Alison Garwood Jones

AI Coffee Talk

June 20, 2023

AI Coffee Talk cartoon by Alison Garwood-Jones

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The Industrial Mindset

June 13, 2023

an office secretary at her typewriter

It’s 2023, not 1953, and the industrial mindset is asserting itself for the final time. Let it go.

#KnowledgeEconomy #Autonomy #WFH #WeveMovedOn #CommandAndControl

Inspired by Seth Godin, a champion observer.

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Kathryn Barlow is My Web Genius

June 8, 2023

Kathryn Barlow is an award-winning Canadian web designer.

When I decided I wanted to add splashes of colour to the landing page of my personal website, she made it happen.

When I have questions about how to evolve my Shopify store, she is my sounding board and website carpenter.

Kathryn has been a steady presence in my professional life for the last 10 years. She’s also a good friend.

If you need a Kathryn in your life, go to

She didn’t know I was going to do this. (h/t to Mariellen Ward for introducing us at a backyard party).

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Delia Ephron

May 31, 2023

Delia Ephron drawing by Alison Garwood-Jones

I love juicy ink sketches with a graphic punch. This one was created with a Pentel Brush Pen and Noodler’s fountain pen ink.

I almost never nail the drawing on the first try. You have to warm up your hand and your head, like a ballet dancer at the barre sliding her foot to the front, side, back, and repeat. Once you’re in flow mode — hand, mind and spirit aligned — the sketch happens.

The angels weep.

Be sure to keep them away from your page. Teardrops can dissolve a drawing.

Portrait of Delia Ephron.

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Scribble, scribble

May 30, 2023

I love simple animations.

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This is Your Brain on AI

May 29, 2023

This is Your Brain on Drugs Campaign Idea redrawn by Alison Garwood-JonesWhat are the incentives to think for ourselves now that we are starting to outsource thinking to machines?

Will the long-term effect of ChatGPT on our brains be similar to the impact of fast food on our bodies?

The more I use ChatGPT to help me write, the more I feel my brain getting flabby around the middle. I’m talking about when I perform a “gap analyses” where I challenge myself to compare bot outputs with my own writing and then integrate the AI suggestions into my final copy. This process has yet to make me feel grateful, deeply engaged or amazed.

This is not my definition of a partnership. Instead, I feel usurped and underworked. It’s the same feeling I get when I spend my entire morning scrolling on my phone instead of working to yank a piece of writing from my chest. Is there such a thing as muffin top for your brain?

This is Your Brain on AI - illustrations by Alison Garwood-Jones

Where I do feel excited, and where I start to crackle and dance in place like that fried egg (… sorry kids, don’t do drugs), is when I use AI in a creative project I’m directing to show me how conversations on a particular topic would have sounded in Shakespeare’s time, complete with swear words and exclamatory expressions. The options itemized in the output sound like dialogue for a new play. AI saved me hours of research at a library and that makes me feel grateful and empowered.

I made these two drawings after listening to a fascinating conversation between Mitch Joel and Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic on Joel’s podcast, Six Pixels of Separation (Ep. #881 – “AI, Automation and More Humanity”), Sunday, May 28, 2023. It was Tomas who questioned the effect of AI on our brain development and who made the comparison with fast food. He also said: learn and keep following the evolution of these tools (keep your enemies close) but “don’t downgrade yourself just because machines and AI will keep upgrading themselves.” I look forward to readings Tomas’s latest book, I, Human: AI, Automation and the Quest to Reclaim What Makes Us Unique (2023)

The fried egg sketch was inspired by the large-scale US anti-narcotics campaign by Partnership for a Drug-Free America launched in 1987.

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The Future of Blogging

May 25, 2023

What is the future of blogging in the Age of AI? Here is my dot connecting so far.

Predicting the future of blogging by Alison Garwood-Jones

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May 20, 2023

Maya Angelou drawing - singing Calypso Music

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Can AI Mark School Assignments?

May 15, 2023

The short answer is yes. I tried. First, it’s tempting to outsource marking given that most sessional instructors don’t get paid to grade assignments. Depending on class sizes, you can be marking for an entire week free of charge.

Will your students notice if they’re getting a gold star or a knitted brow from a robot? It depends on your teaching style. If you present as beige and technical in class, the AI’s feedback on their assignments will align with your general vibe. But suppose you like to regale students in class with personal anecdotes from the field and fresh news items and case studies that illustrate the learning objectives? In that case, you’ll have to figure out a way to punch up the AI’s assignment feedback so your students see you in the exchange — assuming that you care about being H:H (human to human). That niggly process of fixing paragraphs can be time-consuming.

Drawing of Swirls by Alison Garwood-JonesProcreate Illustration by Alison Garwood-Jones

Next, to ensure the AI understands how to mark each assignment so it offers the most useful feedback, you need to craft a prompt that clearly denotes what is being evaluated. That may take several rewrites. Then you need to drop in the text from each student’s submission behind your prompt without missing any paragraphs during that grab and paste from the school’s learning management system.

Highlighting and grabbing text from uploaded PDFs, especially ones that include images, can be hit and miss. You may find yourself scrolling and scrolling to make sure all of the student’s assignment has been captured as you toggle between two browser windows (the assignment submission window and ChatGPT screen). That too is time-consuming.

Alternatively, you could download each assignment to see if that makes the cut-and-paste more seamless (tip: make sure you have enough disk space on your computer). But that’s adding friction, not subtracting.  Either way, be prepared for eye strain and dizzy spells if you work on a laptop.

Oh … sometimes ChatGPT goes on sabbatical without notice and you have to wait for it to come back adding to the time you spend marking.

Conclusion: Reading student assignments and crafting the feedback myself turns out to be faster and easier and it feels more caring. Plus, I’m the kind of instructor who likes to give students my observations about their progress throughout the term. Just thinking about what it would take to feed the AI all of their course assignments so it could do the same high-level dot connecting sounds like a logistical headache and quite the opposite of AI’s promise of saving time through improved efficiency.

For now, using AI to grade assignments is not a slam dunk, but I’ll continue to monitor its potential and report back any changes.

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Summer School

May 2, 2023

As a freelance writer and illustrator, it’s my job to stay on top of the latest tools to create, market and distribute my writing, illustrations, videos and audio content.

If this is relevant to your job too, join me in class this summer for Digital Communications Strategy & Social Media (also available in Micro courses) and/or Writing Digital Content at the University of Toronto SCS.

Hot topics will include:

• What’s next for marketers as we move out of the Age of Social Media and into the Age of AI?
• How to use AI as a personal assistant & creativity enhancer, even when it scares you.
• How to reach and win over your audience now that they can choose between chatbot answers and search engine results.

To learn more, go to


The School recommends registering by Friday, May 12.

From May 16-18: The website will be undergoing maintenance and will not be accessible for course registrations.

If you miss that time frame, not problem! Email me at and I’ll figure out a way to get you in through a window.



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