Has AI Killed Cervantes? Maybe Just as Much as Nietzsche and We Have Killed God | Detox No. 3

The simplest objects crafted by human hands can still beat AI's "artistic creations."

Has AI Killed Cervantes? Maybe Just as Much as Nietzsche and We Have Killed God | Detox No. 3
By Nick Pedulla

This site celebrates craftsmanship, especially of the handcrafted variety. Crafting is a broad term—a dentist like my father-in-law crafts perfect teeth, and a writer crafts stories with pen and ink. Yet, with robots and computers taking over, we're slowly forgetting basic skills like math, long replaced by calculators.

We still speak and understand grammar, but like math, we're losing the art of expression, with AI threatening to make our writing skills as outdated as doing calculus by hand. The dilemma is: when does a skill stop being a craft? I relish complicated books and try to weave sophisticated words into my writing. However, my grasp of English grammar isn't strong, so I turn to AI for help. But too much AI can strip the essence of writing.

I've experimented with different writing blends—purely my own, a mix of me and AI, mostly AI. My authentic writing resonates more but is time-consuming, often requiring proofreading help from my native English-speaking wife. I've pondered how relying on AI might stunt my growth in mastering writing beyond basic storytelling and persuasive communication.

Today's exercise is straightforward: just correct grammar and structure, avoiding fancy AI styles. It's about finding a balance while keeping the craft alive in the age of technology. We will explore AI's impact on the future of our children through an impactful video, then analyze if AI can compare to true craftsmanship by seeing a true craftsman, Nick Pedulla, working on a simple yet amazing workbench, and finally review the impact on culture with some insights by Joe Rogan and Sam Altman.

What is "Detox?"

Its a weekly curation email series with content designed for inspiration, without the endless scrolling of social media. Your free digital escape for a healthier online experience! I sift through the social media clutter and online content, so you don't have to—reflections on three gems that focus on family, craftsmanship, entrepreneurship, or culture.

Now, let's check some AI-related gems I have found for today's edition.

Family: Hello, Mom. Why do You Share That Photo of Me? @MarioNawfal

This one hits home. Like most of you, I am quick to share pictures of my family on social media, not just traditional social media. If you use WhatsApp, email, or any other traditional big tech-owned communication method, you are exactly in the same boat. Food for thought here on this one, and I hope you and I can take some steps back to protect the future of our children and grandchildren.

Craftsmanship: True Craftsmanship is Safe From AI, The Making of a Workbench. @PedullaStudio

Here's the good news: Cervantes has not been killed by AI. You can't kill craftsmanship. In fact, I bet that handcrafted items will only rise in value over time as skilled workers become scarce. You cannot ask AI to write "Don Quixote de La Mancha" or to create the Sistine Chapel. Those works go beyond mere technique; they are a living testament to the human heart and creativity. For today's craftsmanship piece, I decided to go with Nick Pedulla, an Australian-based woodworker. I have followed him for over ten years now. He's an amazing woodworker with a keen eye for beauty. Let his workbench, the piece that is supposed to be elementary, practical, and organized but not too beautiful as is supposed "to be used", be a testament to what human craftsmanship can achieve and no AI can compare. Yes, the simplest objects crafted by human hands can still beat AI's "artistic creations."

And if you have doubts and tell me that AI can compare, I challenge you to send me a single piece crafted by any AI machine alone, with this level of ingenuity and beauty. We are just not there yet, and call me old school, but I don't think we will get there.

Which leads me to culture.

Culture: Sam Altman and Joe Rogan on AI and Society

How has AI affected our culture? Well, let's go back to the proverbial calculator, shall we? Who are the "gifted" or genius students among us? They are the ones who, even without a calculator, can perform complex mental operations quickly. The job of teachers for gifted students is to guide them in developing their genius spark in a system that tries to create cookie-cutter replicas called students.

AI may seem to close this gap, but only on paper, in unsupervised tests, when the situation doesn't call for a bright and human mind to make split-second decisions over critical mental operations where life is in the balance. Two things will happen. The one who uses AI to just jump bridges will keep doing basic operations, writing simply, and speaking tastelessly until they become obsolete. They may be able to work in an obsolete team and do things in a robotic way but will never achieve true ingenuity. On the contrary, the gifted mind, in addition to knowing how to harness technology, will always have ingenuity as the reins to guide technology in creating new things.

The cost of intelligence is high. AI will bridge this gap by providing us with cheaper intelligence that will help overcome more mundane tasks at a lower cost. But true intelligence will become more scarce, just like a true craftsman. As with anything in life, there is no black-and-white answer; there are many shades of gray in the middle.

I leave you with Sam Altman and Joe Rogan talking about this right here:

Hope you enjoy my article, want to learn more about this website and me? Go here. Most of my publications are members-only (free or paid), and the content is for family, entrepreneurship, and handcraft enthusiasts, whether as a hobby or profession. Sign up here. Already a member? Simply sign in to comment on this post or read the member-only posts! sign in

Parable of the Madman by Nietzsche

Now, let me leave you with the parable of the Madman. In the previous century, we thought that we had indeed killed God. We positioned ourselves with enough knowledge to prove God was no longer needed. But we quickly saw what a world without God's values looks like, in what was known as the bloodiest century in history. God is not dead; the Judeo-Christian values that keep our society semi-sane are more needed than ever. Just in the same way, we will not kill creativity (because true creation capability comes from The Creator). We will need it more than ever. It will come back to us to pass on the bill for copyright infringement on things that are designed to be creativity-driven, not AI-driven.

You cannot create your own values, just as you cannot create creativity. Nietzsche knew enough to understand that killing God would leave us without a sufficient tool to clean up the bloodbath resulting from such an act. Similarly, we will not possess enough mental power to avoid becoming a less intelligent society if you relegate creativity to machines.

THE MADMAN-—Have you not heard of that madman who lit a lantern in the bright morning hours, ran to the market place, and cried incessantly: "I seek God! I seek God!"—As many of those who did not believe in God were standing around just then, he provoked much laughter. Has he got lost? asked one. Did he lose his way like a child? asked another. Or is he hiding? Is he afraid of us? Has he gone on a voyage? emigrated?—Thus they yelled and laughed

The madman jumped into their midst and pierced them with his eyes. "Whither is God?" he cried; "I will tell you. We have killed him---you and I. All of us are his murderers. But how did we do this? How could we drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the entire horizon? What were we doing when we unchained this earth from its sun? Whither is it moving now? Whither are we moving? Away from all suns? Are we not plunging continually? Backward, sideward, forward, in all directions? Is there still any up or down? Are we not straying, as through an infinite nothing? Do we not feel the breath of empty space? Has it not become colder? Is not night continually closing in on us? Do we not need to light lanterns in the morning? Do we hear nothing as yet of the noise of the gravediggers who are burying God? Do we smell nothing as yet of the divine decomposition? Gods, too, decompose. God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him.

"How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it? There has never been a greater deed; and whoever is born after us---for the sake of this deed he will belong to a higher history than all history hitherto."

Here the madman fell silent and looked again at his listeners; and they, too, were silent and stared at him in astonishment. At last he threw his lantern on the ground, and it broke into pieces and went out. "I have come too early," he said then; "my time is not yet. This tremendous event is still on its way, still wandering; it has not yet reached the ears of men. Lightning and thunder require time; the light of the stars requires time; deeds, though done, still require time to be seen and heard. This deed is still more distant from them than most distant stars---and yet they have done it themselves.

It has been related further that on the same day the madman forced his way into several churches and there struck up his requiem aeternam deo. Led out and called to account, he is said always to have replied nothing but: "What after all are these churches now if they are not the tombs and sepulchers of God?"

Internet Modern History Sourcebook

Friederic Nietzsche (1844-1900):

Parable of the Madman


Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science (1882, 1887) para. 125; Walter Kaufmann ed. (New York: Vintage, 1974), pp.181-82.]

This text is part of the Internet Modern History Sourcebook. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts for introductory level classes in modern European and World history.

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Goodbye and until the next one!