How plausible sentence generators are changing the bullshit wars

My September column in Locus Magazine.

Cory Doctorow
7 min readSep 7, 2023


A woodcut of a gentleman at a writing table, staring down at a sheaf of papers. His head has been replaced with the menacing eye of HAL9000 from Stanley Kubrick’s ‘2001: A Space Odyssey.” The paper is covered in the green ‘code waterfall’ from the Wachowskis’ ‘The Matrix.’ Image: Cryteria (modified) CC BY 3.0

This Friday (September 8) at 10hPT/17hUK, I’m livestreaming “How To Dismantle the Internet” with Intelligence Squared:

On September 12 at 7pm, I’ll be at Toronto’s Another Story Bookshop with my new book The Internet Con: How to Seize the Means of Computation:

In my latest Locus Magazine column, “Plausible Sentence Generators,” I describe how I unwittingly came to use — and even be impressed by — an AI chatbot — and what this means for a specialized, highly salient form of writing, namely, “bullshit”:

Here’s what happened: I got stranded at JFK due to heavy weather and an air-traffic control tower fire that locked down every westbound flight on the east coast. The American Airlines agent told me to try going standby the next morning, and advised that if I booked a hotel and saved my taxi receipts, I would get reimbursed when I got home to LA.