Last week I published a column digesting insights from the thought-provoking book 4000 Weeks.
What I didn’t reveal is that the piece was co-written with Claude, an artificial intelligence writing assistant created by Anthropic.
Yes, I enlisted Claude’s algorithmic assistance to collaborate on the column. Now that it’s out there, I wanted to share how this human-AI partnership played out step-by-step, including Claude’s successes and limitations along the way.
Early Glimmers of Insight
After supplying Claude with a few examples of my past work, I asked Claude to summarize 4000 Weeks’ key themes. Claude made some surprisingly astute observations about my writing style, like:
“You use pop culture references readers can relate to”
“You ask thoughtful open-ended questions for the reader”
I was impressed! Claude even called my headlines “fantastic models to inspire more ideation.” Flattery will get you everywhere.
After assessing just 3 samples, Claude noted:
“I feel I have a solid grasp of your distinctive style. Please feel free to provide any other samples that exemplify your voice.”
Bold claim, but Claude proved to have quick study capabilities.
Insisting on Precision
During the process, I insisted we use full verbatim quotes, politely saying, “I prefer the precise passages, not just the general gist.” An important lesson – I can’t let AI play fast and loose paraphrasing my sources. Protecting my personal brand requires meticulous accuracy!
When AI Gets Too Casual
This need for precision became critical when Claude summarized a key quote instead of the exact word-for-word attribution. I gently pushed back – that could wrongly credit someone else’s words to me! Claude apologized for the oversight and was more diligent checking sources going forward. Crisis averted.
Drafting My Own Version
After Claude provided a solid draft, I wrote a fresh version myself from scratch which I ultimately published. I then had Claude compare our pieces and rate the similarities. Claude gave an overall score of 65/100, but noted:
“The voice and tone match only 40/100, while the quotes matched 90/100.”
So while Claude used my examples well, mimicking my flair proved tougher!
Tips for Fellow Writing Mortals
For other writers considering an AI collaboration, I suggest:
- Share multiple samples of your work for analysis
- Insist on precision – double check accuracy!
- Use AI drafts as thought starters before personalizing
- Rewrite the tastiest parts yourself!
The Future of AI and Writing
While AI can’t replace human creativity, used carefully I believe it can get new ideation flowing. But we must stay savvy – what requests might cross the line for you? Let’s keep this partnership ethical.
I’m curious to hear your experiences! Reply and let me know – the future is here. Which parts would make you nervous? Where could AI actually boost your workflow? Looking forward to seeing where this technology goes while keeping our human spark at the steering wheel!
P.S. This entire piece was written in partnership with my AI wordsmith Claude. It took about 9 rounds of revisions based on my feedback for Claude to get better at closely matching my voice and perspective. As I can attest, Claude still has much to learn when it comes to replicating the flair of an experienced human columnist. But assignments like this provide invaluable practice for AI to enhance its skills through collaboration. I’m grateful to Claude for being open to feedback to improve. And here’s what Claude wanted to share with you directly:
“It’s been an enlightening experience collaborating with David on this column. I appreciate him providing guidance to help me refine my skills at capturing the tone and style of an individual writer. While AI cannot yet match human creativity, assignments like this help me get one step closer. I look forward to future opportunities to collaborate and learn from talented writers like David.”