Robots Can’t Play Chopin.

When I was 12, I watched the 80s sci-fi movie D.A.R.Y.L. (“Data-Analyzing Robot Youth Lifeform”… get it?) over at a friend’s traditional Asian household with his older brother, who was an accomplished violin virtuoso. I remember one scene where Daryl, a lifelike child robot powered by A.I., sat down at the piano and played… beautifully. “Daryl could never play that well in real life,” my friend’s brother sniffed. “He’s a robot… he could play the notes, but he could never play with emotion.”

The D.A.R.Y.L. scene and commentary replayed in my mind recently upon receiving an email from a keyword research company clobbering me over the head with “Buy Now!!!” sales copy about their new product: A software that can allegedly write highly effective copy.

“Complete Sales Messages In Under 90 Minutes!” It promised. “Users typically finish their first income-generating video sales message  in 90 minutes – with absolutely no copywriting experience.”

As a writer, I immediately took offense: They’re saying a robot can do my job!  I flashed back to D.A.R.Y.L., and started wondering… is it possible? Robots are amazing: They can vacuum floors, perform surgery and even explore distant planets!

I decided to investigate.

As much as I hate to admit it, I discovered that A.I. can indeed now “write” — but only in clumsy, basic forms, such as AP-style journalism stories and awkward erotica from “sexy chatbots

(though I daresay A.I.-powered sexy chatbots could easily surpass the writing quality of 50 Shades of Gray).

But let’s be clear: Robots will never be able to write well, because writing, in its purest incarnation, is a creative art form.

Nutritional supplement copywriting, in particular, takes a deft touch. In order to sell any natural health  modality or product, we must connect with the reader’s feelings, fears, hopes and dreams.

Real writing requires something A.I. will never have: Feelings.

The same goes for painting, dancing, acting, and music. Any creative art, and those dummy stupid-head robots will fail.

Way back in 1987, my friend’s brother had been spot on about D.A.R.Y.L. and A.I. of the future:

Robots can play, but they cannot play with emotion.

Here’s what it sounds like.

Exhibit A.: Chopin – Nocturne No. 13 in C minor, Opus 48 No. 1

A damned dirty robot, ruining beautiful Chopin.

So clumsy! So devoid of finesse or style! Just a lifeless rendering of notes, like a player piano reeling through its scroll.


(OK, maybe robots don’t say “beep boop” but they definitely think in all caps)

Human Valentina Lesitsa, playing the same.

So different. the Machine and Ms. Lesitsa the same? Taking “data” (the sheet music) and translating it into sound, using the physical tools at hand.

Yet their sound could not be any different. The reason why is best expressed at the 5:00 mark of Ms. Lesitsa’s video. It’s much better in the context of the performance, but in a nutshell:

Dat face.

She’s pouring her soul into her performance. Robots can’t do that.

Robots don’t have souls.

And why? Because as the plays, Ms. Lesitsa feels. She feels something Frédéric Chopin once felt, and mingles that with what she feels.  and bringing him to life once again. She mingles his brilliance with her own artistry; her own interpretation.

Deeper still, she is extending far into the Astral Plane, tapping into the infinite energy of the universe and pulling out something divine.

At the risk of mixing composer metaphors, Ms. Lesitsa becomes a mouthpiece for The Voice of God.

Is it any wonder that by the end, Ms. Lesitsa looks like this?


Exhausted. Drained. Slumped. She’s put every ounce of her mana into her performance.

It would be fitting for an assistant to emerge, drape a cape over her shoulders like James Brown, and help her off the stage.

What I am trying to express, I suppose, is that…

Robots will always fail at art because they don’t have souls.

There, I said it.

Robots cannot be creative. They will never be inspired by a muse. They will never suffer to sing the blues.

They might be able to muster a clumsy and soulless “performance.” But never will they be able to pour their soul into the music and leave it on the stage, as Ms. Lesitsa or James Brown. This is a human condition.

Ergooooooo, any software that claims it can “write” compelling sales copy is a joke.

And remember: Some of y’all “writers” are robots, too.

Any performing monkey can mine data from wikipedia, rearrange it, swap in a few synonyms and call it a day. That’s A.I.-grade writing.

Sure, it’s cheap, easy and plentiful. But it’s also mindless and soulless, and and quite frankly, it stinks.

The Google knows the difference. Your audience knows, too.

If your health message matters, you need a nutritional supplement copywriter who will give you a part of his soul.

Who, at the end of the performance, will be slumped over the keyboard in exhaustion, just as Ms. Letista is slumped over her keys above.

The difference in the finished product will be clear: More than merely words strung together into lifeless copy, you will possess writing as art that is a piece of the divine.

Robots can’t play Chopin.

And they sure as hell can’t write great copy.

Memo to all robots: Step away from the keyboard and get back to vacuuming my floors.


~ P.J.S. the N.H.W.

P.S. As you may have guessed, The Natural Health Writer is obsessed with Chopin Nocturnes. It’s better than chocolate. Listen to the Nocturnes once, all the way through, and they will unlock and open doors in your mind that will never close again. As you listen, you will feel your brain cells perking up, making new connections, flexing and reorganizing like cosmic antennae orienting to a higher power.

There are many who play Chopin Nocturnes, but in my opinion, Brigitte Engerer is best.

Your Customers Are Like Star Trek’s Borg

Remember the Borg from Star Trek? They inhabited a massive cube-shaped spaceship. They thought with a collective hive mind. They assimilated anything useful. When something was of no use, the Borg ignored it completely.

The Enterprise crew blasted the Borg with phasers. This worked… temporarily. After 12 phaser blasts, the Borg adapted to the phaser frequency, rendering the blasts ineffective. The solution? A modulating phaser that changed frequency with each blast. The Borg was unable to adapt because it was faced with something new and unpredictable.

Your audience is the Borg.

When you blast your supplement marketing message with the same frequency every time, your audience will adapt — the blast will be ineffective.

Top 5 weird tricks“…. “Top 3 secrets“… “The #1 tip for“… do these subject lines look familiar? Oh yes, these subjects work… temporarily. But by now, your audience has adapted. The message no longer works. Nutritional supplement consumers are smarter than that.

Make your nutritional supplement marketing message like a modulating phaser beam. Mix it up. Present something different each time. And above all, present something useful to your audience. When you do, your nutritional supplement will be assimilated

Boldly going where no supplement copywriter has gone before,

~ P.J.S. Dougherty
the Natural Health Writer

On Aliens with Big Heads

Star Trek suggests that aliens with big heads use telepathy to communicate. The Natural Health Writer concurs. We are evolving towards this.

Marketing today is so short. As we use fewer words to communicate, we progress to using no words at all.

In the meantime, concise content remains king. For a mind teeming with ideas, brevity is a rare gift.

Many have said it, but I feel Cicero said it best: “If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.”

Agreed… if I had more time, I would have written a shorter blog post. Tally ho,

~ P.J.S., the N.H.W.