ChatGPT. Yes, I was also lured in, beguiled by its playful smile and the promise of endless answers to my every question. And joining the ranks, I was soon led to stare into a bleak future projected by the doomsday prophets of our time — a vision of AI’s shadow lengthening and devouring all human creativity and expression.
And left was…
Well. It was not quite like that. But kinda.
Being a company that still lingers in pre-industrial-revolution times, I have thought a lot about what AI means for the stuff that is made by hands and minds. What will happed to those passion filled moments where your fingers make a constant drumroll on the keyboard, your paintbrush moves so fast it splats paint in your face, and you don’t even notice it — because you are caught in the moment of creation.
I mentioned the industrial revolution. The AI revolution is much like what the industrial revolution would be for knitters and other makers-by-hand. Only this time it is creative workers and intellectual property that are sacrificed on the altar of speed.
And that is where I find myself. Among all the existential questions that arise when staring AI dead in the eye, wondering if it was a glimpse of sentience I just witnessed. I think about the altar of speed, and how much passion has been sacrificed upon it long before AI was even conceived of.
We want everything faster, but the world has a threshold. Speed breaks it. Speed breaks us.
Slow fashion is much more to us than just fashion
In the beginning of Red Hat Factory, I had no idea why I started it. It happened so organically, in a rush of inspiration — some from myself, some from my peers. But as I’ve lived with this ongoing experiment of a company for years, something has coalesced — and it is the very thing that was there from the beginning. The value of the patience it takes to knit a beanie.
Extend that into other forms of creation. Whether you are climbing, fishing, painting — as long as you rush, you will miss out on what you’re doing. It is a luxury to enjoy the moment — not given everyone or at all times — but too often, once we’re granted the space to enjoy, we tend to just rush onward towards something else.
And paradoxically, it is this very race towards a castle of clouds that causes a lack of freedom for so many workers across the world. Strained production chains, ever stretched by revenue driven owners and companies so large they can’t hold up under their own weight.
And while we have more things at our fingertips than ever — did we forfeit the peace of mind to enjoy it?
I am a master of this. I get caught up in the world that rushes by me, and am captured by its demanding tone. And then I’m in there threading water, just pushing hard to get my tasks over and done with.
But every river has its banks.
Take a breather. Go for a walk. Turn off the TV just for one full Saturday. Leave your phone at home. Allow that silence to challenge your life choices. Whatever it takes. When I do these things, I always come back to the same core. I love sitting here in front of the keys and just typing a story — feeling smoke rise from below the keys as passion finds the right words. When I no longer care if you like it or not. What matters is the love for the process of creation, the pain of pushing through, and the prize of reaching completion.
And that’s the thing that AI can never replicate from you as an individual. The enjoyment of the moment of creation — and the pleasure of having pushed through till the end.
Unless AI is as sentient as you, of course.