assignments? Like research papers? I feel like in an education environment, the only way to prevent children from not using the computer applications are by only doing in class assignments. So what does that mean for homework and other assignments with due dates? Yes, teachers can implement that using AI is a form of cheating, but kids still cheat regardless, and they will continue to do so, now it’s even easier than ever to cheat.
In the other article “Technology Makes Us More Human,” I see the points and argument that the author mentions. She argues that improvement through technology is how humanity most effectively makes progress. Also how software, globally, creates new opportunities to empower people at scale. She also states that technology is the only thing that makes us, us. Which to a degree, I do agree. But I also don’t. I feel like when the types of things are being created and utilized the only real way to go about it, is to see how they play out. Much how people had to watch it pan out when the internet was first created, and how we had to see how electric cars will play out. We can’t stop things from being created but we can see how they pan out and how we can utilize them in our day to day. I guess in a way, taking it with a grain of salt.
I can’t agree that “Technology is the thing that makes us us,” as Reid Hoffman put it. Yes, it may play a key role in how we develop and acquire knowledge, wisdom, or different types of intelligence, but technology does not (and frankly, should not) hold that kind of power over our identity. Someone last semester in elit mentioned the idea that creation is supposed to submit to its creator– I’d completely agree with that statement, though not without acknowledging that this is not always the case. We’re seeing this with AI developing so fast that it might surpass the intellect of the humans that created it and deviate from its original design, and we’ve seen this before with humanity as a whole deviating from its original design: to live in communion and submission to God. So just as it is not we as humans who define God, we are made in His image in such a way that we also are not defined by the things we create or do. The things we create, such as AI, reflect a piece of our humanity– the difference between the two is so important to realize.
This may seem completely unrelated, but I promise this has something to do with that point still: I’ve placed my identity in a lot of what I’ve put out into the world, what I’ve been able to do for people (including myself), or even in who I am by itself without any sort of foundation– “my truth,” if you will. The reason I say that saying technology or AI somehow defines who we are or what humanity is so dangerous is because making the foundation of who I am what I could make, do, or be was actually so detrimental to my overall health and existence. I mentioned something in my last post about Ecclesiastes 1:9, and this is exactly what is happening here. When humanity’s identity is in anything but its creator, it never ends well. Ever notice how in Genesis Adam doesn’t give Eve her name until after the fall? Yea, a solid foundation for identity is important– submission to the purpose that identity holds is just as important.
That said, it is still something that brings light to what humanity really means. Like I said, the things we create are still reflections of humanity. Hoffman does mention this, though it seemed as if he saw that reflection as the real thing– the actual, legitimate, tangible display of humanity. But also like I mentioned and I’m sure we’ve all noticed at some points in life, humanity is pretty fallen and depraved. Technology doesn’t always work the way we want it to because it reflects that– AI is likely to develop and do exactly that. Example A:
Again, Hoffman acknowledges this as well in his article. What I found to be an interesting statement was this: “Nor would I ever suggest that technologies are neutral, equally capable of being used for good or bad.” I was really going to say that technology itself can be neutral, but I hesitate to even say that a human being can be truly neutral. As this entire post I’ve been harping on about how it reflects our human nature rather than replacing or defining it.
And I know a lot of what I’ve said thus far about the nature of our humanity that technology reflects is negative, but I want to take a moment to actually talk about the goodness of humanity too. Hoffman vocalizes some good and important propositions for which technology, including AI, can be used. Humanity was created and the only thing God created and said was very good. As we are created and seen as a masterpiece by God, we could also say the same of what we create. As God can still use some of the worst people for good, we can still use these potentially bad things for so much good. In many ways it goes back to intention.
So there is some hope for AI being more of a tool than a weapon, as there’s been hope for humanity from the beginning. There are ways to use it to help people. There are better ways to implement it than we’ve seen with things like Chat GPT coming out before software to help detect AI writing has been equally developed.
I’d almost argue that ChatGPT, though it’s not at the same quality yet, could replace creative writers. In one of the articles cited for this week’s pathfinding discussion, there was one quote in particular that had me thinking about a point from my senior seminar last Wednesday.
While ChatGPT can provide suggestions and prompts to help writers overcome writer’s block and generate ideas, it cannot create original content on its own.
Sunil Kumar, ChatGPT: The Future of Writing and What it Means for Writers
The key word that make me think of an article we read last Wednesday was original. In this article, Kenneth Goldsmith poses the argument that “The world is full of texts, more or less interesting; I do not wish to add any more.” Goldsmith mentions the ideas of other minds such as Marjorie Perloff and her idea of the unoriginal genius. Essentially, Goldsmith implicitly asks his audience what we should really consider plagiarism, especially given there are authors that have created pieces of other authors’ works– works of unoriginal genius known as patchwriting. So as I skimmed through the articles for this week, I also thought of ChatGPT is basically just an algorithm that does this patchwriting for us. While ChatGPT might be of concern when it comes to the question of replacing writers of any kind, I would say that this doesn’t change the game as much as we might think– it just makes the flow and course of eventual change maybe go a bit faster.
So what really is original? I’d argue that there really isn’t anything under the sun that’s truly original. I would have somewhat argued otherwise before reading this article, but there is so much information out and available these days that something truly original is hard to come by. I might even say it’s impossible, even from a faith standpoint.
We hear so many “unprecedented” or “historic” things on the news. Christians get so scared that we’re nearing the end times as if we haven’t been in the end times since Jesus ascended to heaven and we were left not knowing exactly the day He would come back. There are so many “new trends” and hot topics (whether cultural, political, etc.) that I’m not going to list off right now that are in essence the same things that happened in ancient times, just with different names and contexts. My point is probably best summed up by this:
7 All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. To the place the streams come from, there they return again. 8 All things are wearisome, more than one can say. The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing. 9 What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.
We discussed this a few weeks ago in Bible study because some people started to mention that the enemy seems to always have new ways or new things to deceive or entice people with. The reality is though, the devil does not have the power to read our minds the same way that God knows every fiber of our being. What he does instead is he takes what we say or do and notes how we hold ourselves (even the small things like posture can say a lot about what someone is thinking about themself or how they feel in their environment) and twists that. The devil isn’t creative– he has no power to create but is only out to steal, kill, and destroy. Rather, he’s crafty. He takes Truth and twists it in such a way that we see our own truths being created. He’s an unoriginal genius, of sorts.
And we are somewhat limited to that as well, though I also see that the rephrasing of the same ideas can affect how one constructs a new world within creative writing. This is part of what makes us as human beings unique– we have this creative capacity that one might attribute to the fact that we are all made imago dei. We are still currently limited to time, space, and matter though– and in the case of this discussion, somewhat limited to language. There are ways of creating new words, regardless of whether they become proper or some dialect-specific terms, but even these words are often based on the ideas of other words. I mean think about it, even the English language is made up of several other languages from several different language families (hence why English is often considered a difficult language to get the grammar, spellings, and proper phrasings right). Celtic, Gaelic, Welsh, and Cornish in England originally… then the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes bring in Germanic languages… then St. Augustine brings in Latin… and somehow French and other romance languages got in there too.
So frankly, I think the biggest thing to worry about with ChatGPT isn’t that it will replace creative writers. I think it’s more along the lines of this:
I’ve mentioned this previously, I didn’t know ChatGPT was a thing till I started this course. I thought everyone was still on their grammarly wave. I was wrong. The readings that were selected by Javon for this week were insightful, at least for me considering I knew nothing about ChatGPT. The future of this AI is scary, at least for me. I definitely feel like we are headed towards a new reality, except this time it’s a reality of the films we use to make. Alone we are having an issue of not enough jobs. The argument (which I disagree) is that immigrants are taking “our jobs.” I just feel that they are doing the jobs we don’t want, but that’s another post for another time. But now the question of whether ChatGPT can take over human jobs is drawing to attention. Now make that make sense. People in America are having this issue and argument that there are not enough jobs because of immigrants but we are creating a system that can take over and replace humans? Yes while it is unlikely as stated in the article that they can completely replace human workers, there is still some lead way for the system to take many jobs, it’s just not all of them. Yes AI systems are designed to assist with certain tasks, but they are not capable of replicating the full range of abilities and skills that humans possess. But that doesn’t mean they won’t ever be able to. If a system as such was already able to be created who knows what else can be done in order for an AI system like ChatGPT is able to do it all.
The article is counteractive in demonstrating that ChatGPT can and can not do in regards to what they can replace. But I don’t find that convincing. If we are already creating a space for AI systems to co-exist, it makes me wonder if we would continue to create a space where an AI system just completely replaces everything. ChatGPT is being utilized by many, its writing kids papers for school; it’s already holing a powerful stance when it comes to academics. It’s leading the way of what papers should look like and how they should be written. That already takes away some creativity. Even if it’s not creative writing, I feel that any paper you write does hold some creativity. Because you wrote it, you created it, you put your own voice in that writing. Everything we do produce and create does have a bit of that creative element to it, because it’s ours. CHATGPT could neva! But jokes aside, I do find it alarming for a system as such to exist and I think a system like this should be used with a grain of salt in order to give work by humans a purpose. Because the human touch is needed. If it’s not clear, I do have some strong views of ChatGPT; I am completely against it.
One of the things I admired about James McBride was not only his acknowledgment of hardship, but what I saw as some level of gratitude for it. It was relatable and genuine, and I thought it especially inspiring that he still spoke not only on learning to persevere but also on what I like to call “burning coals.” In other words, he still displayed a tone of kindness with much of what he talked about, even when it comes to the people that have hurt us (with the boundaries necessary to guard one’s own heart, of course). In a very eye-for-an-eye culture that simultaneously preaches on kindness and acceptance, I know there are a lot of people that probably needed that reminder that we live in the age of grace– Exodus 21 and Hosea 3 were atonements foreshadowing the grace that was then to come, and has now already come. Passages like those demonstrate that there was a price to be paid so we can now stand here with all the details available to us and recognize it was paid for us. Of course, McBride didn’t explicitly preach like that, but the ideas were still present in what he did present.
As for what that has to do with trauma in education, I can say from some of my own experience that this particular point I noticed out of James McBride’s lecture is more important to working with traumatized students, regardless of what the trauma actually is. I’ve tried talking and writing about it as a means of letting it go, but really I was just reliving everything in my mind again. It helped me to some extent, until I plateaued, and sometimes crashed. I held this mentality that I didn’t have to forgive or forget, I just had to get over it or learn to live with it– and I was so, so wrong about that.
Studies have shown that gratitude cannot be simultaneously processed with negative emotions and details, and that the more we practice processing gratitude, the more resilient our minds become to adversity. I believe it was Dr. Norman Doidge that often recites the principle that “neurons that fire together, wire together.” So the more we recite the details, the more we will experience it again within our own minds, affecting memory.
(To clarify, this does not mean that we should repress and totally avoid thinking or talking about the reality of pain and trauma. This process of rumination is important to post-traumatic growth.)
But to go back to the point of trauma affecting memory, you may be questioning how this might happen. Brittany Piper, whose speaking and activism has helped me a lot to understand my own healing journey and why I’ve been affected in the ways that I have, explains some of the science behind this below :
So basically what I’m saying is that unprocessed or “stuck” trauma puts the prefrontal cortex (which processes logic and learning) and the hippocampus (which processes primarily memories) into a state of shutdown. Some rumination is necessary to overcome this challenge (though how much may depend on the individual), but excessive rumination often leads to the development of trauma and anxiety disorders due to the constant reliving one’s own trauma.
But there have been developments in psychology in the past two decades that are explained in the video below and the part two of it that I’ll link here. We process things “bottom-up,” meaning that memory, learning, and behavior cues are processed and stored in the body– experiencing what we’re learning, in other words, is key. I tend to think that this is largely out of survival adaptation. I think of just how fast some reactions needed to be when hunting or gathering food some thousands of years ago– there was no affordance of time to be able to think much or process things emotionally, what had to be done to survive had to be done. Meanwhile the current generation doesn’t seem to be able to get out of their own heads; they trap themselves in a corner of dissociation using things like video games, social media, pornography, YouTube, and other programs as tools helping them dissociate.
So there’s at least a few things I think we can take out of this in terms of trauma-informed education.
The first would be that talking someone through a hard time whether a panic attack, outburst of anger, etc., only helps to a certain extent. Yes, always leave your door open to your students so long as you are reasonably able, making sure to also leave time to care for yourself. You may not be a therapist– and that is something to make very clear– but as an educator and a mentor to some, you may become part of the reason a student gathers up the courage to go to one.
As well as lending an empathetic ear, it also helps to understand how general stimuli are processed, which is why I decided to somewhat focus on that for this week. Understanding how we process and react to things and how our brain’s networks develop is key to discerning the wisest course of action.
As important as remembering information may be to education, understand that memory is sometimes impacted by trauma, whether temporarily or long-term. Keep encouraging students and reminding them that a person’s worth and intelligence is not ultimately defined by grades or how well they do in school. Encourage students to encourage each other. Encourage a collaborative environment, but also one that students can work independently but still find other ways to love and encourage.
Also off of the memory point, keep in mind how much more memory is stored in the body. Create an experiential learning space. This may help to prevent PTSD or CPTSD from developing by keeping the body and brain building new, positive neural pathways. This may run the risk of potential triggers for some students, depending on their trauma, but over time, and with patience and work, may help to develop an understanding in the child that yes, there was danger there, but that does not mean there is now or always will be.
And this is in part why I think integrating so much technology into education can be somewhat hurtful to development. Whether it’s like what I studied and wrote my final literary analysis and presented on last semester for psych senior sem about the ways we dissociate using technology (though that was a more narrowly focused form of internet dissociation that I studied) and the state of flow that it can put us into, or maybe it’s just the simple lack of body-to-brain experiences, too much of anything in this world can be a bad thing.
This week our 2 of our articles related to trauma students may experience at home, and it affects the student in the classroom. it can affect their learning ability which impacts them in the long run. This is something that has been going on for ages and puts a lot of students behind before they even had the chance to really engage in school. Unfortunately educators are not privy to the home life that their students may experience outside of their care, but have the opportunity to create a safe space within their classroom to give all students a fair option to engage and feel protected for the time they spend with their teachers.
Recently I was thrown into a conversation where we spoke about people who live in survival all their lives. Meaning they grow up always on defense in life. (I must say it is very ironic I just had this conversation with some friends and it is now a topic we are engaging in. Lets me know to stay in school lol)
I have friends who feel they have been in survival mode there who life. Constantly living with a chip on their shoulder almost and thinking the world is out to get them. They tend to be more independent due to being let down a lot in their life. Since childhood they felt they have no outside protection only themselves, which has led to the choices they have made. A big negative each person had was school and how it truly effected their mental as they developed amongst their peers. IP’s singled them out in classrooms and made them dislike school in more ways than one. This is understandable if since a child they individual has felt alone or afraid throughout life.
On the contrary I have felt quite the opposite. Yes I experienced things as a child that could have caused me trauma, but being in environments that helped my development instead of hindering it made it easy to work through these traumas. I never really ever felt like I had to be in defense through life, so I have been very naive to a lot of things. As I grew older I learned the way the world works. everyone is coming from different places, with different baggage which an effect how they view certain situations. I even had to learn to grow with my Fiancé and we in turn have taught each other a lot. I noticed things I would say to him would have his very defensive at times, even when I didn’t mean to be. 8 years later we have learned to communicate in healthier ways that makes us both feel comfortable, but he can’t shake that feeling he has been having since his childhood, so I know I have to approach him differently with certain stuff.
Being a parent now I make myself very aware of how I react to certain things around my children, and how I help them mange their stress. Like I stated earlier we will all experience trauma and we won’t know really how it affects us until we are older. For me right now since my children are all under 5 it is important for me to let them know that it is okay for them to feel their emotions, and experience them, but I don’t want them to dwell on them to long. Sometimes as parents we hate to hear our kids cry as we are making a bottle, but I read a parenting book that said if your child can see you are making the bottle, and they know the routine they are simply crying because their needs aren’t being met at that second, but if you the parent are doing what is needed by preparing the bottle, it is okay for them to cry it out and feel sad. They will soon be happy with the results. I want my children to learn to work through their emotions so when they do get to school they will learn to not take everything so personal in the classroom amongst others, and find healthy ways to channel their emotions.
When children reach school age it becomes a huge competition, even though they don’t tell us that. We are put into classrooms and may the best win ( or receive awards and achievements) while those who are not “behaving” or “acting out” are single out and usually children can see this. This creates a trauma for children in itself, and it’s a system we have yet to change or fix. We keep going because it works for most, but what about those that it doesn’t work for? They tend to grow up telling others how much they hated school, when in actuality they just experienced through a survival mode state, where they just wanted to get through it, or some even quit. There is no true way to measure how much trauma a child may be experiencing, but actions show a lot. Those who are living in survival mode are often withdrawn, defensive, and seen as problematic, when in reality they just want to feel like someone is there.
The two readings that I picked that were provided, went hand in hand. I feel like one gave the background clarity while the other was educating you on what to do with that background. The body that keeps the score reading went into detail how to get through the difficulties that arise from your traumatic past by revealing the psychology behind them. However that is not always easy, getting through your traumatic past if you are unaware that you are reacting in the first place. That’s where How to Help a Traumatized Child in the Classroom comes into play. It mentions how a child’s behavior is a result of chronic exposure to traumatic events beyond his or her control. With a minor degree in psychology, I have studied that many of our traumatic events that happen in our lives stay in our subconscious, and when things are kept there we are unaware we act and do things a certain way, because we don’t even know that we are doing them.
As an educator myself, I found how to help children in a the classroom reading to be very insightful, in other words in resonated with me more than the other. I liked how it brought points to discussion but also awareness. I am guilty of occasionally having to raise my voice every now and then. Because sometimes I am not going to lie, it seems to be the only way high school kids will listen. While I try to stir away from yelling and really getting to that point with my kids, I never thought how that could provoke any trauma they keep in. Classrooms should be a safe space for children of all ages, and I as an educator, it is my responsibility to do so. I definitely kept not of creating a calm environment and adapting classroom’s mindfulness. I am a big believer in energy transfer which is why I always try to remain calm and together when I am around anyone else. I know that energy is a big mood shifter, and when I keep my own self happy and calm, it transfers and is picked up by others. Because I also know when I am having a bad day, I can make someone else almost have a bad day too.
Being an educator is a hard job, and it often comes with many challenges. Especially when you have kids who don’t want to listen. But these readings were a reminder to keep my peace, protect my own energy, so I can also be everyone else’s peace as well. Trauma is an interesting thing, and the way it stays with us forever is an ongoing issue we will always have to work on. But as an educator, I can help be a positive light for my students.
Taking a look at the notes from the class discussion last week I see a theme was mainly the topic of Voice in writing. Voice in writing can be interpreted differently by each person. For me it mean to capture what my minds eye is trying to re create into words. The voice in my head is met by paper and pen (or keyboard) and I am able to express my thoughts and feelings more comfortably and effortlessly. It is great as a writer to always feel the need to create and how simple it is to just use my voice to express myself.
The experiment question that was asked in class stated “What is the difference between high school and college?” My answer would be a couple of things. First is academically the work because a bit more demanding in ways, but then in time can be quite effective because you have more time to complete assignments outside of your classes in college. I think responsibilities may change from high school to college. For instance in my high school experience I only focused on sports, cheerleading and volleyball, and school work. When I entered my junior year of college I started working full time and do school full time in college, so my time and responsibility at the time changed.
The ChatGPT offers a great resource to spark inspiration, but it can also take away from the human ability to be create and think of the impossible which makes great literature. I asked it the experience question and it gave the response pictured below:
It gave part of my answer and continued on the point out the classes and how they are more focused and intense with subject. I noticed I went more off of my personal opinion of how I interpreted high school and college differences. This is what I feel we may lose as we continue to grow the AI and Writing culture and learn how to mesh them. Let’s still be able to have our Voice heard, but always have somewhere to go to find out facts without opinion. This coming Thursday the class is going to see James McBride speak on campus. We read an article giving us some of his life facts in his chat he did on the radio. He is from Brooklyn New York and grew up where he was always responsible for him having a lot of siblings. His mother was white, but all of his brothers and sisters were black, which gave him a great outlook on life, and how people treat others. All of this helped him to shape his writing voice and he has some of his best material in works read by a wide audience. He uses his voice to give his opinion on the situations he has experienced, which makes it great for readers to better understand and relate to the author.
The Two Questions I may ask:
Do you believe politics, culture, or bias has a huge impact on the way you chose to write your material?
When did you first develop your true interest in writing?
I’m excited to be hearing him speak this week and can’t wait to hear what we learn.
While it seems that ChatGPT might help to pick up on the pragmatic points in writing on certain topics, there was still a lack of experience to what we compared in class– our own pieces and the list that the AI developed. There’s a major shift in tone, language use, and overall meaning. Sure, what ChatGPT developed has meaning that we can comprehend, but I’m talking about a different kind of meaning here: intention. I spent much of my last blog speaking on that word as well, so I won’t go too much into it specifically here.
Intention often stems from experience. Perhaps this is the word I’ll camp out on today. There was information, but there was no true experience in the writing of the AI, yet we found so many different perspectives on what makes either high school or college better than the other. Below is a screenshot of my own 7-minute comparison between high school and college:
And if I had the chance to go on, I would likely talk about how in high school, we shared a strange but slight bond over that experience of rolling our eyes at that one classic line our teachers would pull about what we should expect our college professors to be like. There isn’t much to bond everyone together like that in college. If you aren’t close to someone, you likely will never talk to them even once about a small thing like that unless you’re a complete extrovert that gets to know everyone on campus. There are two main issues with that though: 1) everyone gets socially exhausted at some point whether it’s recognized by the individual or not and 2) that’s hard to do in larger schools such as Kean which, in Fall 2021, had just an undergrad enrollment of about 10,500. (The second point really depends on the school though, as it was a bit easier to at least know of almost everyone on campus at my freshman year institution with a Fall 2021 enrollment under 3,000.)
AI doesn’t experience, but rather it calculates and stores data. While I’m sure a majority of us have heard the classic “your college professors won’t tolerate this” line from a high school teacher, regardless of where any of us went to high school, it’s not a piece of data that we would typically include in a formal, technical, and calculated comparative piece. It’s more of something we would write about as a subjective experience, even though many of us have heard it– I’m almost certain about that one. It’s similar to the bathroom situations that many of us encountered (though I admit, the experience with that at my high school was quite a bit different for a number of reasons). In high school, we probably all had to ask to use the bathroom or get a hall pass– in my case, we would do that and go figure out which one was unlocked for all the girls to use while the guys rarely had that issue of only one bathroom being unlocked, then likely get in trouble for taking so long.
So while this may be statistically significant data because it’s such a common high school experience, it’s not the kind of data that a school includes on its website, or that reports like GreatSchools.org or US News would typically mention. While ChatGPT utilizes the entirety of the internet as its brain, for comparative or analytical questions especially, it’s reasonable that it would mainly rely on these often-cited resources as its algorithm would then likely deem it as a reliable source on the topic.
And yes, one could argue that the internet is, to some extent, a summation of human experience and knowledge. But lets be real with that even: how much of the real human experience do we actually include on the internet? Even if we could tell ChatGPT to write something based on our own websites for these blog posts (which you can’t, I’ve tried), there is still only so much of our lives shown on here, on Instagram, on TikTok, on Snapchat, or even on BeReal despite the purpose of BeReal being an attempt at breaking that barrier.
And even if our entire experience was some data set that this algorithm could draw from for data, how often does life go in a direction that can be easily, rationally calculated? The number of times that God’s surprised me with money I didn’t know how I’d get to be able to pay for school or my car… the number of times I’ve been overcome with an inexplicable peace in the midst of some of the most chaotic or grievous times in my life… the number of times I’ve been able to speak before a crowd of people despite my mildly crippling social anxiety… you can calculate a prediction, but you cannot calculate an experience.
As for James McBride, while we were first talking about him in class I looked him up and was intrigued by the titles he’s published thus far. I read through the multiple synopses of his books, and the question popped into my head: how has faith– whether in God, people, or just in general– shaped McBride as an author and artist (considering he’s a musician as well)? Even just looking at the titles the question came up– Deacon King Kong… Miracle at St. Anna (and the cover art for this one)… The Good Lord Bird… even looking at the synopsis for The Color of Water I noticed some details involving Christian culture, though McBride was raised by a Jewish mother.
And I suppose that the other would be this: what would you say has been the most formative experience to you as a writer? I’m always one for a good testimony, which is why I think I’ll be checking out The Color of Water once I get the time to sit and read, probably sometime after I finish at least one more of the unread, brand new books I’ve had for about a year now.
Our previous Thursday class was very interesting as we dived into each others voice in writing in comparison to a computer system, Chat GPT. I find it to be very clear that while a computer system as such may be a cool demonstration of what a writing prompt can or should look like, (kind of one of those things where you see this is what you should or should not do) but at the end of the day, it is not authentic, not original, and not creative. It’s missing the most important part, the human, Without that human touch I feel as if though Chat GPT produced generic writing that maybe a more boring and traditional teacher would approve of. But with no personal touch or voice, if you use Chat GPT for one assignment or paper, you would have to keep using it because that would potentially be your “voice,” a computer.
Now diving into James McBride in preparation for his event on Thursday, I had a lot of interest when it came to reading and listening to the quarantine tapes. One thing that resonated most with me was when he said, “…I believe we have more in common than we are different.” In his book, Deacon King Kong McBride makes the cop in his story, the good man. As a Black author, I am sure he must have received some backlash from choosing to do so. I do agree with his statement, on why he chose to make the white cop a good man but it still does raise a question as to why the cop couldn’t be a bad guy to further tell the story that many Blacks do have to struggle and face. Because as we know, with a whole movement be centered towards the subject, seems like there is and never will be enough awareness for it. Because until the problem officially stops, we can’t stop making the conversation.
Questions for James McBride
Considering that you are a big advocate for for arts in school and without it robs children of their creativity, how do you feel about computer systems such as Chat GPT that write papers for students?
Why did you chose to make the white officer a good man instead of a bad man and create a positive outcome for the characters in the book?
The official class site for Dr. Mia Zamora’s Fall 2022 Electronic Literature course.