Artificial Intelligence Solves Writer’s Block

            I’ve been thinking about writing an essay about all the dogs I encounter on my walks through Mattapoisett village.

            Unfortunately, a writer’s block has descended upon me, and I have been unable to come up with any good ideas. So, I decided to check out this “AI” thing I have been reading about … that would be “artificial intelligence,” which sounds like an oxymoron to me, but I digress.

            I thought it might spark an idea or two. So, I signed up on one of the popular, open-source chat bot sites. I asked it to offer some suggestions for some snappy thoughts on dogs I encounter on my daily walks around town. For the fun of it, I ask it to do it in my writing style. Here’s what it wrote: “As I strolled through the quaint streets of Mattapoisett, I couldn’t help but notice the abundance of wagging tails and friendly barks that fill the air. Yes, my dear reader, I’m talking about the dogs of Mattapoisett.”

            Yikes, that does sound like me. It went on: “I saw dogs being treated like family members. They were allowed to run free in the parks, play fetch on the beaches …”

            Well not likely! I’m sure people treat their dogs like family but walking free in the park? Doggone it, no! When we had a dog, poor old Daisy used to have to walk on the hot asphalt to get a biscuit at the Ice Cream Slip, while her canine cousins and their scofflaw owners pranced across Shipyard Park ignoring the signs that say no dogs allowed in the park.

            As far as “play fetch on the beaches,” forget about it. That was outlawed long ago. No dogs are allowed to have fun or get exercise in our village because too many owners don’t pick up after their precious pets. Some that do, leave the bag on the sidewalk! They apparently could use a good dose of artificial intelligence. But I digress, again.

            The bot seemed to know that I am a dog lover when it wrote: “I was thrilled to witness first-hand the strong bond between the people of this charming town and their four-legged companions from the tiny chihuahuas to the majestic great Danes. Every breed seems to have found a loving home here.”

            Every breed may have found a loving home, but I have not yet encountered a single Chihuahua or Great Dane on my walks. I’m sure I’d have recognized a Great Dane if I saw one. I have seen an assortment of mutts, collies of one version or another, black and yellow labs, Scottie dogs and golden retrievers … many of them.

            Once I was walking by the general store when three of them commanded the sidewalk while their owner casually perused the shop’s window, which required me to walk in the street. As I passed, one of the man’s furry friends reached out and sniffed my hand. Instantly, the owner barked “don’t touch my dog!” Holding my tongue, I declined to remind the man that I did not touch his precious pooch, the dog touched me. Avoiding a confrontation, I use my real intelligence to walk on.

            The AI bot was not so dumb, it continued: “All in all, I was thoroughly impressed by the dogs of Mattapoisett and the people that loved them.” Well, most of them. “If you’re a dog lover …” it wrote … “I can’t think of a better place than Mattapoisett to call home.” I agree.

            Editor’s note: Mattapoisett resident Dick Morgado is an artist and retired newspaper columnist whose musings are, after some years, back in The Wanderer under the subtitle “Thoughts on ….” Morgado’s opinions have also appeared for many years in daily newspapers around Boston.

Thoughts on …

By Dick Morgado

One Response to “Artificial Intelligence Solves Writer’s Block”

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  1. Barbara Macedo says:

    What was the name of the dog you had while growing up? I can’t remember. I can picture the dog but not the name.

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