The AI-Writing Paradox

Debra Lawal
9 min readApr 12, 2024


My father must have been using ChatGPT for over 50 years based on how people think AI-generated content can be identified at a glance. Well-written content isn’t always AI-generated. If it’s AI-generated, does that mean it’s well-written? Does the content serve its intended purpose? The quality of writing is more about the writer’s skill than the tool used.

The key difference is that writing tools are more accessible to everyone, and there’s no proper ethical regulation of their use. It’s easy for people to feel entitled to judge written content. Suppose it were a design or data application being used more indiscriminately.

In that case, the conversation might be limited to those in the field rather than becoming a public debate on social media condemning all well-written content from now on. Good writing requires creativity, flair, and uniqueness, among other skills, before it can elicit a ‘wow’ from the reader.

AI has been used in various tools and applications for a while, even before ChatGPT was launched. Search engines rely on it to provide relevant results; social media algorithms help your favorites remain relevant; Siri and Alexa depend on natural language processing and speech recognition; Netflix and Spotify use AI recommendation systems to ensure you always see K-drama and K-pop on your feed as a fan, and so on. AI enhances human ideas, not just in writing but across many other fields as well.

Writing With AI is Inevitable

Case in point, Chinese Nobel laureate Mo Yan surprised the audience during the 65th-anniversary celebration of Shouhuo magazine by revealing that he uses ChatGPT. He gave a speech praising fellow author Yu Hua and presented a book award to him during the event.

“The person receiving this award is truly remarkable, and, of course, he is also my good friend. He is extraordinary, so I must be, too. A few days ago, I was supposed to write a commendation for him as per tradition, but I struggled for several days and couldn’t come up with anything. So I asked a doctoral student to help me by using ChatGPT.”

This revelation caused an audible gasp from the audience because Mo Yan, a Nobel Prize winner, used AI to write his speech, which was unexpected.

He is not the only one. Rie Kudan, the 17th winner of Japan’s most prestigious literary award, the Akutagawa Prize, has admitted to using ChatGPT to help write her novel, Tokyo-to Dojo-to. “Around 5% of the book is made up of AI-generated sentences,” she said.

Author Kudan, who I believe shares my introverted nature, confessed that her frequent interactions with the AI tool allowed her to express her most personal thoughts, which she ‘can’t discuss with anyone else.’ She further revealed that ChatGPT’s responses often sparked dialogue in her novel, adding a unique dimension to her writing process.

As I write now, Grammarly is why I don’t sound as irritated as I am after seeing online conversations about AI-generated content. Grammarly is another tool that uses AI for editing and proofreading, and most of us used it before the launch of ChatGPT in 2022.

Having used Grammarly since 2018, I can attest to its role in maintaining a promotional tone in my emails and messages. It’s not just about correcting my spelling but also about ensuring I don’t sound sarcastic, bored, or irritated. Sometimes, when I forget the spelling of a common word like ‘was,’ Grammarly steps in, sparing me the need to ask my dad for help constantly.

The Problem with Sounding Alike & The Uniqueness of a writer’s voice

The issue is that many written works sound very similar these days. Writers need to develop their own unique voices. I greatly admire and respect Jane Austen, Mary Shelley, and the Bronte sisters, but I don’t want my writing to mirror theirs. Using too ornate and fancy language interferes with the primary purpose of communication, just like having to look up the meaning of a phrase. This would make your speech overly flamboyant, similar to the settings in Oscar Wilde’s works.

The issue is not that AI is enabling people to produce well-crafted content. Many individuals possess exceptional writing skills and a vast vocabulary. The real problem is the uniformity in everyone’s writing, a lack of diversity that AI perpetuates.

On a side note, some discussions about AI resemble conspiracy theories from the early 2000s, when people believed that using cell phones meant getting the mark of the beast. While the context has changed, some conversations still have a similar tone.

The Importance of Creativity in Writing & Our Language

The main issue is that everyone’s writing sounds similar. I’m thankful to those close to me who emphasized the importance of maintaining my own voice when I started writing professionally. I’m still striving to achieve the level of uniqueness @ahmadelyo displays on Instagram.

We all have distinct voices when we speak, so why should our writing all sound the same? This has been a significant problem with the emergence of Generative AI for humans — a lack of creativity.

Even AI relies on our creativity. It’s easy to assume that machines can do it all, but without our input, they’d end up repeating the same things repeatedly. Nothing new, nothing special, and nothing exciting. The whole concept of machine learning in AI is about learning from us, from our creativity. Our role is crucial and a testament to the value of our unique voices.

Developing a unique voice takes time and effort, but it’s crucial. This is why creatives, artists, and writers like Kelly McKernan, Nicki Minaj, Elin Hilderbrand, and Jonathan Franzen are suing AI companies for copyright infringement.

These unique voices significantly impact the evolution of language over time. For the sake of everyone and everything, it’s important for us to continue growing creatively in how we communicate. We need to acknowledge these voices and preserve them. But how and why should we do that?

Writers hold a unique power in language evolution. They can create new words or phrases that captivate readers’ imaginations. Over time, these innovations can become part of common usage, enriching the language. A writer’s distinctive style can also set trends that others follow, leading to significant changes in language use. This power is in our hands, and it’s our responsibility to use it wisely.

For instance, how famous writers structure their narratives or use dialogue might inspire others. If you’ve kept up with the latest updates from the Oxford and Merriam-Webster dictionaries, you may already know that Dr. Seuss coined the term “nerd,” J.R.R. Tolkien introduced “tween,” and Charles Dickens gave us “boredom.”

Writing Through the Centuries

Writing has evolved over the centuries, influencing the development of language. During the Victorian and Renaissance eras, writers conveyed their ideas through fundamental thoughts, emotional expressions, rhythm, and virtuous language.

These changes in English over several centuries have led to shifts in writing styles. Literary trends continue to evolve due to diverse social and educational backgrounds, generational differences, life experiences, and geographical variations. For example, 20th-century literature depicted a fast-paced society dominated by faceless technologies and machine learning, transforming traditional literature.

The internet, digital media, and other innovations have expanded vocabulary, language use, and literary expression. Globalization has influenced writing styles, and social media has also impacted literary expression.

Writing systems typically develop more slowly than spoken counterparts, often preserving characteristics and idioms lost to the spoken language.

The evolution of languages is directly linked to our ability to communicate with each other and the wider population. English, for example, has been influenced by various native languages over the ages and has assimilated interesting words and phrases, making it richer and more appealing. (The Nigerian pidgin language serves as a great example of this).

It’s not just about changing the words we use but also how we use them. Our culture, beliefs, fashion, values, art, and technology shape our communication.

As language evolves and responds to cultural shifts, writers play a key role in reflecting and influencing these changes through their work. They capture the spirit of the times in their narratives, which can influence how people think and speak.

Therefore, a great way to develop a unique voice is to translate your spoken language into writing. Write in your distinct cultural, educational, social, and professional context. Like fingerprints and palm prints, these are unique to each individual, even among siblings.

The patterns of ridges and furrows on our fingers and palms form during fetal development and are influenced by genetic and environmental factors. This combination ensures that even identical twins have distinct fingerprints and palm prints.

The growth of language over the years

The Brontë sisters (Charlotte, Emily, and Anne) had distinct writing styles and thematic concerns, though they shared some similarities. Their works were influenced by their shared upbringing and environment.

Writing and language development has been a continuous progression throughout human history. In the 21st century, we have moved towards more comfortable and casual styles as opposed to the formal and restrictive styles of the 18th century. However, with the rise of generative AI, there is a concern that we are becoming too comfortable to make necessary changes.

Writers can play a vital role in preserving language, especially dialects or forms of speech that are in danger of disappearing. By using these forms in their works, they can keep them alive and introduce them to new audiences.

In today's interconnected world, a writer’s voice is not confined to linguistic and cultural boundaries. It has the power to transcend, influencing other languages and literary traditions. This can result in the exchange of styles and even words between languages, showcasing the profound influence of writers on language evolution.

How writers employ their voice and tone can impact how readers engage with the text, interpret the message, and perceive the brand or the writer themselves. This engagement can lead to discussions and the spreading of ideas, further influencing language use.

Every writer must acknowledge these responsibilities and put in the work, even if they utilize AI.

I have tried writing with ChatGPT, and it took much longer than usual because editing, proofreading, and organizing my ideas took longer than expected. I also had issues with the tone and style. It’s not a matter of prompts because I used what were supposed to be the best prompts from AI engineers, but the result differed from what I would research and write myself.

Using AI to write does not guarantee that the content will turn out well and win awards, as in Rie Kudan’s case. The quality of written content depends on the writer’s ability to express themselves clearly. While AI can be helpful in some cases, there is only so much it can do if the content is poorly written.

If you choose to use AI, do so in your own voice and context. Certain AI-generated words or phrases, such as “delve,” “dive,” “unlock,” “in today’s world,” “master,” etc., were once used freely, but they now may trigger negative responses in communication.

Moving forward, consider these as taboos and rephrase them using your own words and synonyms, but don’t be discouraged from enhancing your content with AI. Just remember to use your voice because our language's development depends on your voice's growth.




Debra Lawal

Tech Blogger | Aspiring AI SME | Passionate about savvy tech developments for creative processes.