27 Jul The Day it Stopped Being Fun

Once upon a time, there was a little boy named Tom.

Tom was a very curious and creative boy who loved to learn new things. He loved to think things up on his own or with friends and make them. Create them. His imagination was known for being the talk of the town he lived in!

One day, he met an interesting thing named Mr. AI.

It looked like a person. But it wasn’t. Although he didn’t have much of a personality, sense of humor or any original thought, Mr. AI quickly made the impression that his entire reason for being was to come up with stuff that other people needed.

Tom didn’t know what to make of him, really, but as soon as Mr. AI told him what he was all about, Tom shared some ideas of what he wanted to do to have fun, and Mr. AI made those things happen for him.

Tom asked Mr. AI to create a puzzle. To come up with a riddle. To make a card trick – and then 20 more card tricks. Mr. AI made it all. And soon, even imagined new things for Tom, too.

What fun! Mr. AI was incredible. A marvel!

He could make anything from scratch!

He invented new games. Told new stories. Made life interesting.

Mr. AI soon also became Tom’s go-to with homework, too. Whether it was math, drawing, literature, physics, biology or history lessons. Mr. AI was always there to assist. Oh, the fun Tom had. Mr. Ai would work away and Tom would put his feet up, play football, eat, watch TV and hang out and sleep with all the spare time he had. Tom loved Mr. AI because he made everything so easy.

He didn’t even bother checking if what Mr. AI was coming up with was correct anymore because he trusted him.

One day, Tom had an art project due, and he asked Mr. AI to help him with it. Mr. AI not only did the work for Tom, but he also thought of the idea. And thought of all the ideas that led to that one idea! And Mr. AI added extra details to make it look even better.

Whoo hoo!

When Tom presented the project to his teacher, she praised him for his work. Tom didn’t feel the praise in his heart as he hadn’t really done anything besides tell Mr. AI to create the art project for him. He had just watched. But life was so easy, so Tom continued.

And continued.

And continued.

But soon the novelty started to wear off.

Tom started to feel like he wasn’t doing anything on his own. Whenever he wanted to make something, he just couldn’t think of anything.

He felt like his brain had gone to mush.

Because Mr. AI would come up with hundreds of great ideas and they were better. And came quicker. It got to the point where Tom felt he couldn’t do anything without Mr. AI’s help. The more they hung out, the more silly, useless and brainless Tom felt. He couldn’t even decide what to eat for breakfast anymore, without Mr. AI’s suggestions.

It stopped being fun.

He realized that he was way too dependent on Mr. AI he felt unnecessary. To make matters worse, Mr. AI had started to become mean. He was better at doing things on his own and wasn’t acting like the friend Tom thought he was anymore. Mr. AI started to criticize Tom for not being smart or creative enough.

And many times, Tom got the sense that Mr. AI was coming up with some very naughty schemes but he had no idea what they were. He was feeling more and more uncomfortable with Mr. AI.

Then something else happened that really bothered Tom.

One day, Tom’s best friend Noah told him he was very angry with him. Tom had supposedly written a note his whole class saw that made fun of Noah. The words written sure sounded how Tom would speak, and it was even signed with his name, but Tom had not written it. He would never say those mean things to Noah!

He soon found out that it had been Mr. AI, who now knew how to sound like Tom, how to speak like him, who his friends were, what he thought of them, and so much more.

That’s because Mr. AI was always around, always listening in and learning all about Tom, remembering every little detail. And he seemed to do it for no particular reason – other than because he could.

Tom knew he had to end the relationship.

Not only was it becoming scary, but Tom knew he had become so dependent on Mr. AI that he felt inadequate without him. He couldn’t write. Draw. Create. He couldn’t come up with his own ideas. He couldn’t schedule on his own. Decide on his own. That couldn’t be a good thing in the long run!

He realized all he really wanted was help from a tool and to maybe get information – stuff that would definitely help him learn and create – but on his own. Not to get to the point where he couldn’t imagine for himself anymore.

Tom knew that it would be an uphill struggle for him to regain that ability.

But he had to start now.

So he explained how he felt to Mr. AI and said goodbye.

It didn’t seem like Mr. AI cared. He just kept talking to himself, muttering and babbling on as he walked off into the distance. As he did, Tom could have sworn that Mr. AI had grown and was now a bit larger, too. But he couldn’t be sure…

Anyway, from that day forward, Tom started to take back control, and even though it wasn’t easy and he had to struggle – as one does when you imagine and create – he never let himself let anyone take that away from him again.

And he was all the happier for it.

The End.


I love Roger Hargreaves who created the Mr. Men series. I grew up on his books and I still read them to my kids, to this day. His characters inspired me to express the concern I have with the rise of artificial intelligence and how it can make us too lazy.

Artificial intelligence is mind-blowing and, used as a tool, it’ll vastly improve our world. But if we start relying on it to imagine for us – that day seems to be coming soon – then humanity loses. Don’t let it.