There’s a curious revolution afoot in the world of writing—a paradigm shift, if you will, driven by the rise of artificial intelligence (AI). This revolution is changing the way we perceive the roles of humans and AI in the creative process.

As a writer who’s been piloting these uncharted waters, I’ve observed a pivotal transition: humans transitioning from being the word generator to the concept creator, and AI stepping up as the word generator. And let me tell you, it’s more profound than you’d think.

For ages, the process of writing has been a dual endeavor—the creation of concepts and the generation of words to embody those concepts. Both these roles have traditionally been the purview of the human author. But with AI entering the arena, things are shifting. AI can now generate the words, leaving the crucial role of concept creation to the humans. The implication? A seismic shift in the dynamics of the writing process.

But here’s where it gets even more intriguing. The term “generating” is itself a bit of a misnomer when we talk about AI. Tossing a prompt at an AI and expecting it to “generate” words won’t necessarily create anything meaningful. That’s like handing a paintbrush to a toddler and expecting a Monet masterpiece. The missing link? Clear direction.

The future of writing is less about “writing” in the traditional sense and more about “directing” AI to articulate our ideas. This reframing of the writing process aligns perfectly with the progression of human communication over the ages. It’s not so much a disruption but rather a reversion to our roots—going back to the time before written language existed.

Let’s go back in time, to an era where stories and ideas were passed down orally, before the written word became the primary medium of communication. In this period, the focus was not on the medium of communication but on the essence of the idea or the story that was being conveyed. The words, the language, were merely tools—what mattered was the strength and resonance of the concept.

Imagine an elder of a tribe narrating a tale around a campfire, a tale that holds the shared history, wisdom, and collective identity of their people. The words, the language he uses, are important, yes, but they are not the core. The core is the concept, the ideas, the meaning embedded within the tale. That’s the real thing of value being communicated. The words are merely vessels carrying the precious cargo of human thought.

Fast forward to today. In the age of AI, we’re back at a similar crossroads. As humans, our primary role in the writing process is evolving. Our main job isn’t to generate words anymore. It’s to create concepts—to be the wellspring of ideas. And AI? Its job is to take those ideas and translate them into words. But this can only happen effectively when we give clear direction to the AI, when we guide it to articulate the depth and nuances of our ideas.

So, what’s the crux of the matter? It’s this: we’re not just writers anymore. We’re directors, conductors if you will, guiding the symphony of words that AI can produce, steering it towards a harmony that effectively communicates our ideas. 

In this new landscape, the labels of “writer” or “author” may fade. But remember, labels do not define us. They do not encapsulate the whole of what we do. The heart of our role as humans in the writing process is to be the genesis of ideas, the creators of concepts.

And that, my friend, is a role no AI can take over. No matter how advanced AI becomes, the spark of creativity, the generation of original ideas—those will always be uniquely human.

So, as we embrace this new era, let’s not get bogged down by the mechanics of “how” ideas are communicated. Let’s focus instead on the “what”—the concepts, the ideas because that’s what truly matters.

J. Thorn is an author, publisher, entrepreneur, and AI enthusiast. He publishes a free weekly newsletter about AI for artists and creative professionals at

Published in issue #144 Special AI Discovery Issue July 2023