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Balancing Tradition and Technology: The Dilemma of Knowledge Constitution in AI-Assisted Writing

Session 4
Nick Potkalitsky — The Miami Valley School

Here are the major findings of my research to date:

More traditional modes of writing will always coexist with AI-infused modes of expression to the extent that users will still need to fill in prompts with original text or use original text as the basis for AI generative process. In these contexts, writers will need to evaluate proportionality of generative AI use in light of the nature of specific tasks, genres, functions, and purposes.

What kinds of writing tasks can be turned over to generative AI processes? What kinds of writing need more human supervision or need to be written in an entirely unassisted way?

The difficulty of the matter is that we probably will not be able to know ahead of time in an a priori or axiomatic sense which writing tasks will be truly knowledge-constituting and which will not be. Even the most perfunctory piece of writing under the right conditions has the possibility of yielding a dramatic insight if not from a field-changing perspective, then at the very least from an internal psychological perspective. Except perhaps… We all can fill in that blank.

Certainly, the solution here is not to hide from generative AI or avoid using it as a writing tool. Instead, what I suggest is that we think very carefully about what might be lost and what might be gained by using AI in particular cases.

What proportion of our work do we want to turn over to AI? (Here, the questions of volition and choice are critical.) What proportion do we want to retain? Where in the writing process do we feel like we generate the most original thoughts or creative insights? What steps do we need to create a writing practice that is knowledge-constituting?

Conversational Practice

I will design a learning experience that asks participants to use writing as a process of knowledge constitution.

Participants will engage in both traditional and AI-infused writing processes around a challenge or problem.

Participants will qualitatively evaluate their experiences as more or less knowledge constituting.

I am anticipating that those involved in AI-infused writing will learn a lot, but the knowledge building will primarily focus on skills and competencies related to working with the medium in question (AI).

But I am very much excited to have my own hypothesis disproven.

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