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Eulogy Writers vs. AI Algorithms: Which to Choose? One Writer's Take on It

For anyone wondering about the benefits of hiring a professional eulogy writer versus using AI to create a eulogy, I thought I'd share my personal experience.

When I started hearing about AI, it came as a whisper. Family and friends did their best to avert conversations about the topic, knowing I might be offended, as I was trying to make a living as a eulogy writer. I heard them as I eavesdropped. Each personal account was peppered with unabashed amazement over their son's or daughter's ability to draft essays within seconds from a simple command. "Is this a good thing?" They questioned one another. "Should we be worried?" Their concern delicately balanced on the edge of elation. "Yes," I murmured under my breath, "be very concerned." The English teacher in me couldn't help it! Truthfully, I understood their concern, and I shared it. Was AI going to devalue writing skills? More importantly, at least for me, was it going to eliminate the writer's purpose?

When this kind of talk surfaced and more questions persisted, I knew that I needed to investigate the tool to find out what it was all about. I had been putting it off, trying to will away AI's existence. To be honest, I was afraid to dive in, terrified of what I might find. I already knew that today's technology was amazing and nearly flawless! No one had to tell me how our lives changed with the advent of GPS or Google. When was the last time any of us went through the pangs of unfolding a map, flipping through a Thomas Guide, or searching for a corresponding letter on the spine of an Encyclopedia Brittanica? For God's sake, I knew! And I knew, in the interior or my being, that a chatbot would be no different. It was changing lives forever, but would it change mine? If I was going to come to terms with it, I had to try it for myself.

Settling in at my computer one afternoon, hands hovering nervously over the keyboard, I started my quest. After googling the chatbot everyone was talking about, I found the website and created an account. Annoyed at the ease thus far, I typed in the command, "Can you write me a eulogy for my father?" It instantly responded with a humanlike arrogance, "Of course!" Within seconds, it generated a speech. "Holy crap!" I thought, with guarded amazement. "This S.O.B. has nerve!" As I calmed myself down, doing my best to suppress the anxiety that was causing me to hyperventilate, I began to read the 424-word document. As I did, I was impressed with the narrative's organization, flow, and word choice. Though it was short, equating to a two-and-a-half-minute speech, I could imagine someone pulling this off. I was left feeling deflated.

I decided to challenge the technology a bit further.

I remembered a eulogy that I had written for a man in Atlanta who had lost his father. When he first contacted me, we spent an hour on the phone as he told me about his dad. While I listened and took notes, I realized his distress. As he recalled different memories the two shared and expressed the love and admiration he had for his father, he was brought to tears. I let him cry, giving him the silence that he needed. I sympathized with him, telling him how sorry I was, and how I had recently lost my own mother. Together, we understood the vulnerability that comes with loss.

He was able to carry on and tell me his father's entire life story, including the ups and downs as well as the small moments of unexpected tenderness and the larger-than-life expressions of humor. In that retelling, I was able to capture the speaker's voice with a clear understanding of the tone he wished to take.

After our conversation, I sensed that his demeanor had changed. It was as though the simple act of reminiscing and talking openly about his father brought him to a place of peace. He wanted to develop the speech even further by meeting with family members, eager to elicit more memories.

I delighted in the recollection of this job; certain that I did serve a purpose.

Sitting at my computer, with the chatbot still staring at me, I decided to take the eight pages of notes that the gentleman from Atlanta had given me and share them with this artificial being. "Can you write a 1,000-word eulogy based on notes that I give you?" I asked. "Of course!" It replied again. "Could you please provide me with the notes?" And so, I did. Again, within seconds, I received a new speech.

As a result, the eulogy was a bit longer, but nowhere near the 1,000 words I had requested. I continued reading it and realized that, despite my prompting the chatbot with detailed notes, it lacked substance. Though it contained the main events of the man's life and transitioned nicely from one event to the next, it did not include any of the memories that were presented in the notes. It needed detail overall, and the emotion that I had captured in the son's voice during our conversation was absent in this version.

As I compared this artificially generated eulogy with the one that I had created, I recognized further differences. Mine was far more creative. For instance, I opened with a humorous anecdote that reflected the man's character, setting the tone of the piece. In addition to including memories that would ultimately invite the guests to call to mind and fondly remember, I captured the voice of the speaker. As I reread my 1,100-word, ten-minute eulogy, I heard a voice that honored a father with respect, love, and humor.

Certainly, if I had spent more time manipulating the outcomes and finetuning my questions for the chatbot, the eulogy would have improved, but structural edits would have been necessary, which I believe takes a writer's hand. Besides, you shouldn't underestimate the value of human connection. Human connection coupled with a writer's ability to understand the nuances of voice, expression, and shared experiences are vital in the process of honoring a loved one's life and memory. This can only be accomplished with the intuition of a human writer.

So, in the end, I guess I found my purpose.

Don't get me wrong. AI is an incredibly helpful tool and exists as a valuable alternative to hiring a professional eulogy writer. If you're looking for an instant and effortless, albeit generic, eulogy, then use it. If, however, you're looking to give your loved one the time and consideration they deserve while finding a degree of closure along the way, then hiring someone might be the better option.

Don't rush through the aftermath of loss. You'll regret it. Instead, use it as an opportunity to connect on a human level with those who understand your grief and want to share in paying homage to the person you love and miss. Being asked to eulogize someone's life is an honor that warrants the extra time and effort it takes to create something personalized and memorable. In Tribute Eulogy Services is here to help you make that happen.

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