Taking a Stand on Generative AI

In today’s Journal

* Quotes of the Day
* Taking a Stand on Generative AIy
* Yesterday & The Writing
* Of Interest
* The Numbers

Quotes of the Day

“Artificial intelligence isn’t a person. It’s not even really … a machine. It’s the representative of a company. It’s the tool of not just one corporation, but many. And it only exists because real people did real art. … It’s a thief.” Chuck Wendig

“The allure of AI entices those people who fetishize ideas but dismiss the work. …. AI in creativity is for the people who have no skill, no work, no effort, no ethic. They just want to push a button.” Chuck Wendig

I seldom agree with Chuck Wendig on much, and his gratuitous use of foul language is enough to keep me from visiting his website, but on this point he is absolutely spot on.

Taking a Stand on Generative AI

As I visited websites and searched for items for the Of Interest segment of yesterday’s Journal, I found this quote in a comment on an article posted in The Passive Voice:

“PG believes that AI is another tool an author may choose to use to write more easily/better in the same manner as typewriters were selected by some authors as preferable to fountain pens and word processors were selected by some authors as preferable to typewriters.

“Does anybody want to get rid of SpellCheck or Grammarly because they’re a form of computerized writing assistance?” The Passive Guy (David P. Vandagriff)

The Passive Voice is a blog with ostensibly thousands of readers. I am disappointed. This is the kind of hot, steamy garden fodder that makes me want to throw up my hands and stop trying.

As a highly successful attorney (now retired), PG should easily recognize his comment is irresponsible and a category mistake.

And his final statement on AI — “If AI works for you as a part of your writing toolkit, PG says you should use it. If you don’t like AI for any reason, don’t use it.” — does nothing to mitigate that mistake.

Yes, typewriters (and later, electric typewriters and dedicated word processors and computers) made it easier for writers to put words on the page.

But neither the typewriter, electric typewriter, dedicated word processor nor computer (without the human writer having accessed an AI platform) will “generate” or construct or compile anything. At all. Ever.

He also erroneously classifies SpellCheck (sic) and Grammarly as “computerized writing assistance.”

Neither program assists the human writer in WRITING. Like typewriters, etc. they neither generate nor create (or even construct) anything. They help only with error checking, and in that way maybe with clarity, but both are flawed even in that capacity.

Simply put, generative AI is a cheat. It is operated by thieves.

Even if the “writer” who employs generative AI admits in the front or back matter of the work that the work was created in whole or in part by generative AI (as s/he will if s/he has even the slightest bit of integrity), s/he is still admitting to cheating.

If a student admits, even in a small note on the test paper itself, to having cheated on the test, does that admission somehow make the fact that s/he cheated more acceptable?

The same holds true for so-called writers who use generative AI.

All of that said, sure, of course, if you like generative AI, use it, and if you don’t, don’t. I am not the GM of the universe, and I don’t really care.

I’m only a guy who values integrity. Admittedly, I have more sense than money. That and opinions that are solidly based on my dislike (to put it very mildly) of cheaters and others who exhibit what Cap’n Call in Lonesome Dove called “rude behavior.”

S/he who does choose to use AI should not compound the crime by claiming s/he is a writer. S/he is at best a “prompter.” Perhaps the byline on the cover should read “Prompted by Prompter Name.”

What appears in any story generated by AI are not the words, sentences, situations, scenes and chapters of a writer. They are words, sentences, situations, scenes and chapters written by other people who actually earned the right to lay claim to them.

People who use generative AI to turn out novels and other fiction may be likened to vendors along the side of the road, selling bags of plastic or wax oranges out of the back of their pickup truck and hoping buyers will believe they were picked fresh off a tree.

They may be likened to rustlers of old who, having stolen cattle from a neighbor, change the brand with a running iron and present them for sale as their own at a stockyard.

They are the kind of people who make guys like me and Wes Crowley want to look for a rough, thorny sisal rope and a tree with a horizontal branch. We won’t, but we want to.

Okay, now I’m gonna go create something. You know, like generative AI can never do.

Yesterday & The Writing

Speaking of rabbit holes, as I attempted to update the social media icons over on HarveyStanbrough.com, I accidentally deleted all of them. So I rebuilt them.

Then I decided to add them below the Search bar in the sidebar at the Journal website too (hestanbrough.com).

My wife maintains the Facebook author page for me, since she still has a Facebook account. I often post the Journal to Twitter (X), and that icon leads to my page there. The YouTube link will lead to my YouTube channel if and when I start it again.

If you know of any fairly new social media sites where you can share what you want without Big Brother Zuckerface looking over your shoulder, let me know.

I also decided to save my Anti-Generative AI rant above for posterity as a downloadable PDF document. It’s on the Free Archives & More page now. Just as if anyone ever actually visits there for free stuff. (grin)

Finally, at around 8 a.m., I turned back to the novel. I’m hyper-interested in finding out what will happen next. I’ll update this segment when that happens.

I’ll talk with you again soon.

Of Interest

Human vs. Animal Eyes

Record Number of Libraries Hit One Million Digital Lends in 2023

Writing Tips from the Masters

The Numbers

The Journal……………………………… 1020

Writing of Blackwell Ops 18: Soleada Garcia: Settled

Day 1…… 4078 words. To date…… 4078
Day 2…… 4194 words. To date…… 8272

Fiction for January……………………. 37578
Fiction for 2024…………………………. 37578
Fiction since October 1…………… 340623
Nonfiction for January……………… 12700
Nonfiction for 2024…………………… 12700
2024 consumable words…………… 50278

2024 Novels to Date……………………… 1
2024 Novellas to Date…………………… 0
2024 Short Stories to Date……………… 0
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………… 83
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)…………… 9
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)…… 238
Short story collections…………………… 31

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Disclaimer: I am a prolific professional fiction writer. On this blog I teach Writing Into the Dark and adherence to Heinlein’s Rules. Unreasoning fear and the myths of writing will slow your progress as a writer or stop you cold. I will never teach the myths on this blog.