Life is short, youth is finite, and opportunities endless,’ wrote Justin Rosenstein and I agree with him because I have seen that the human brain loves interacting with the endless flow of chances. A chance to succeed or a chance to reach out to fulfilment forms the main ingredient of every small or big race to live a life that has some impact.

However, be wary of this endless flow of opportunities as the perceived benefits have the power to make anyone leave the straight path and get involved with processes that only camouflage themselves as creative. Let me tell you about websites that need you to fill in just keywords and they will generate entire essays for you.

Yes, and not just essays… there are story generators as well. I have found their existence rather shocking because this machine generated creative output can be bought and there will probably be no way of accusing the users as plagiarists. It is the impact on creativity that bothers me. Well, I filled in keywords like car, drive, and environment and the essay generator output was reasonable enough to fool anyone. These generators are intelligent and cheeky enough to ask you to ‘regenerate’ multiple times and will give you somewhat differently expressed material every time. Now that is like doing the same thing over and over again without seeming similar. The examples are quoted below:

“Driving is complex and challenging. A simple way to make driving safer is to reduce the number of non-driving and distracting activities you undertake while driving. Using a mobile phone while driving distracts you in many ways. Physical distraction is caused by handling the phone while driving. For example, removing your hand from the steering wheel to dial a phone number, to answer or end a call. Visual distraction is c…” 

“There is now considerable evidence that parental role modelling can play an important role in preventing the development of problem behaviours. Social learning theory holds that humans learn many of their behaviours by observing other humans, often referred to as models (Miller and Taubman – Ben-Ari, 2010). Learning occurs when a person’s responses are influenced by the observation of others. As the theory has been refi…” 

“The mobile phone rules for fully licensed car drivers also apply to motorcycle riders who hold a full car licence. However, riders who have held the motorcycle licence for less than three years are not permitted to use a mobile phone for any function while riding (including while stationary but not parked). Riders who hold a Learner, P1 or P2 licence are not permitted to use a mobile phone for any function while riding (i…” 

“How mobile phones distract the driver Show more Driving is complex and challenging. A simple way to make driving safer is to reduce the number of non-driving and distracting activities you undertake while driving. Using a mobile phone while driving distracts you in many ways. Physical distraction is caused by handling the phone while driving. For example, removing your hand from the steering wheel to dial a phone number, …”

The only reason why I decided to begin the indiblogger marathon with this post is to let the judges know that such tools exist and there will always be unscrupulous bloggers out to increase their tally of really mundane posts and win the contest. These tools are, of course, paid… but approximately twelve hundred rupees giving unlimited access can take even an otherwise lousy blogger nearer his dream of winning the Tata Zica. This is what makes the generators worth a serious thought.

Let me end by reminding everyone that real human creativity is infinite and essay or story generators can probably never match its ingenuity… without letting its impact be computer-generated. This makes essays like this one so much like the Zica where a lot of human effort has gone in.

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Screen-shot of a story generator page on the net... there are essay generators as well... they all have paid access, of course

Screen-shot of a story generator page on the net… there are essay generators as well… they all have paid access, of course

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This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

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Arvind Passey
25 January 2016