How do you know a human wrote this?

I've never really worried that computers might be gunning for my job. To tell the truth, often, I pray for it. How much better would my life be - how much better would my editor's life be, to say nothing of the poor readers - if I could ask an all-knowing machine to suggest the best way to start this column? It would surely beat my usual writing process, which involves clawing at my brain with a rusty pickaxe in the dim hope that a few flakes of wisdom and insight might, like dandruff, settle on the page.

See what I mean? A computer might have helped there. (Like dandruff? That's what you're going with, Farhad?) But we writers can be a cocky bunch. Writing is something of an inexplicable trick, and it feels, like telling a joke or making a souffle, like an inviolably human endeavour.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 01, 2020, with the headline 'How do you know a human wrote this?'. Print Edition | Subscribe