Someone asked me the other day how, as an author, I felt about A.I.
Let me answer that by mentioning a query in one of the Facebook groups for authors that I belong to. A fellow asked this question: if he used A.I. to create an entire novel for him, would it be ethical for him to list himself as the author?
The fact that he even asked that question tells me he has no concept of what being an author is.
A.I. can never replace a writer’s inspiration, their unique voice, their leaps of imagination that bring fantastic stories to their readers.
As far as I’m concerned, readers around the world should begin protesting. If I buy a book by my favourite author, I want to be sure that they actually wrote it (yes, that includes the apparently widespread use of ‘ghost’ writers for authors who become famous and get too ‘busy’ to churn out their own stuff).
I liken it to all the photographic filters people are using for their social media that make them look nothing like their actual selves: it’s not real!
Quite a few people swear by using a program like ChatGPT to do research for them. Personally, I love doing my own research. My brain works kind of like a mind map – I start with a core search term, like “eggnog” that I’m doing a blog about in December. It’s typically associated with Christmas, but my mom, a nurse, made it for my brother and I whenever we were sick, so I’ll do some research on that. Then I’ll probably bring up some historical associations for the beverage. There might be regional variations in recipes that are interesting. I also recall reading some time ago that the beverage was a famous writer’s favourite tipple, and I pull up information about that. And so on, down many intriguing rabbit holes to see where they might lead me, like Alice in a wonderland of cool factoids about eggnog.
Along my journey, I’ll probably find other fascinating things that don’t relate to eggnog per se, but that I’d really like to research further for different blog posts. ChatGPT can’t replace which White Rabbits I may want to chase, or the fun I have going after them in all directions.
I write fiction, and I love following White Rabbits – many of them have led to some really great ideas for my novels. If I were writing non-fiction, an A.I. program might save some time chasing down facts for me (although I am really good at chasing them down myself).
My worry about the use of A.I. is the couch-potato brains I’m afraid will be the end result. All kinds of studies have shown how critical it is to exercise our brains regularly in order to stave off age-related dementia. If people begin letting A.I. do all the heavy lifting for them, what kind of cognitive degeneration will that lead to?
And what if, in some dystopian future, a lot of technology were to fail? Would survivors no longer be able to think for themselves?
So I will continue to say “Hell no!” every time I see an ad that wants to convert me to A.I. usage, and I will research and write my own novels for as long as I have good ideas to enchant my readers with.
If you’d like to join in a (polite, respectful) discussion of this topic, feel free to comment.