The Future of Lost Treasure

Today’s Bloganuary prompt is:

What is a treasure that’s been lost?

I thought about this one for a while. Other than people I’ve loved and lost, I couldn’t think of any treasure I’ve lost. And I wasn’t in the mood to write a sad heartfelt piece of the death of loved ones. So then I looked at the prompt again, and I realize it didn’t specify that I should write about a treasure that I personally lost, right? So I decided to take this into a different direction.

My first inclination was to write about Jean Lafitte and the rumors of all the treasure buried (and subsequently lost over time) here in Louisiana. Once I googled a bit though, I realized that would take way too much time and effort than I have available to me today. So I thought about taking a few shortcuts.

AI Writing Assistants To The Rescue!

I’m not sure how many of you have been following along with the recent explosion of AI text and image generators in the past few months, but it’s been pretty amazing and exciting to watch the progress. What started as a novelty that wasn’t very good has skyrocketed in both ability and popularity. No idea what the heck I’m talking about? Ok, let’s break it down a bit.

What is AI writing?

AI writing is the process of using artificial intelligence (AI) to generate written content. There are a variety of AI tools that can assist with writing, including language models that can suggest words or phrases, grammar checkers, and summarization algorithms. Some AI writing tools are designed to help with specific tasks, such as translation or content generation, while others are more general-purpose and can assist with a range of writing tasks. AI writing is still a developing field, and the quality and capabilities of different AI writing tools can vary significantly.

Does that help clear it up? What did you think of that definition? I ask because I didn’t write that paragraph. An AI writing tool wrote it. I supplied the question, also known as a “prompt”: What is AI writing? The tool, which in this case was ChatGPT, supplied the answer, which I’ve copied above. I personally think that answer, written by an automated computer that has essentially learned about nearly everything ever written on the web, is pretty darn good. And it took about 20 seconds for it to supply me with that answer.

Okay, so now that you know what an AI writing assistant is and have seen an example of using it, what if I went a big leap farther? Instead of asking it to write a nice, concise answer to a question, what if I asked it to make shit up? As in … write a fictional story! Oh, now that sounds significantly harder to me. Answering questions that have written data it can pull from is one thing, but making up a story from thin air? How would that go?

Let’s return to our Jean Lafitte hidden treasure idea. I used three different AI tools for this little experiment, including Sudowrite, Nichesss, and ChatGPT. First, I asked Sudowrite and Nichesss to write a story that was based on history, which should have been fairly easy, since they could pull from historical facts. Then I asked Sudowrite and ChatGPT to write entirely fictional stories with just a bit of historical background. Let’s see how all this worked out.

First Try: Sudowrite

Prompt: Write a 500 word story about where Jean Lafitte might have hidden treasure in Louisiana

The Story Generated:

Jean Lafitte, the adventurous pirate, had heard the stories of hidden treasures buried in the swampy bayous of Louisiana. He had heard tales of Spanish coin and jewels, hidden in secret crevices of the earth. But, these tales were little more than myth to him. He had searched the bayous and never found any such riches.

But, on one fateful day, Jean Lafitte was greeted by an old family friend. This friend, a former pirate himself, told him a tale that could no longer be ignored. The man told Jean Lafitte of a legendary pirate named Captain Bellamy, who had come to Louisiana in the early 1700’s. He had come to the bayou country seeking refuge from the law, and had used its many tributaries as a way to hide his ill-gotten gains.

This family friend told Jean Lafitte that before the captain had sailed away, he had hidden his treasure somewhere deep in the bayou. He had done so to return at a later date and claim it, but had met an untimely demise before he could return. He said the captain had been poisoned on one of his journeys and his body never recovered.

The old family friend said that he had searched for this treasure for many years in vain, but had always returned empty-handed. He said that he had even resorted to visiting a voodoo priestess for help, but to no avail. But, he said that if Jean Lafitte wished to try and locate this treasure himself, he should go to a certain swamp and search for a cave where no man had ever gone before.

This cave, according to the old family friend, was believed to be the final resting place of Captain Bellamy’s buried booty. He said that the cave could only be found at low tide, as it would only be visible then, and that any attempt to enter would be met with certain death.

Jean Lafitte thanked his family friend for the advice, and set out the next day to search for the hidden pirate treasure. He was hopeful, but weary of the dangers that awaited him. He had heard similar tales of dungeons guarded by monsters and of secret maps leading to impossible places.

He searched the swamps and bayous of Louisiana, using all the knowledge of the local people and his own skills to evaluate any hint of a cave. He found many places that seemed promising, but none that led him to a hidden booty.

It was only on his third day of searching that things began to change. He was following a narrow stream that had gone unnoticed before, and suddenly he saw something in the distance. There, in the murky waters, was a great black rock shaped like a skull.

He approached it cautiously, and as he got closer he saw a small crevice near its base. He knew that this must be the entrance to the cave, and he smiled as he realized he had found what he was looking for.

He carefully navigated through the narrow crevice, using his hands and feet as he went. After a few minutes he emerged into a large chamber, and there in the center of the room was a pile of gold coins and jewels. He had found the pirate treasure. Jean Lafitte smiled and said to himself, “I am rich.”

Next Try: Nichesss

Note that Nichess required that I break down the prompt into several sub-prompts, but the general idea was the same. I expanded the context based on the output that Sudowrite had given me to see if I could get a similar tale from Nichesss.


  • Did you know Jean Lafitte might have hidden treasure in Louisiana?
  • Did Captain Sam Bellamy also hide treasure in Louisiana?
  • It is rumored tht Jean lafitte searched the Louisiana bayous for treasure that Captain Bellamy buried.
  • Jean Lafitte searched for weeks on end for the treasure Captain Bellamy had hidden.

The Story Generated:

The legend of Jean Lafitte and his hidden treasure has been passed down for generations throughout Louisiana. Jean Lafitte was a privateer, or pirate, who was active in the Gulf of Mexico during the early 1800s. He and his crew of pirates were known for their daring exploits and willingness to take risks for the sake of adventure.

In 1814, Jean Lafitte and his crew were believed to have buried a large cache of treasure somewhere in Louisiana. The exact location of this treasure has never been discovered, but there are a few clues as to where it might be hidden. One clue is that Lafitte was known to frequent certain islands off the coast of Louisiana, and the other is that he was known to frequent the area.

Captain Sam Bellamy was a legendary pirate in the late eighteenth century. He was known for his daring raids and for his success in plundering ships loaded with gold and other treasures. He was especially known for his raid on the Whydah Galley, a massive treasure ship, off the coast of Massachusetts. While his exploits were well known in the East Coast, few people knew of his activities in the Gulf of Mexico.

It was a well-guarded secret, but Bellamy had indeed ventured into the Gulf of Mexico and made raids on ships there. He had also visited the shores of Louisiana, where he was said to have hidden some of his treasure. This was all speculation, however, as no one had ever found a trace of it.

The legend of Jean Lafitte and the buried treasure of Captain Bellamy was whispered throughout the bayous of Louisiana.

Jean Lafitte was a privateer and pirate who had had his share of run-ins with the law. It was said that he had stumbled upon a great fortune in treasure that belonged to the notorious pirate Captain Bellamy who had gone missing a few years prior. With his knowledge of the bayous and his experience as a pirate, Jean was the perfect person to search for the treasure.

And so, Jean Lafitte began searching the murky depths of the Louisiana bayous, using all of his cunning and wiles to try and uncover the hidden fortune. He searched for weeks on end, scouring every bayou and island in the area.

Finally, after weeks of searching, Lafitte noticed a strange rock formation near a small island. He made his way to the island and noticed that the rocks had strange markings that he had seen before in ancient maps. He realized that he had stumbled upon the very site where Captain Bellamy had buried his treasure.

He quickly began digging and soon found a large chest filled with rare coins and jewels. He was ecstatic at his find.

So let’s take a moment to analyze the output for these somewhat historical questions. What do you think of the quality of the stories? Personally, I find them pretty weak in terms of creativity. They are impressive in the fact that they could easily pass for human writing, but the writing style is mediocre at best. Nevertheless, billions of people don’t even write that well, so I think it definitely passes the test of “can it pass for human writing”. Still, both are fairly blah. To me, they sound like a 5th grader might have written them.

Okay, let’s move on now to the two tests I ran where I tried to get some true fiction written.

First Try: Sudowrite

Prompt: Write a 500 word story about a young woman who tries to find the treasure that Jean Lafitte buried in Madisonville, Louisiana.

The Story Generated:

The young woman set out on her journey at the crack of dawn. The sun was just peeking over the horizon, casting golden rays of light on the land. She was filled with anticipation and excitement for what she might find.

She had heard tales of the treasure of Jean Lafitte, which had been buried somewhere in Madisonville, Louisiana. It was said that whoever could find it would become incredibly wealthy. She had decided to take the risk and find it, no matter the cost.

She traveled far and wide, searching the land for any clues that might lead her to her destination. Eventually, she came across an old man who seemed to know something about the area. He told her of a hidden path that led upriver. He gave her a map and instructed her on how to find it.

The young woman followed the map to the letter, and eventually she found the path. It was narrow and winding, and it seemed to go on forever. But eventually, it opened up into a clearing, where a large oak tree was standing tall.

Underneath it was a small stone with an inscription written in French. She read it aloud:

“Au milieu du mystère, il y a des trésors. Jean Lafitte les a enterrés ici.”

It was a riddle. She pondered it for some time before finally coming to the conclusion that the treasure was buried somewhere in the clearing. She began digging and soon enough, she unearthed a small chest. Inside was an array of coins and jewelry.

She had found the treasure of Jean Lafitte.

She was overcome with joy and delight. She had accomplished her mission and was now incredibly wealthy. She knew that this was only the beginning of her journey.

She hurried back to town to inform everyone of her discovery. Word of her success quickly spread and she was celebrated as a hero.

From then on, her life changed forever. She now had the means to do whatever she wanted. She could travel the world, experience new things, and live life to the fullest.

She had achieved the impossible and her story became the stuff of legend. She was the talk of the town and people looked up to her as an example of what could be achieved with a little bit of determination and courage.

The young woman had achieved the impossible and found the treasure of Jean Lafitte. She had gone on an admirable journey and found success in the end.

Okay, I kinda dug the whole “let’s throw in a little French to shake things up a bit” paragraph. In case you were wondering, btw, according to Google Translate, that French translates to “Amid the mystery, there are treasures. Jean Lafitte buried them here.” Meh, kind of boring once you know what it says, but the concept was cool. The rest of the story was really low quality though. Sure, it passes the “could a human have written this” test, but again, it feels like an elementary school kid wrote it.

Second Try: ChatGPT

Prompt: Write a 500 word story about a young woman who tries to find the treasure that Jean Lafitte buried in Madisonville, Louisiana.

The Story Generated:

Caroline had always been fascinated by stories of treasure hunting, so when she heard about the legend of Jean Lafitte’s buried treasure in Madisonville, Louisiana, she knew she had to try and find it.

As a young woman in her mid-twenties, Caroline was determined and adventurous. She had always been drawn to the thrill of the hunt, and the thought of discovering a long-lost treasure was too tantalizing to resist.

She began her search by doing extensive research on Jean Lafitte and the treasure he was rumored to have buried in Madisonville. According to local legend, Lafitte had buried a large fortune in gold and jewels somewhere in the town, but no one had ever been able to find it.

Despite the many obstacles and setbacks she encountered along the way, Caroline was undaunted. She spent countless hours pouring over old maps and documents, searching for any clues that might lead her to the treasure.

Finally, after months of tireless searching, Caroline felt like she was getting close. She had pieced together a rough map of the area where she believed the treasure was buried, and she was convinced that she was on the right track.

Determined to see her quest through to the end, Caroline set out for Madisonville with a small group of friends. They arrived in the town late at night, and after a brief rest at a local inn, they set out into the wilderness.

Despite the darkness and the rugged terrain, Caroline was undeterred. She led the way through the dense forests and swamps, following the map she had created.

As the night wore on, the group encountered a series of challenges and obstacles, but they refused to give up. They pressed on, driven by their desire to find the treasure.

Finally, just as the dawn was breaking, Caroline caught sight of something glinting in the distance. She raced towards it, her heart pounding in her chest.

As she drew closer, she realized that it was a small, metal chest, buried in the ground. With trembling hands, she pulled it out of the earth and opened it to reveal a glittering hoard of gold and jewels.

Overcome with emotion, Caroline fell to her knees and wept tears of joy and gratitude. She had done it – she had found Jean Lafitte’s long-lost treasure.

As she sat there, surrounded by her friends and the riches she had worked so hard to find, Caroline knew that she would always treasure this moment as one of the greatest of her life.

Now, ChatGPT is the hottest AI content generator right now, so I really expected a lot from it. And the quality of the prose is definitely higher than the one output from Sudowrite. Still, it falls far short of being interesting. What do you think?

I titled this post “The Future of Lost Treasure” because I think it’s possible that, in the future, we may very well lose an incredible treasure. We may lose stories that would have been told by humans but were replaced by Artificial Intelligence. We aren’t there yet. Humans still tell much better, much richer and more interesting stories, than AI seems capable of right now. But in the future? I think much may be lost.

P.S. This only scratches the surface of what AI is doing these days. There are also tools to generate unique images, artwork, videos, music, and even computer code. The technology is interesting and exciting, and yes, a little scary. I’m fascinated by it all.

P.P.S. I used an AI image generator to create the featured image for this post. Here’s a funny little story about that. My prompt to create the image was “Show a pirate’s treasure chest in a swampy bayou scene”. One of the generators refused to create the image because “chest” was a forbidden topic so I removed the word “chest” from the prompt. Another one generated an image but it was focused on the chest of a pirate’s body. Oops. I ultimately went with one from Canva, but here are the images that I didn’t use. Both are pretty cool. The chesty pirate is a little odd though.

The Future of Lost Treasure 2
The Future of Lost Treasure 3

This post is part of the WordPress Bloganuary Challenge for 2023, where everyone participating is provided a writing prompt each day. Today’s prompt was to write about treasure that’s been lost.

2 responses to “The Future of Lost Treasure”

  1. Melissa Avatar

    Wow. I’m not sure if I should be impressed or terrified for the future of writing.

  2. Kgothatso Avatar

    Interesting. I only knew about Chatgp. I didn’t know about Sudowrite and Nichess. Great post though, I do want to add that you’re correct. I’m from South Africa and our government is already unhappy about this. Apparently its a cheat code for these learners especially the ones that are being home schooled but honestly I’m also fascinated by the whole thing.

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