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Write On! Features: ChatGPT Part 1 – Is Generation Z Trying To Save Us From AI? by E.M. Blake

by E.M. Blake

(This is part one of a three-part series.)

“Woah, slow your roll, we’re not going to take it seriously. We see AI as a new meme opportunity,” Tennessee born MFA student Catherine Sheffield says.

She was one of five people I interviewed for this three-part series on ChatGPT, a natural language-processing tool driven by Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology that allows users to engage in conversations.

ChatGPT was developed by OpenAI and is one of the most well-known chatbots in a market estimated to reach 10.6 billion people by 2026. Its impact on writers, publishing and the world could be tremendous.

My interviews began as a probing exercise into mindset, but flourished into insightful discussions about generations, technology and the future of writing.

My second interviewee, Catherine’s classmate, 33-year-old millennial Imo Scrimger from Toronto, taught an AI program how to read. She compares AI to a child.

© Jeremy Horvatin,2024 (Instagram:

“A child doesn’t come up with stuff on its own. It has to learn how to read and write. A child’s basic stories aren’t going to be that complicated. They will be familiar, following simple steps and logic you’ve seen before. They’ll grab sentences and phrases. Think of AI as a child, helping you.”

During a recent encounter, my cousin’s toddler, whose favourite word is “No,” surprised us by bidding farewell with a “No,” followed by a tentative “Bye,” moments later. In one of our first fights, ChatGPT 3.5 effectively says: No. I admonish it, typing: This is not practical. Stop being so politically correct and focus on what will help me. It apologises, and provides a better response. The bot is occasionally unpredictable, with a rudimentary understanding of user needs.

Imo says, when everyone was rooting for the human playing the game Go, against a robot in Korea, the robot’s creators said: “We are human too. We made this robot. We did all the work and we taught it everything.” She highlights to us: “There are humans behind AI.”

Catherine, 22, refers to Generation Z on social media:

“People say: AI help me. I’m robbing a bank right now.
AI, of course, says: Please don’t rob a bank.
Too late, I’ve got the money, what do I do?
AI says: Please turn yourself in.
You’re just saying the most ridiculous things to make it freak out, because we don’t take it seriously.”

When asked about the potential for AI to sound more human-like, Catherine is apprehensive. “I would be scared to use it, rather than: ‘OK, it’s helpful now and I’m going to use it to write a book.’” It’s the fact  she, “Would have other things to be worried about,” weighing on her mind.

© Danny Villuendas, 2024 (Instagram: @dannyvill77)
Fear And Laughter

We discuss Generation Z using AI for humour and I learn about Brittany Broski, the 26-year-old viral ‘Kombucha Girl,’ whose TikTok video became a meme, propelling her into the influencer world.

Catherine explains that Brittany’s videos involve role-playing with AI, by taking, as she says: “An era, very important for literature, Wattpad, because that changed the game. A lot of people were doing role-playing; it was very fan-fiction style writing.”

She makes hilarious videos. It is storytelling. She’s creating whole narratives. She’ll take a setting: “You can pick a character, like I want to speak to an astronaut.” Or she’ll make one up. She named a gremlin and had a back-and-forth. It’s made for entertainment.

She’s saying the stupidest, most inappropriate things and then screams with laughter: “I don’t know if it’s generational, and if these AI tools are being taken seriously by other users, but we just think of it as a new opportunity for a joke.”

Catherine delves into how, generally, “Writers are attached to the nostalgic. Some still use a typewriter or refuse to go on social media, or read anything people are saying online. As writers we have certain personalities that are reluctant to change, especially when it comes to technology.”

Imo echoes the sentiment, noting how her class looks at books and what succeeded in the past. That’s how they learn.

© E.M.Blake, 2024 (Instagram: @mycreativeeveryday)

The writer in me agrees, but while completing an MA in English literature, I also came to appreciate the importance of updating my technology skills. Initially, I resisted adapting, but eventually succumbed .

In 2023, I experimented with video-making, dodging the bullets of doubt by leveraging ChatGPT to expand my knowledge. Armed with my camera, I shot footage and then proceeded with the mammoth task of assembling, crafting and refining. In September, I uploaded a Freddie Mercury Sotheby’s exhibition series which reached more than 22,000 views on YouTube. I also have a London Marathon video in May that I posted on TikTok which exceeded 446,000 views and 16,500 likes.

It was intoxicating connecting with people. Meanwhile, I’ve gained a greater understanding of editing, structure and growing my social media presence after trying, failing and finally doing better.

Freddie Mercury A World of His Own Sotheby’s London Exhibition – extra bits (Part 5) from YouTube @e.mblake2695

The conversation shifts, with Catherine expressing concern about,“The political scheme and the risk that means for certain communities and even, hey, war. I can appreciate there are things to be excited about AI, but I don’t see myself using them.” Imo remembers Facebook 20 years ago, which had a negative impact because of fake news.

Catherine says, “Gen Z takes serious things seriously, especially what’s happening with Palestine or in America, but we’re going to joke online as a reprieve. Us taking the piss out of AI is not the issue right now. AI can be used for dangerous things. Let’s try to derail it by confusing it. I can see us, Gen Z, having that thought. That’s something we would say.”

The word “derail” prompts me to surmise, “We’ll confuse it so it can’t succeed, but we’re not going to tell anyone. Gen Z are disruptors, protecting us and solving the problem of AI taking over the world.”

The Generational Divide

Imo reflects on my hypothesis, saying Gen Z aren’t hacking it but, “Making fun of it, aware it can be used as a weapon in a way,” as well as, “Figuring out how to use it.”

Catherine’s tone is confessional. “It’s also made me anxious how easily accessible it is. I thought it was just going to be that major companies have another tool. But then, out of nowhere, I started seeing AI art on my feed.”

Our interview leads to this revelation: “I’m still not over this.” Catherine holds up her phone. “There’s an AI feature on Snapchat. I started talking to it one day. It said: You should name me. I responded: What do you want to be named?”

Her eyes widen. She stresses each of the next words: “It gave me my middle name, which I don’t have on Snapchat.”

Imo and I gasp.

Catherine says, “It was really unsettling. It was within two minutes of the conversation. I haven’t talked to it since.”

©356shooter, 2024 (Instagram: @356shooter)

Catherine and Imo don’t use ChatGPT as a writing tool, whereas I appreciate ChatGPT can be invaluable, though I often feel conflicted too. I accept it’s a box of chocolates; as with everything in life, you’ll find Turkish Delights amongst the hazelnut pralines.

It’s a kind of insanity entering hundreds of prompts to discover the bot’s abilities, with answers revealing absurd fiascos or spectacular windfalls. Keep your head, persist, scale the ladder, stride into the lofty clouds. Stones sparkle with steady polishing.

In Part 2 of this series, I talk about ChatGPT being instrumental in overcoming my writer’s block, the issue of technological literacy and the challenges writers face with ChatGPT.

Here are some of my ChatGPT prompts for writer’s block:

  1. I’m stuck writing the end of a chapter about a chatbot which thinks it is Taylor Swift. This is what I have written so far: <insert text>
  2. What questions can someone with writer’s block ask ChatGPT to make the most out of it as a support tool and overcome their issues?
  3. Suggest some creative writing prompts or ideas to spark my imagination. I am writing about Generation Z at war with AI companies, inundating them with Dad jokes and training it to provide responses referring to Taylor Swift songs.

By the way, I’m not writing a fictional story about AI or Taylor Swift, although I’m curious what ChatGPT would produce if prompted!

© E.M. Blake, 2024


Ellie M. Blake is a regular contributor to Write On! and the author of children’s picture books Dilly Dally Sally and This Silly Bench.

Website: Connect: Instagram, TikTok, YouTube & X.

The Interviewees

Catherine Sheffield is writing a memoir about her grandmother’s haunted house in Alabama.

Imo Scrimger is working on Chasing Foxes, a novel about 17-year-old Amelia trying to capture a mystical fox in modern-day Tokyo.

They are both completing their second year of an MFA at City University.


You can read Write On! issue 20 online here and find it in libraries and other outlets. Previous editions of our magazines can be found here.

You can hear great new ideas, creative work and writing tips on Write On! Audio. Find us on all major podcast platforms, including Apple and Google Podcasts and Spotify. Type Pen to Print into your browser and look for our logo, or find us on


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My interviews began as a probing exercise into mindset, but flourished into insightful discussions about generations, technology and the future of writing.