AI Ethics

Sleepless with AI: My First AI Poetry and 7 Thoughts about #AI

I wrote my first poem with AI helpers channeling Longfellow, Emerson and Whitman. I share the poem and seven thoughts we should consider as we write with AI.

So, I'm not sure if artificial intelligence is right. Somehow, it feels as if these tools are augmenting intelligence. I learned about a tool Verse by Verse ( ) created by Google.

As I selected a quattrain and an ABAB rhyming scheme, I sat down to compose my first poem using AI as Wadsworth, Longfellow, and  Emerson came alongside me to suggest what they might have written.

Many of their suggestions were nonsense, but somehow within their suggestions, I could find grains of the meaning I was attempting to share as I pondered the often night-tossed experience I have had as a mother during these COVID-challenged times. 


Sweetly sleeping, I am now weeping
Laid on my pillow the midnight night.
Eyes opening, my mind is leaping
Humming melody in secret flight.

I'm drawn to my beloved and motion–
Mind gazing at that world of splendor.
Now comes the dawn and the rolling ocean.
Good morning. My sleep I surrender.

Shepherd, through a sunbeam you impart
Swirling morning gleam within the gloom.
As though you feel the breath of my heart
Sweeping through eternity's perfume.


Written by Victoria A. Davis

Inspired by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Walt Whitman, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


My Thoughts on Writing Poetry with AI Assistance

Thought #1: Is AI Truly Intelligent?

So, I'm not sure this intelligence is “artificial.”

These poets lived their lives developing a style. Their work came at the price of their lives.

Google has indexed and cataloged that style to create a predictive tool that sometimes inspires great sayings but mostly gives you nuggets here and there but is not artificial. These poets gave their lives to make the poems indexed in this engine.

Thought #2: AI is Augmenting Human Intelligence

I prefer to call it augmented intelligence. Words inspired by these poets' bodies of work are extending my writing through tiny snippets pulled out by an algorithm based on rhyme and meter.

Like I've seen in the writing apps I've tested this summer, AI can create a remarkable turn of a phrase or an awesome sentence sometimes. However, the flow and stream of thought must come from my intelligence.

Thought #3: When AI Engages, It is Obvious when Human Intelligence (HI) Isn't Being Used.

When papers, paragraphs, and poems are disconnected and don't make sense, it signifies that what we call “AI” was used, but human intelligence (HI) wasn't engaged.

Here's the math of AI in my opinion:

AI – HI = nonsense

HI – AI = unneeded struggles or missing resources


AI + HI = higher performance than we can imagine

Thought #4: Meet Your New You

I maintain these tools augment our intelligence. I can write better (perhaps) using these tools.

I've passionately written poetry since a young girl, and this was a fascinating and beautiful experience. I'm not sure it feels like me, yet it does.

Thought #5: The Disclosure Conversations We Must Have

Use of tools? As I ponder the ethics of AI, I think it is vital for humans to disclose the use of AI assistants and the “inspiration” as I did in this poem. (In fact, Grammarly helped me edit this post; should I disclose that? I don't think so since I don't usually reveal when hiring an editor.)

Tool's Citation Disclosure? However, we are treating the AI suggestions as if they are original when in reality, they might require a quotation. What are the “ethics” in the algorithm when something should be quoted?

Real-World Impacts of Plagiarism? However, how can we be held accountable for what we don't know? Shouldn't the app tell if more than a few words are used?  I don't know if the tool quoted whole phrases or pieces of poems; if so, they should be cited.

Thought #6: My Questions from my Human Intelligence about Artificial Intelligence

I'm still considering this whole AI creation piece. Some very powerful tools are augmenting us.

  • But are these apps truly intelligent? 
  • Or do they catalog and algorithmically reshare past human intelligence in new and powerful ways?
  • Are we giving too much power and faith to the tools we're creating as being more than they are?

So many incredible “AI” tools are emerging, but I have to wonder if we are harming ourselves and, ultimately, our future.

  • When we say “intelligence,” are we refusing to question anything with that moniker and refusing to engage our own intelligence? (At ISTE I learned that research is showing that humans tend to not question robots or chatbots even when they know it is not telling the truth.)
  • When we look at the poets included on this page, does it reflect the diversity we wish to reflect in our future? How does that impact the poems written by it? (Where is Maya Angelou, for goodness sakes?) 
  • When you ask your students to write a poem on a topic and use this “AI” tool, who should get credit? Should they cite it?
  • How do you know how much work your student has done, or is it enough that they recognize a beautiful new mashup of the styles of past poets?

Thought #7: Without a Feedback Loop, AI Will Institutionalize Bias [KEY POINT}

We have so many ethical questions about AI. However, our intelligence is needed more than ever as we grapple with them.

In my opinion, every “AI” tool should have a feedback component where knowledgeable humans who can recognize bias, understand ethics, and spot discrepancies should be encouraged to expose and provide feedback to programmers and creators to improve the AI.

Without a feedback loop, how will AI improve? 

If we approach AI without allowing a feedback loop, we have just found a very real way to be foolish, and we are institutionalizing the bias of the programmers and the datasets it studies to create its “intelligence.”

And that, my friends, is very dumb.

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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