The future is Automatic. George knew.

Welcome back to another blog hop, with #OpenBook. Here’s this week’s prompt.

Don’t forget to click the purple button to see what everyone else has to say on this week’s subject. It’s at the end of my post.

Have you played with AI in your writing? Tell us what you think about it.

No, I haven’t and the short answer is that I have no desire to.

As for my opinion, I think that it’s important to remember that George Orwell predicted the use of “machines” to write both news and fiction for the masses in his dystopian novel, 1984. He portrayed it as a way of producing high-volume/low-quality entertainment to promote a message and keep the people happy. In his world, everything was constantly being rewritten to fit the desired narrative.

Not that I’m suggesting for one moment the same thing could be happening now, with the aid of AI.

As for what I think about it, while I recognise its usefulness in many fields, I can’t help thinking that its whole creative aspect is based on harvesting data from other creatives and then rehashing it. Now, in a scientific context, that’s no bad thing.

AI’s ability to look at everything that has ever been recorded, cross reference and connect seemingly unrelated information at high speed has the potential to change things like medicine and engineering radically.

However, as all the AI-created fiction is based on an analysis of everyone else’s writing, there’s no spark of originality in most of the product that I’ve seen. There’s none of the quirky, independent thought that comes from an expert storyteller. And none of the emotion, empathy or depth. It’s all very stilted and formulaic.

If we’re not careful, AI could soon be learning from AI-generated work, leading to a self-perpetuating spiral of regurgitated content.

Which is not to say that it won’t get better, and quickly, as the technology develops.

I suspect that my work, whether it’s novels, short stories, blog posts or any other scribblings has already been sampled and used in the creation of AI-generated text. I expect I “gave” permission on page 197 of the agreement I electronically signed, after reading it all.

As a method of producing new content, reading and learning from the work of others is not automatically a bad thing, it’s how inspiration often works in the real world. There are so many ways of combining words to make a story.

What bothers me more is the way that I suspect the AI content will be marketed, either without admitting it’s AI-generated or that it’s somehow better because it is.

Both of these are potentially bad news in their own way. This also raises the concern that a lot of fake news and propaganda could be generated in a very short time by AI, flooding the world of media with opinions and “facts,” based not on truth but on someone’s agenda.

If it isn’t happening already. Now that is something that Orwell would recognise. And it’s also a potential starting place for a whole new genre of fiction, which, hopefully, will be written by real people.

Until next time.

Let me know what you think about this week’s subject.

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6 Responses

  1. Tilly

    I once read an article about a teenager publishing a book about wokeness on Amazon using ChatGPT, on the radio, when the host asked this girl what is the definition of wokeness, she couldn’t work out a clear and analyzable answer. It’s a cringing world in which the new generations absorb fast-food knowledge. It’s convenient, simple, and effortless, but what they learn was like the crumple of burger wrapping. It’s a mess and gradually as the publications replace their editors and writers. We gradually cannot recognize what’s real or fake because no person to validate the truth.

    Like the Republican campaign ad made by AI, some were misinformation, but most people just absorbed the information produced by AI within a minute. I would prefer the inventors to have some ethical standards to utilize the power of AI to help underdeveloped countries and bring them ideas of democracy and human rights, but I think they just want to make trillions of money to make people live like a zombie, who doesn’t eat brains but order AI to order the food delivery.

    PS. 1984 is my favorite book!!!!! It’s beyond a masterpiece.

    • Richard Dee

      Human history is littered with great ideas that have been hijacked by those only interested in money and power. 1984 should be seen as a warning, not an instruction book.

  2. P.J. MacLayne

    I heard recently that a lawyer was sanctioned for providing a brief that was AI generated, and included cases for reference that didn’t actually exist. The AI program had made them up.

    • Richard Dee

      Perhaps the AI learned its case history from some crime fiction?

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