Well Made

Ep. 149 Writing a more optimistic future with Amit Gupta

June 10, 2021 · RSS · Apple Podcasts

Being ingrained in the tech startup world has taken Amit Gupta down a different path than most. After selling his first company Photojojo in 2014, he started traveling, writing sci-fi, and more recently, building Sudowrite. Sudowrite is an app for creative writers that uses AI to beat writer's block. 

You're probably familiar with predictive text models offering suggestions for sentences in your Gmail or text messages. Sudowrite is built off of Open AI's GPT-3 model, and it generates word patterns based on learnings from millions of sentences online. 

Amit's passion for writing took him down the path to build Sudowrite. While Sudowrite predicts the paths for a most immediate future — what words could come next — Amit's optimistic sci-fi imagines a more long term future. In this episode, he talks about breaking away from the dystopian sci-fi status quo, the upside of robots writing your emails, and how to chisel away at creative blocks by using learned word patterns. 

“I think that if we can dream it, we can at least try to create it.”

Screen Shot 2021 06 09 at 12 25 07 PM

4:13 Amit explains the meaning behind the name "Sudowrite," then pivots to the origin of dystopian themes in sci-fi. He explains his more optimistic approach to writing a future that readers would want to live in. 

17:05 Amit shares his sci-fi inspiration. 

20:06 One way to think of this new linguistic AI is like deep fakes, but for writing. Amit thinks of it like an overdue tech tool for writers, not unlike the many that are out there for photographers and designers. 

32:24 Amit spends half of his time writing and half of his time building Sudowrite. As he makes progress on both paths, he talks about what he's working toward with his writing. 

44:44 If you’re being guided by AI that's learned from millions of words that were already written, how do you ensure that you’re not just starting down a path that someone else has already explored. How do you keep it fresh? Amit says that with Sudowrite, the creativity comes from an interesting prompt.

1:00:01 Amit and Stephan contemplate various fates and the artistic potential of deep fakes. Plus, they discuss the loss of shared experiences as media becomes more and more customized.


Also mentioned on this episode: 


You can find this and all future episodes on iTunes, Google Play, and here on the Lumi blog. This episode was edited by Evan Goodchild.

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