When A.I. intersects with my own little life…

I began to write this blog in May of 2012 when we started serious work on the little cottage where we now live. In fact, we started calling it Apple Hill Cottage because I needed a name for my brand new blog. I kept such accurate records of our remodeling jobs (which is why I started the blog in the first place) that we have since used it many times to look up when we actually put those doors in, or how old is that dishwasher anyway, or what was the date that we moved in full time?

A few years ago I started writing a devotional, based partly on those old posts, and partly on what I’d learned spiritually in those nine or so years of rebuilding an earthly house. I eventually made a blog of those writings and titled it Faith Is the Hammer, Grace Is the Nail. Not so many people read it, and I didn’t do any publicity on it, so when it came up for renewal this year, I decided it was time to end the payments. For the last couple of weeks I’ve been copying and pasting those writings, so I don’t lose them when Faith Is the Hammer goes away on February 20th. (As some point soon, these writings will show up on this home page, if you are interested…)

The process of copying and pasting was mildly frustrating. WordPress wouldn’t always allow me to copy what I wanted to copy, and until I got into a rhythm of how to do it successfully, I lost a good chunk of one post. It was there on my former revisions page. I could see it. But I couldn’t copy it. So I was messing around with some block components that I’d never tried before on the WordPress editor.

Suddenly a paragraph appeared.

The troubling part is They Weren’t My Words.

Oh, they made sense enough, but I knew what I’d been trying to paste, and this paragraph wasn’t it. I reread it. It sort of made sense. But it wasn’t really what I’d been trying to say. In fact, as I read it a third and fourth time, I realized that it REALLY wasn’t what I’d been trying to say. I checked again what link I’d pushed. And sure enough, there in the Tools Bar is a little button labeled AI Paragraph (experimental). (It looks like a shield with a lightning bolt through it.) I just clicked on it again, and here’s what A.I. came up with:

Then I had an epiphany. What if A.I. could interpret my thoughts and write on my behalf? Instead of painstakingly trying to get my thoughts down on paper, I could simply tell a machine what was on my mind and have it come up with an accurate representation of my ideas.

The potential application of this technology has applications throughout everyday life. For example: potential uses could range from helping to automate the sifting of resumes for job applications, to helping teachers compose effective lesson plans.

If A.I. can help me to…

If A.I. can help me to… Well, I just want to say WHAT? Do I really want a bot interpreting my thoughts and writing on my behalf?

(Here I just want to insert a paragraph to tell you, dear readers, that all my writings have been my own, unless I have specifically quoted someone, in which case I always told you who–as in PERSON–I quoted.)

Just reread that charming A.I. paragraph above: it suggests that A.I. could help teachers compose lesson plans… or it could help me write my novel when I am stuck… or it could write on my behalf and help me finish this post. I hope you are as horrified by this as I am.

The above A.I. written paragraph actually is not what I would say at all. And the thought that a bot wrote it, and I can claim it as my own is Creepy, Terrifying, and Unreal. Yes, of course, I’ve heard about Twitter bots, and Russian bots on Facebook, but I have deleted all my social networks except this blog. And I never thought that this A.I bot stuff would ever affect me personally. Turns out I might have been living with my head in the sand (which is often my preferred method). Who knows what I’ve been reading online and who might have written it. Or rather what wrote it? Can I scream here?

The interesting thing is that the A.I. bot continues to learn what one is writing about and changes from one paragraph to another. If I deleted the paragraph above, and then tried to insert it somewhere else in the writing, it would read differently. To read some fascinating articles about the new A.I. program that Microsoft just released, try this: ‘I want to be human.’ My intense, unnerving chat with Microsoft’s AI chatbot. Or this one: From Bing to Sidney. Or Microsoft’s response: Microsoft limits Bing A.I. chats.

Here’s the next thing A.I. has to say…

Ah, a cool A.I. intersection!

Despite what the pessimists may have you believe, modern technology can improve our lives. Even on a small scale, like in my own little country life, Artificial Intelligence can draw on real-world data to suggest options, giving me a little bit of brainpower boost.

Take planning meals. My hectic weekly schedule requires something quick and nutritious but tasty, and it’s always a good idea to avoid repeating the same thing too often. With A.I. I can…

Aha. A.I. is trying to get me off track. Maybe I should write about the new sourdough brioche bread that is rising in the kitchen… And did you notice how it defends itself and claims the PESSIMISTS are the ones sounding the alarms? Suddenly Klara and the Sun, the Ishiguro book that I reviewed here, seems no longer Science Fiction, but eerily prescient. And can I just say that I am allowed to call my life little, but a stupid A.I. bot writer is most certainly not.

Here I sit. The Pessimist, the real human writer, sounding the alarm. I can promise you that this post was not written by a Russian, Chinese, or American bot….except for the red parts; who knows where they came from?

этот пост не был написан ни русским, ни китайцем, ни американцем одновременно.

56. the random Messy Beauty of everyday life

I bought a new photo app for my phone the other day for 99 cents. While playing around with Nofinder (just pushing buttons, in other words) this photo was the fourth one I took.
Random messy beauty

I was shocked. It was really just a shot from the back deck here at Apple Hill. None of the others looked like this at all, and I have no idea what I did or how it came out like this. It is totally random, and I’ll probably never be able to recreate the effect, but I love it! It’s messy; it’s beautiful; and it reminds me of a favorite quote from Madeleine L’Engle:

Inspiration usually comes during work, not before it.”

  • That is, don’t wait — just plunge right in;
  • that is, keep working — it will come;
  • that is, while you’re working — don’t forget to say thank you to the Creator who created you to create.

I’ve been thinking about beauty lately because the photos on my recent blog posts have not been beautiful. Yet there is a beauty in messes that only the person close to it, the creator, can see. We know what the mess is going to turn into… Ever made a cake? Flour, eggshells, sugar spilled all over the counter, dirty cups and measuring spoons all over? Yet the end result is a delicious dessert.

20130316-213854.jpgWe’re moving everything out of the kitchen to get ready to lay the floor. I don’t even see this mess because I know it’s just a temporary inconvenience; but if anyone came to visit, they might think we’re applying to be on “Hoarders.” And, really, the entire cottage looks like this right now. There are no “Beautiful Photos” because there just aren’t any. And yet…

This coil of wire is probably not beautiful to you. But I look at that gorgeous roll of BX cable, and I see new wiring in a wonderfully rehabilitated, once dilapidated, old cottage. I see the cost of  it, the hands that labored over it, and what it is replacing — old jumbled up, mouse-chewed, taped-together wires. Now see again with new eyes — Isn’t that a fantastic coil of shiny cable? And just look at this new installation…

What a metaphor for everyday life, for God. Our creator knows and loves us regardless of the mess we are now, because he knows what we will be later: a perfectly created work of art; a delicious dessert; a beautiful house, perfectly wired.

I hope that thought gives you the hope that it gives me…

44. thankfulness 360

it’s my new project.

you’ll see it up there on my pages.

i’m not advertising me, just suggesting it to you.


it is helping me find joy and gratitude again.

i would say

snap out of it, self.

look at your blessings!

my husband said,

what do you have to be depressed about?

he’s right of course.

he usually is (at least about the stuff that matters….)

i blamed it on winter and no sun.

I blamed it on the busy-ness of holidays.

i blamed it on all the bad stuff that’s been happening


around the world


it was Christmas, for goodness sake.

the Joyful time of year.


i wasn’t.

so i’m taking pictures

every day.


all that makes me smile,


the little blessings that make me happy.

and i’m finding it again.

each day with each small thing

i think

is this the one i want to photograph?

and now i’m walking around all day long

thinking about saying thank you to the Creator



my heart is overflowing again.


of one little project.

you don’t even have to look at my photos.

take your own.

and give thanks.