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And Now, For My One Hundred and Fifty First Story...

Adventures with AI

By Hannah MoorePublished 3 months ago 6 min read
So happy. So so happy.

This is story number 151 on vocal for me. I didn't set out to mark it in any special way, its just, when I came here to copy this from my word processor into vocal, I noticed and thought to myself "well that seems apt." Then I thought to myself "why exactly? Apt how?" to which I answered "Because this is a story about process, and one should reflect on process at times like story number 151." "Oh," I said, in response, "Oh, but now I've made me feel like I need to reflect with wisdom and draw links and lessons and make it all look like I have been wonderfully and deliberately clever. If I am reflecting on process to mark my 151st story and all?" "Don't be daft," said I. "It was just a bit of fun."

For reasons that escape me, I became intrigued of late, not as to whether AI could write me a story that I thought was human, but whether I could write a story AI thought was AI. I decided to set about this in a spare moment, having ventured into an offering under "Latest Stories" to be immediately confronted by the perennial settlement of Everwood, that town for all seasons which sits by the main highway in AIland. Was it also a TV show? I feel like there may have been a TV show called Everwood which I sometimes watched when I had a migraine and needed my brain gently stroking with numbing cream.

I digress. Spurred, nay, inspired, by this story of challenges overcome (I didn't read it, but I am assuming challenges were overcome, though not, clearly, the challenge of engaging authentically with one's emotional world) I placed my fingers on the keyboard and began my own exploration of predictable phraseology and preordained linguistic pairings. The results, you will find below:

In the quaint town of Everwood, nestled in the wooded valley on either side of the babbling stream, there lived an old woman named Jane. Jane was a proud woman, with a wrinkled face and friendly eyes, and she lived in a cute house by the water.

Jane was happy in her home, where she had lived all her life, but she had one worry. Jane had a very beautiful daughter named Lucy, whom she loved very much. Lucy’s golden hair and sapphire blue eyes were the envy of every girl in Everwood, but still Lucy spent all of her time alone by the gurgling stream or beneath the towering trees.

One day, Jane watched Lucy playing alone in the meadow, running in the long, waving grass. Though the little girl was smiling, Jane worried that Lucy felt lonely, and vowed to do something to make it better. Not far from Everwood, a wise woman was rumoured to live in a little cabin, deep in the forest. Jane decided to go to her and ask for help.

The next morning, Jane set out along the winding road into the forest. The birds were singing and squirrels ran along the branches above as she walked. Jane was not afraid of the forest, as so many of the residents of Everwood were, for she saw the wonder in nature and knew no harm would come to her.

Suddenly, Jane came to a clearing in the trees. In the middle of the clearing, a wooden cabin stood, with purple foxgloves and bright poppies in a little garden by the front door. Jane refused to be mastered by her fear and bravely approached the blue door, knocking three times. Very soon, the wise woman opened the door, peering at Jane from behind thick spectacles, and asking her how she could help.

Jane was very afraid, but she explained her worrying situation to the wise woman. The wise woman nodded, understanding, and invited Jane to sit in her garden while she prepared a remedy. While Jane waited, she admired the beautiful flowers and watched as the bees gathered nectar to take to the hive. It wasn’t long before the wise woman returned, and she carried in her arms a bag made of crimson cloth. Within, a poultice of herbs and spices cast an aroma that made Jane feel sleepy and lightheaded. The wise woman told Jane that the poultice would cure her haemorrhoids as well as her daughter’s loneliness and Jane felt her heart swell with gratitude.

Quickly, Jane returned to Everwood, stopping only to eat magic mushrooms and dance with the fairies along the way. When she arrived home the sun was setting, and Lucy was asleep in the armchair beside the fire. Quietly, Jane applied the poultice, and then she laid the child in her bed, tucking the blankets around her small shoulders.

The following day, Lucy went out to school, skipping down the path as usual. Later, Jane was astonished to see all the children in Everwood returning, dancing as they came along the road. From that day forward, Lucy was never lonely again.

What I would LIKE to be saying at this point is "Go ahead, run it through an AI detector!" But I can spare you the time.

At first, things went well. The first three or four paragraphs were identified as AI or a significant proportion AI. I was elated. I felt the mastery of my human craft coursing through my veins. I was able to utilise my skill and experience to write like I wasn't even a writer! Surely the greatest achievement of literature!

Then I must have got a little cocky. And after that, I got a little facetious. And then, really really bored. And AI KNEW damn it, AI knew. The bottom half - human text, or human text with a very small percentage of AI assistance. Gah! Stupid Woman!

I proclaimed this out loud. "Stupid Woman." My daughter, who often claims worthlessness, idiocy or lack of deserving in the face of minor errors looked at me sternly from the other sofa. "Krubby" she said, because why would my children ever call me something pleasingly cutesy, "Krubby, you're not stupid just because you cant write like AI." She meant it nicely, I'm sure. I agreed with her and stored this up for next time she lays claim to gross inferiority after stroking the cat in a way displeasing to the beast. On a side note, I very rarely call myself stupid since giving birth to my children, not because I have ceased to have moments of stupidity, but because I don't want to model for them such punitive self talk, and what is more, I don't think "stupid" is a very valuable word applied to a multifaceted human being. This was a rare slip and was actually a statement of frustration as I had just remembered I had something much more important to do that I had not done, in favour of attempting to write a story emulating the stories composed by a technology I deplore the use of when it comes to writing stories. If the word stupid has any validity, this would perhaps be its moment.

To the matter at hand. AI knew. One detector seemed actually pleased to let me know that my essay was not going to have me up for cheating. I was gutted. Disproportionately gutted. But I am not a stupid woman, on balance, and I decided to waste no further time finessing my faux story. What gave me away? I fear it was emotion that revealed my hand. I went about my first three or four paragraphs procedurally, an exercise in mimicry, though I was careful not to refer to any source material lest it become copying. And then - "oh the cleverness of me! Tee hee, how far can I push, you dumb machine, think you can play me, do you? You know what? Doing this badly is pointless and doing it well is boring, I'm just going to finish."

There are things machines do much, much better than us. Vigilance and consistency up against our fatiguing brains and impatience. And they know it. They know us when they see us. Us human beings and our unreliable, wandering, beautiful, playful brains.

I'd say they'd probably be jealous if they could be, but they know they'll get there in the end.

fact or fiction

About the Creator

Hannah Moore

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Comments (18)

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  • Joe O’Connor3 months ago

    Loved reading this Hannah. I thought at first that you had written your intro to be AI-mimicry as well haha- all the "I's". Your Everwood story reads exactly like an AI-generated fantasy, fairy-tale, and I feel like we've all seen the like scattered across Vocal unfortunately...easy to spot thankfully. I love the self-deprecating yet self-awareness you have, and it makes for an engaging, entertaining, yet though-provoking read. " I don't think "stupid" is a very valuable word applied to a multifaceted human being." this is quietly profound, and it stuck out to me as i read your article:)

  • L.C. Schäfer3 months ago

    This is ingenius 😁

  • Marti Maley3 months ago

    This was so interesting. I love your writing style. Congrats on your achievement, very inspiring!

  • Babs Iverson3 months ago

    Hannah, congratulations on your 151 story!!! It was a fun and entertaining read!!! Loved ir!!!❤️❤️💕

  • Novel Allen3 months ago

    Have they already taken over. Are we in the matrix and nor know it. Are they toying with us, making us think that we are in charge. This is battle we have already lost, I fear.

  • Aye-yay-yay-yay-ai! That was fun, Hannah.

  • Caroline Craven3 months ago

    The wise woman told Jane that the poultice would cure her haemorrhoids as well as her daughter’s loneliness and Jane felt her heart swell with gratitude. I laughed so hard. This was probably when AI realized you were messing about! So good Hannah. Love this.

  • D.K. Shepard3 months ago

    This was fascinating! What an intriguing experiment! I’m so unfamiliar with AI so pieces like this I find to be quite illuminating

  • Donna Renee3 months ago

    🤣🤣 you were nailing it and then… it just got too interesting and weird and unpredictable! Lol’d at the mushrooms 🍄 This was hilarious 😆

  • Test3 months ago

    This is hillarious. Not writing like AI is a good thing! I

  • Hahahahahahahaha this was hilarious! Thank you so much for making my day!

  • John Cox3 months ago

    Just as I was thinking myself ‘Hannah has nailed this,’ the story starting getting better, and then humorous and finally the slap stick broke through as I succumbed to uncontrollable giggling. Although your mistake was to make the story too long to sustain the ruse, I glad that is what you did since the explanatory wrapper that you delivered this delicious feast in was even more fun than the story!

  • Mackenzie Davis3 months ago

    "To the matter at hand. AI knew. One detector seemed actually pleased to let me know that my essay was not going to have me up for cheating. I was gutted. Disproportionately gutted." LOL. You know, if I'd put in as much work to trick AI into thinking I was one of them, (the grammar there isn't grammaring, but whatever), I would be disproportionately gutted too, I think. I wonder if you made the story too complex past the third paragraph, too INTERESTING, and less weird and random like I would expect an AI fairytale to become. To be honest though, as long as a human is writing it, their soul will poke thru. That's what AI can never emulate, no matter how good it gets. Awesome article, Hannah.

  • JBaz3 months ago

    I think Ai is getting better and harder to detect, that is the facts. No matter how we feel about it or how superior we feel we are. Sure sometimes we know, the worst part about all this is that it will start paranoia happening , writers will see Ai influences every where and start accusing people. Some falsely. I did like your take on it and saw humor, but I saw the future as well.

  • Rachel Deeming3 months ago

    I think the fact that you did this is hilarious! I think I can tell AI by reading it because most of the time, I find it lacklustre and tedious. I experienced that in the first paragraphs of your experiment but after that, it felt a lot more lively! Ha ha!

  • This is an educational story . Thank you for your observations .

  • A lot of interesting observations here, excellent work

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