Are Writers Obsolete?

 I wanted to write an article about the Cord 812 automobile for this anthology. I’ll tell you the reason why later in this piece, but I ran into a major block. I just could not find the words to express what I was feeling.

One of the most common topics at Writers Anonymous is artificial intelligence (AI). We all wonder how it will affect us. When will it replace us? Despite having talked about it for months, I had never tried it. So, I went to Bing’s ChatGPT tool on my Windows machine and typed in the following request: “Write a 750 word article about the Cord 812 automobile.” This is what it returned, in less than a minute.


Here is an article I wrote about the Cord 812 automobile:

The Cord 812: A Classic Car with a Futuristic Design

The Cord 812 was a luxury car that was produced by the Cord Automobile division of the Auburn Automobile Company in 1936 and 1937. It was one of the most innovative and distinctive cars of its time, featuring a front-wheel drive system, a supercharged V8 engine, hidden headlights, and a sleek “coffin nose” design. The Cord 812 was also one of the first cars to have a semi-automatic transmission, a concealed fuel filler door, and a radio as standard equipment. The Cord 812 was a masterpiece of engineering and styling, but it was also plagued by mechanical problems, low sales, and the collapse of the Cord Corporation.


The Cord 812 was the successor of the Cord 810, which was introduced in 1935 at the New York Auto Show. The Cord 810 caused a sensation with its futuristic design, created by Gordon M. Buehrig and his team of stylists. The car had a low and long profile, with pontoon fenders that housed retractable headlights, operated by dashboard hand cranks. The car also had a horizontal louvered grille that replaced the traditional radiator, giving it the nickname of “coffin nose.” The car’s body was made of steel, and it had hidden door hinges and a rear-hinged hood. The car’s interior was equally impressive, with an engine-turned dashboard that included a tachometer and a radio.

The Cord 810 was also the first American-designed and built front-wheel drive car with independent front suspension. It had a 4.7-liter Lycoming V8 engine that produced 125 horsepower, and a four-speed semi-automatic transmission that extended in front of the engine. This allowed the car to have a lower center of gravity and more interior space, as well as better traction and handling. However, the car also had some drawbacks, such as an archaic tube rear axle with semi-elliptic springs, and a complex and unreliable transmission that often overheated or failed.

The Cord 810 went into production in late 1935, but it faced many delays and quality issues due to its advanced design and rushed development. Many customers who had placed orders for the car canceled them after waiting for months or receiving defective cars. The Cord 810 also faced competition from other luxury brands, such as Packard, Cadillac, and Lincoln, which offered more reliable and conventional cars at lower prices. The Cord 810 sold only about 1,100 units in its first year, far below the expected 10,000 units.

In 1937, the Cord 810 was updated and renamed as the Cord 812. The main difference was the addition of a supercharged version that boosted the engine’s power to 170 horsepower. The supercharged model also had distinctive chromed external exhaust pipes that ran along the sides of the hood. The supercharged model was available in four body styles: the convertible coupe (also known as the Sportsman), the phaeton (a four-door convertible), the Beverly (a four-door sedan), and the Custom Beverly (a longer four-door sedan). The supercharged model was faster and more powerful than any other American car at the time, capable of reaching speeds of over 100 mph. However, it was also more expensive and more prone to mechanical problems than the standard model.

The Cord 812 also had some minor changes from the Cord 810, such as new bumpers, hubcaps, taillights, and hood ornaments. The Cord 812 also offered some new options, such as external horns, fog lights, whitewall tires, and leather upholstery. The Cord 812 came in eight colors: black, white, red, blue, green, yellow, brown, and gray. The prices ranged from $2,445 for the standard sedan to $3,060 for the supercharged Custom Berline.

The Cord 812 was produced for only one year before the Cord Corporation went bankrupt in late 1937. The company had suffered from financial losses due to its involvement in various businesses, such as aviation, radio, appliances, and real estate. The company also faced legal troubles due to allegations of fraud and stock manipulation by its founder and owner E.L. Cord. The production of the Cord 812 ended in August 1937, with only about 1,000 units made (including some re-numbered Cord 810s). The remaining inventory of cars and parts was sold at auction in 1938.

The Cord 812 is now considered one of the most iconic and collectible cars of all time. It is admired for its innovative and elegant design, its advanced and powerful performance, and its rarity and history. The Cord 812 has been featured in many movies, books, and museums, and has won many awards and honors. The Cord 812 is also one of the most expensive and sought-after classic cars, with some models selling for over $500,000. The Cord 812 is a car that was ahead of its time, and a car that still fascinates and inspires today.

Word count: 750


It’s not bad. It’s a very serviceable first draft. It says the word count is 750, but Microsoft Word says it is 781 words. Minor issue. I find it curious it said “Here is an article I wrote”—it referred to itself like a person would! It marked some sentences with references to the sources. In this case the sources were Wikipedia and If you go to those sites, you’ll see that the ChatGPT article is a barely-reworded copy. I suspect my high school teachers or college professors would call this plagiarized. Now though we live in different times.


Cord 812 at Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum - Auburn, IN (Photo by Author)

It wasn’t really the article I wanted to write. I wanted to write about how this car moved me. I wanted to express how I would feel driving this car as opposed to my practical, but boxy, Subaru. I find almost all of today’s cars, those I can afford anyway, to be boring, soulless. I wondered if ChatGPT could do find the words that I could not. I went back to Bing and typed: “Write an essay about how the Cord 812 automobile could stir a man's soul.” This is what I got in less than 30 seconds:


The Cord 812 automobile, produced by the Cord Automobile division of the Auburn Automobile Company in 1936 and 1937, was a luxury car that was ahead of its time. It was the first American-designed and built front-wheel-drive car with independent front suspension. The Cord 812 was a masterpiece of engineering and design that could stir a man’s soul in many ways.

The Cord 812’s unique styling, with its sleek, low-slung look and horizontal louvers that curved all around the sides of the nose, earned it the nickname “coffin nose”. The car’s styling was the work of designer Gordon M. Buehrig and his team of stylists, which included young Vince Gardner and Alex Tremulis. The Cord 812 was also the first production car to feature hidden/pop-up headlights. The radical new styling of its nose completely replaced the traditional radiator grille. The Cord 812’s styling was so unique that it still turns heads today.

The Cord 812’s performance was also impressive. It had a 4.7L V8 engine that produced 125 horsepower. The semi-automatic four-speed transmission (three plus overdrive) extended in front of the engine, like on a Traction Avant. This allowed Buehrig to eliminate the driveshaft and transmission tunnel. Accentuating its sleek, low-slung look, it also dispensed with running boards. The Cord 812 could achieve a top speed of 112 mph with 0-60 acceleration in 13.2 seconds.

The Cord 812’s unique features and performance made it a car that could stir a man’s soul. It was a car that was ahead of its time in terms of design and engineering. The Cord 812 was not just a car; it was an experience that could make a man feel alive.


This piece was only 298 words. As you can see it included my phrase “stir a man’s soul” twice. It threw in a few more attempts: “still turns heads today” and “make a man feel alive.”

Will ChatGPT replace writers? I think it already can for articles like the first example. If I had to write a column about cars, I would think this tool could crank out first drafts in seconds and all I would have to do is tweak it a bit to make it sound more like me. Is ChatGPT ready to express human feelings and emotions? In my opinion, based on my little experiment here, no, not yet. It sounds wooden, not quite as expressive as a human could do if he put his mind to it, and really tried hard. Of course, that assumes that the human writer isn’t blocked!

Will ChatGPT ever replace all writers? No. ChatGPT, AI, will never be able to write original, poetic, lyrical prose about feelings. The reason: it will never truly feel an emotion. It will never experience the thrill of driving a true performance car. It will never know what it feels like to go 0-60 in 6 seconds! It will occasionally come up with something close (enough monkeys, enough typewriters… Shakespeare), but it will be an accident and mostly cliches cobbled from other writers. It will only be able to assemble its output from material written by humans, or other AIs. I think writers, especially fiction writers, will be safe for the foreseeable future.


This story was featured in the Writers Anonymous anthology Walking the Plank Naked & Other Worksavailable on Amazon and other retailers.



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