A Final Cautionary Note on AI

In today’s Journal

* Quote of the Day
* You Can’t Make This Shup
* In Case You Wondered
* A Final Cautionary Note on AI
* Of Interest

Quote of the Day

“Human writing can be so beautiful. There is beauty in the human prose that computers can never and should never co-opt.” Chloe Xiang, a CompSci student who built an app that can detect ChatGPT-generated text

You Can’t Make This Shup

New report finds a number of data brokers—companies that sell aggregated data typically pulled from sources including mobile apps and websites—offering personally identifiable mental health information for purchase (More)

“Public needs to wisen up to nuclear winter risks, experts warn.” from Interesting Engineering

Um, why? “Wising up” to nuclear winter risks will only increase stress levels and give those who are “wised up” one more thing to worry about. Yet there is absolutely nothing the average citizen can do to mitigate either the effects of a nuclear winter or the likelihood of it. I’d rather not be tasked with worrying about things I can’t control.

In Case You Wondered

Where do BCE and CE come from?

“These abbreviations are tied to BC and AD without being explicitly tied to Christianity as well. BCE (Before Common Era) and CE (Common Era) have been used since the early 1700s by various writers and English language dictionaries.” from Antidote.info

So there y’go. Not a new thing (and not a new mandate from the PC police, or at least not an original mandate) at all. See more in “Of Interest.”

A Final Cautionary Note on AI

If you hadn’t been able to tell before now, I do not advocate using artificial intelligence (AI) to generate content for a story of any length. Not that anyone reading this will be able to keep from using AI in the future as it becomes more and more a part of everyday life.

Of course, as always, do what you want to do. The following are only the ramblings of one old guy. But then, I still bemoan the loss of television that doesn’t stop to “buffer” at the most inopportune times.

To be specific, if you want to use AI to generate a story starter or “prompt” (A character with a problem in a setting: Go), I see no problem with that. But I personally believe using it to generate actual content or even suggestions or recommendations for content is a grievous error.

How a character might react to a situation is something the writer should get directly from the character, and how a situation unfolds is something the writer should learn as it unfolds around the writer and the character(s).

Here’s the biggest problem: Feeding information into an AI program and then asking it how a situation might unfold or how a character might react and then taking those suggestions or recommendations WILL send a negative message to your creative subconscious and your characters: “I don’t trust you, I don’t need you, and I don’t have the patience to run through the story with you.”

And your characters will fold their little arms and refuse to play further with you. It might take them awhile to withdraw completely, but they will. (“You have your stupid AI friend, so whaddaya need me for?”)

And if you intentionally shut off your characters by repeatedly sending messages to them that you don’t trust them (ahem—revising, rewriting, inviting outside criticism and “correction,” and now the use of AI-generated content) frankly you deserve for your characters to shut you out.

All of that being said, I believe there’s a reason human beings live only so long. They die, mercifully, about the time they’re beginning to feel overwhelmed by the advent of policies and technology that weaken human beings.

As AI pertains to fiction writers, I have absolutely no doubt that future generations—and by that I mean people currently under the age of 50 and on out through those not born yet—will use AI to generate at least part of the content of their stories. And when they do, that will be the beginning of the end of our species’ ability to actually “create” fiction.

The current collaboration that occurs between the human and his or her creative subconscious, which is either where the characters exist or the avenue by which we access them, will cease to be.

The new collaboration will exist between the human who claims to be a fiction writer and at least one AI program, which of course contains nothing new, nothing original, nothing that wasn’t thought up at one time or another by some other human being to later be skimmed and culled by some AI program.

And understand, I’m not saying those future faux-creatives will willingly and knowingly “turn against” the concept of using their own mind. The current and forthcoming AI processes will simply be part of their world. It will not be an adjunct to their own mind and creative process, but an integral part of both. Using AI will seem as natural to them as not using it seems to me.

Of course, that really isn’t much different from the way things are today. Today, most longer fictions (novellas and novels and novel series) are written by committee, though the novelists themselves will never admit that even to themselves, much less to others.

Yet they admit openly that they revise, seek external critical input, then rewrite etc. They are publicly grateful for the “input” and “assistance,” yet still claim sole authorship. Folks, the only real difference is that AI programs are more thorough and much quicker than critique groups and input from other conscious, critical minds whose basis is logic.

But in the future, fiction writers will actually brag about using the latest AI in their so-called “creations,” which are actually constructions. In fact, that’s already started. You only have to look around the internet to witness it.

Today, only those who have risked ridicule by testing, verifying, and finally trusting their own creative subconscious produce truly unique, original short stories, novellas and novels. The others revise, rewrite, and polish out the originality.

But the worm is turning. Eventually, nobody will be willing to risk true originality. Nor will anyone care. Think about that.

Talk with you again soon.

Of Interest

See “What readers hate most in books” at https://www.thepassivevoice.com/what-readers-hate-most-in-books/.

See “Should We Use BCE Instead Of BC?” at https://www.dictionary.com/e/should-we-use-bce-instead-of-bc/. An interesting article if the topic appeals to you.

See “BC and AD, BCE and CE: What’s the Difference?” at https://www.antidote.info/en/blog/reports/bc-and-ad-bce-and-ce-whats-difference.

See “Not Even More Rules” at https://killzoneblog.com/2023/02/not-even-more-rules.html. Oh, did I ever leave a comment.

See “15 Things You Need to Know About the Copyright Office’s New Small Claims Court” at https://www.thepassivevoice.com/15-things-you-need-to-know-about-the-copyright-offices-new-small-claims-court/.

The Numbers

The Journal…………………………………… 1120 words

Writing of “Hortencia Alvarez” (shrug—I dunno)

Day 1…… 1089 words. Total words to date…… 1089

Writing of Wes Crowley: Deputy US Marshal 2 (WCG9SF4)

Day 1…… 3231 words. Total words to date…… 3231
Day 2…… 2990 words. Total words to date…… 6221
Day 3…… 1805 words. Total words to date…… 8026
Day 4…… 2025 words. Total words to date…… 10051

Total fiction words for February……… 1089
Total fiction words for 2023………… 47962
Total nonfiction words for February… 13100
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 33450
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 81412

Calendar Year 2023 Novels to Date…………………… 1
Calendar Year 2023 Novellas to Date……………… 0
Calendar Year 2023 Short Stories to Date… 0
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 72
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 8
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 217
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31

Disclaimer: Because It Makes Sense, I preach trusting your characters to tell the story that they, not you, are living. Duh. See My Best Advice for Fiction Writers at https://hestanbrough.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/My-Best-Advice-for-Fiction-Writers.pdf.

5 thoughts on “A Final Cautionary Note on AI”

  1. What a terrifying thought. If it does get to that point, I hope I’m long gone, but I probably won’t have that luxury.

    To me, all this AI stuff is just so ridiculous. At first, it just seemed silly, like a bad sci-fi story I couldn’t take seriously. Now that I see the truth of how things are going, it really worries me. I can’t even fathom ever using beta readers to help me write my own fiction, let alone a soulless piece of technology. The fact that there are writers actually using this to write their books for them blows my mind. Like, is this the Twilight Zone??

    I can’t see myself ever taking part in this craziness, unless it is forced on me somehow, but I’m pretty obstinate about protecting my process, particularly the analog, modern-technology-free aspect of it. I still write all my fiction on an Alphasmart Neo, and have been stubbornly using the same 2003 version of Microsoft Word I’ve been used to for years to transfer what I write to my computer so I can cycle through it. Frankly I wouldn’t have a computer at all if I wasn’t so determined to publish and get my work out there (grin).

    But I think it’ll be easier for most writers these days to accept using AI because, as you said, they’re already used to writing by committee and seeking outside input for every word they put on the page. To me, it’s horrifying; to them, it would probably just seem like a natural extension of what they’re already doing.

    It just makes me worry for my future as a real indie author, and the rest of us out there. I only just started publishing 3 years ago. I’m hoping my career can last at least a little bit longer than that. It’s hard enough finding readers as it is—I can only imagine it’ll be impossible once AI written novels flood the market. But either way, regardless of how the publishing climate changes, I’m not an indie publisher first. I’m a writer first. I’m always going to write and I’ll always write the same way, by trusting my characters, trusting my creative subconscious, and trusting myself. I’d still write the same way even if it was just me and a spiral notebook (grin)

    Now I’m off to go write and bury myself deep in the adventures of my characters so I don’t have to think about all these unsettling things, haha.

    • I commiserate completely, Chyna. I will keep writing and doing what I want the way I want. When the time comes that whatever AI program asks me whether I want it to generate content for me, I’ll Just Say No. And should the time come when AI will sense a fiction and automatically start “helping” with content, I’ll turn off the computer, unplug it, and go fishing.

  2. This is indeed a terrifying thought. I hope to be an under-50 writer who doesn’t use AI, ever. But after reading your post I’m not sure I have high hopes for myself.

    Sometimes I think I was born in the wrong era…technology is so overwhelming. I just want to hang out with my characters, sans tech.

    • Erin, as long as you keep the writing fun, as long as you just hang out with your characters, I think you’ll be fine. Like Dean says, writers write to tell stories. Everything else is secondary to the real fiction writer.

Comments are closed.