Written By a Human (I Promise)

There’s been a bit of hullabaloo, panic, and outrage concerning the use of AI to make art, or more specifically recently, write books.

Prefer to listen instead? Listen via YouTube

Hullabaloo’s a great word, isn’t it? I like it in this case because it reflects exactly what I think about the “controversy” of AI-generated works right now.  Do we all remember when ebooks first came out? Everyone kept shouting and lamenting that PRINT BOOKS WERE ABOUT TO DIE OUT. Of course, that hasn’t happened. Instead it has expanded the multiple accessibility aspects of reading, writing, and publishing.

Or how about when audiobooks gained popularity? I mean, is listening to a book actually reading? (Obviously, yes, it is, btw.) And now some people who never used to read, do, because of audiobooks.

And we sure love those memes that showcase great Photoshop skills, don’t we?

I’m not saying that the new widespread development of AI-generated texts, voices, and art is problem-free. We’ve seen celebrity voices being co-opted, AI art in question for winning awards, and a community receiving an AI-generated compassion email following a tragic shooting event.

Bad actor events always occur with new technology.  I think about how the broad accessibility of the internet brought about a huge jump in plagiarism, but as an educator, it also helped teachers and professors re-think how to assess student knowledge and encouraged more critical thinking skills and focus on process.

Artificial Intelligence has been at play for many years, but ChatGPT made it accessible to everyone, and not just the programming and tech research crowd. There’s a rush of tricky problems surrounding it, but I also see some cool possibilities about how it can help students organize their thoughts and check on the logic of their thinking. It can generate new avenues of creativity.

Writers are using AI to help pinpoint key plot points in their writing. It’s giving them a boost with how to start their elevator pitches. It’s helping point some in the right direction of finding comp titles, character names, titles, and timelines.

Sure, much like Wikipedia shouldn’t be the only source one uses for research, likewise tools like ChatGPT and Google’s Bard shouldn’t be relied upon as a sole tool for the creative and organizational avenues.

It’s easy to feel threatened by a technology that makes something look easy when we know how hard we work to create that same kind of something without using what initially feels like a shortcut. But it’s just another new thing and honestly, as authors and writers, don’t we have enough of other things to worry about? I’m going to focus on writing my stories and not worry about anyone else’s stories, including AI’s.

Tell me, are you worried about AI? Frustrated? Neutral?

ELO’s “Time” album was a thematic one that could tell a story with all of its songs. It’s one of the few albums I don’t like to listen to on shuffle. 🙂 “Here Is the News” felt right for today’s post.

What do you think? I'd love to discuss!

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