It would seem that it is necessary for a “Career author” as it were to put in my 2 cents’ worth about the intersection of AI and the creative endeavour, that crossroads between true art and regurgitation of learned tropes (which is still, absent sentience, what “artificial intelligence” still is)
For the record, I haven’t even tried interacting with ChatGPT, the infamous AI engine at the heart of all of this, but others of my tribe appear to have done so – in fact John Scalzi went all the way:
“I asked ChatGPT if it was here to take my job as a novelist, and this is the response it generated:
No, I’m not here to take anyone’s job as a novelist. As an AI language model, my purpose is to assist and provide support in various tasks related to language and communication. While I am capable of generating text and even writing stories, my abilities are limited to what I have been trained on and the quality of my output is determined by the input and instructions provided to me.
Furthermore, writing is a creative process that involves imagination, emotion, and personal experience. As an AI language model, I lack the capacity for creativity and original thought that is essential for creating compelling stories. Therefore, while I can help you with your writing tasks, I can never replace the unique voice and perspective that you bring to your own writing.
Of course, that’s just what an AI intent on taking my job would say to lull me into a sense of security and complacency, wouldn’t it.”
(read the rest of Scalzi’s take here)
And you can find, in many places on the Net, editor Neil Clarke (of Clarkesworld) making his own views plain, after having been deluged by a metric ton of AI generated submissions to the point where he has closed subs to the magazine for the time being until things get sorted out. Somehow.
Things have been put forward. Things like going back to snailmail submissions. Or paying a “Small fee” if you are a “real writer” which boils down to writers paying to have their work considered for publication, which is infamous. Or having reputable and decently paying markets being “invitation only” or “agent only” markets, which leaves a whole lot of (human) writers out in the cold through no fault of their own. It would seem that at some level it is easy enough to distinguish the AI (because it’s repetitive, and ploddy, and trope-reliant) from the “real” (i.e. more original, fresh, vivid stuff) writers – but that isn’t the issue so much as the sheer volume of the AI stuph generated and then autosubmitted electronically, pouring into editors’ inboxes and glutting the market to the point of making the editor’s job untenable (they are there to publish good stories, not spend endless hours puzzling out whether it was a (wo)man or a machine that produced the tale they’re currently evaluating. I don’t know what the answer is here, but one does feel a whole heap of sympathy for the editors in that position. But it’s the writers, in the end, who will end up being stuck with the tab when all is said and done.
Not all of us are “established’ enough to have the right contacts to ensure a shot at publication. Unless things change radically at some level it has not been traditionally an agent’s job to market SHORT fiction to magazine markets – but even if it were not all of us have agents, and not all of us who do have agents who have enough spare time to market every short story their client produces. It will be tragic if the advent of the grifters trying to make a quick buck by churning out AI “fiction” actually wind up poisoning the well for the real human beings, most of whom write as a vocation and have spent sometimes a lifetime working towards accomplishing their own dreams without turning to cheating by using machines (other than as glorified typewriters).
Is the AI “writer” coming for my job? Perhaps not yet because they are wayyyy not good enough to mimic a real writer writing a real story but that’s a matter of reiteration and learning and practice and I wonder if they will come a time when they might become indistinguishable. On the day that the soul of humanity, its artists. is replaced by machine regurgitated “art” of any sort whether visual or written or any other kind, is the day that the human race will truly begin to die. I hope that day never comes.
But in the meantime, we have markets (and there are few enough of those to begin with) closing to human beings because cheaters with the equivalent of a million machine monkeys roped into a gigantic typing pool are producing enough garbage to literally bury the actually valuable HUMAN generated stuff. And that is not the end of the world… yet… but it is a canary and this coal mine is starting to feel mighty stuffy.
For what it’s worth, here’s a declaration.
My stories are fully, 100%, certified organic and human. No piece of work with my name attached is EVER going to have the faintest whiff of machine oil about it. What you get is pure human mind, human heart, human spirit… human story. And I sure hope that there will still be somewhere to publish it when the dust settles..