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The Rise Of AI: What It Means For Writers
“By far, the greatest danger of Artificial Intelligence is that people conclude too early that they understand it.” —Eliezer Yudkowsky
All around us, our world is changing. Rapidly. Society as we know it is constantly evolving, and as we know, new developments tend to lead to adjustments, culturally, economically, socially, etc. The most recent evolution that I can’t help but read about almost everywhere I look lately is Artificial Intelligence (AI) and just how much it seems to have matured over the past year alone.
What sparked my interest in this subject was a video I came across explaining AI writing, and its advanced capabilities that have completely changed the world of writing as we know it. Right this moment you could find an AI program online that could generate entire essays, stories, and books for you at the click of a button. Personally, that sounds unbelievable, exciting, and heartbreaking all at the same time, and I wanted to discuss what this technology means for the future of creatives like us.
First, let’s unpack what AI writing is and how it’s accomplished. Writing AI is artificial intelligence technology that analyzes large data sets in a certain language in order to produce written content in desired formats. Most AI writing assistants use GPT-3 to produce human-like text. Then, AI guesses what to write next based on all of the text it has scrawled in the past. Think of it like supercharged predictive text. It’s commonly used for short-form writing like headlines, bullet points and short paragraphs, but is still being used today to write entire books, effectively cutting the time it takes to write a full-length novel down to nearly nothing. While the popularity of this tool is growing, the disadvantages of using a mechanism to imitate human creativity should be carefully considered before you rush to your computer to quickly bang out Amazon’s next bestseller.
Because the AI writer essentially uses words and content that already exists to predict what words should go one after the other, it’s not technically producing original phrases. The mechanism simply can’t replicate human creativity, and the writing you receive from AI is just a product or combination of what already exists. If not being able to create something original isn’t enough reason to deter you from using AI to solely write your book, studies are showing that AI can produce false information, grammatical errors and other inaccuracies, which would mean you would either publish inaccurate work, or have to go through and correct errors, which would be tedious and open the door for additional mistakes. In addition, AI writing assistants simply can’t duplicate an author’s voice, or style, and that’s ultimately in my opinion what separates us as unique writers.
That is not to say there are not some benefits from us utilizing this technology. We can take advantage of this development by using it to break through our creative blocks. Writing is a daunting task, and I know there’s been so many times myself that I’ve put off writing because it takes so much brain power to even start, and that’s where AI can help. Now, we can create outlines, bullet points, and paragraphs that serve as starting points to get the ‘hard part’ out of the way and get those creative juices flowing! Also, if you’re like me and titles, chapter names and headlines are somehow the hardest to write, we can have a generated list of possibilities in seconds.
Hate it or love it, AI writing is around, and seems like here to stay. According to Written Word Media, “2023 will be the year of AI writing,” wrote Bryan Cohen of Best Page Forward. “But it won’t mean that the ‘robots’ will take over the bestseller list. Authors will use AI tools like Sudowrite as part of their regular process to blow past writer’s block and create more books in less time.”
While I am excited to utilize this tool to enhance my search engine optimization (SEO), kickstart my creativity and brainstorm shorter phrases, I can’t help but be a little nervous for what this means for the future of publishing. I’m holding onto the hope that readers and publishers will still maintain a literary standard and that there won’t be a mass market of books so similar to one another that we’ve lost distinguishably unique authorial styles. But, I believe that if there are enough creatives out there (like all of you incredibly imaginative writers) that recognize the value of hard, individual work to express the artistry in our minds that the computer can’t replace, the literary sphere can soar in the coming years with the aids that AI can provide.