The King's Scribes
Should you write for search engines?

Is AI (Artificial Intelligence) "dangerous?" Is it a good thing, or is it a bad thing? Will it take away our (human) jobs, or simply make the ones we have easier and more rewarding? How close are we to humanity's doomsday at the hands of machines (and chips?)

The answer is: not that close. If anything, humanity is perfectly capable of performing the ultimate self-sacrifice on its own.

Then again, these questions are legitimate: computer scientists have made substantial and visible progress in the field of AI over the last few years. A lot of those activities we so far thought were human in nature, are, or will soon turn out to be, not so human after all. It may simply be that humans don't need to do anything.

Part bluster and hype, part real, the advances in AI-driven technologies are making their way into the public consciousness.  And people are wondering what's over the hill; what's coming for them; what they should do about it -- if anything.

  • Should my kids bother learning to drive?
    • Cars will drive themselves in less than a decade.
  • Should my kids bother learning anything?
    • Google already knows everything.
  • Should I learn a new skill?
    • Robots may soon do it for me.
  • Should I go to work?
    • Remote work is already commonplace.
  • How likely is it that an artificial being will replace me at my job in the next decade?
    • Quite likely. You'll just have to find another.

The bright side of this story is that many, if not most of the jobs that AI will eventually replace are and always were completely useless. They were created by the need to feed the same machines and programs that run them. Let's look at an example that is close to our preferred subject here: SEO.

The need for the search engine optimization (SEO) was created the same day the Web was born. Before that day, you, a human, had to go to libraries filled with physical documents to get the information you wanted. While public libraries were invented millennials ago, their advent did not spawn a billion fake jobs; it did not force half the planet's population into becoming writers, designers, and developers just to support them; and it did not create an entire industry around hacking library cards and optimizing books and their content for the Dewey Decimal Classification system.

Finally, the invention of libraries did not create a monstrous content industry: words and images created solely for the sake of words and images. The prevalence of Google and its peers in the realm of knowledge has created a huge, gig-economy-powered slave industry that runs on the fuel of unsuspecting wannabe writers. Those are the journalists and writers who keep pumping words and images into the Net for no one to read but the search engines. These people are content mill slaves. Their job is to spin "unique" articles at the rate of 3-5  a day. All these pieces are usually nothing but slight variations of previous work, combined with that of others, re-hashed, reworded and decorated in ways that make them sound different to the search engines that feed on them. 8 ways to do this. 13 things that do that. 20 things you didn't know. How to feed your dog. How to pet your cat. 20 tweets that changed the world. How to write a blog every day. 7 ways AI will change your life.

We need a green new deal on the Web in order to get rid of the content pollution that we created. Ironically, if any job can, and should, be replaced by AI, it has to be that of the content writer.



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