Homer’s spice rack: A metaphor

📚 On Reading in the Age of Generative AI

Why do we think “quite good” is good enough?

Clark Boyd
6 min readJan 25, 2023


“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O’Connor

Reader, I changed the title of this post soon after I started writing it.

Original title: On Writing in The Age of Generative AI.

Writers are “vain, selfish, and lazy”, as Orwell so memorably put it. The rise of generative AI, which can seemingly create new content from digital air, has brought those very vices into sharper focus.

In the past 24 hours, I have seen the following articles:

  • “I’m a copywriter. I’m pretty sure artificial intelligence is going to take my job” — The Guardian
  • “Stanford students are using generative AI in online exams” — The FT

And I received an invitation to the “AI for Writers Summit”, too.

Next, I sat down to add a little more ink to the reservoir, because I am a writer and I am vain and selfish. Occasionally lazy, too.

You expect better from me — and rightly so.

Instead, I decided to reframe the question.

What would it be like to *read*…



Clark Boyd

Tech/business writer, CEO (Novela), lecturer (Columbia), and data analyst. >500k views on Medium. I used to be with it, but then they changed what ‘it’ was.