‘The writing profession is now dead and defunct’, that’s what I heard a few days ago.

I would have started crying.

I saw a dream shattered. OK someone will say: ‘Well of course at the age of 50 still having professional dreams, that seems a bit excessive? Childish? Utopian?” Well, yes! Put it how you like, but I still have some dreams in my drawer, and I believe it is essential to have them in order to move forward. Dreams are goals, they are sap, they are hope.

Hearing those words killed my hope. Which one? Maybe the one that AI was not yet so structured that it could kill a dream. Because that’s what that gentleman said that AI is now becoming more and more formed and soon the various content creators, copywriters and writers will be useless, at least in the current sense.

What will be needed then? “We will need someone to nurture this AI, to provide it with the material, the knowledge and the data, so that it can replace us” So continued my interlocutor.

Now, it’s not that I want to be tragic and freak out. I know very well that this is all part of progress and that it will somehow be unstoppable. But described like this, I can see us obsessively filling the furnace of a steam locomotive launched at full speed “towards infinity and beyond” * with coal.

But I say to myself, is it possible that the human part of man counts for so little? It is true that lately we are witnessing performances that have very little that is human, but I find it hard to imagine myself in a world in which ‘letters’ in the broadest sense, are entirely entrusted to machines and devoid of a soul.


The same evening, I watched ‘9’, a little-known animated film in Italy, produced by Tim Burton and based on the short film of the same name from a few years earlier. Intense, touching, moving, at times funny and clumsy. Set in a dystopian, post-apocalyptic future, where a rag doll wakes up in an abandoned laboratory where a scientist is lying on the floor, dead. The doll has the number 9 stamped on its back, which becomes its name. 9 picks up a kind of talisman and goes off to begin his adventures, joining others like him: the few lefts after a catastrophe unleashed by an infernal machine, which absorbs the souls of all living creatures.


The machine is the brainchild of the same scientist who lies dead at the beginning of the film. He wanted to create a mechanical brain for scientific purposes, but then a bloodthirsty dictator forced him to turn it into a producer of other war machines. The brain-machine rebelled and began to exterminate humans. The scientist created the dolls accordingly, grafting parts of his own soul into them. 9 is the repository of the numerical sequence to open the talisman and stop the machine. Humanity’s only and last hope


I will not, of course, reveal the ending, but I will quote a line from the film referring to the Machine: ‘Because it had no human soul and could be corrupted by anyone who controlled it’.

Here is the difference between man and machine: the soul.

If we are not able to instil something like the human soul into the AI, it can be corrupted and bent to any use. Some will object that the performance of certain human souls recently is more akin to that of a corrupted machine than anything else. But I would like to refer to the kind of soul that can distinguish right from wrong and make a conscious choice. Man too can be corrupted and with him, his soul. But human corruption can perhaps still be controlled or suppressed. What can a corrupted machine do?

Now I certainly do not want to engage in an anachronistic invective against progress or a Luddite revolt. Progress is vital and inevitable, as were the flying fuse and steam-powered looms during the First Industrial Revolution. I just think it must be embraced and guided wisely. I think man must accompany the machine and give it the right inputs. I think that as well as nurturing it, he must accompany it sensibly. I think its use must be regulated. It will serve little purpose, there will still be those who will make unhealthy use of it, because the fact is that we will never be able to give it a soul. We will not be able to make it human, we will not be able to give it emotions and dreams. 

I do not believe I am ready to give up my dreams in favour of a soulless entity.

I accompany this writing from my soul and my twisted brain with this piece: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GEkQR9Wzock

Intense, enveloping and touching. It almost seems to anticipate what is described in the dystopian future of 9.

* Quote from Buzz Lightyear movies series

By Cinzia Costi

One thought on “Has the Writer’s Craft Died?”

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