I was intending to review my rereads of the Princelings this week, but I found the IWSG Question of the month so interesting, I knew I couldn’t do both subjects justice in one post. If you’d like to see what I discovered when I reread my original book series, that post is here.

Insecure Writers Support Group badge

This is my Insecure Writers Support Group post, in which we share our successes and failures as writers, our insecurities, in fact. Anyone can join in, just sign up at the IWSG Sign-up page, write a blog post on the first Wednesday of the month, and go back to that sign up page to link with everyone else–or a goodly sample. Our host is Alex J Cavanaugh, and cohosting this month are:

Natalie Aguirre, Kim Lajevardi, Debs Carey, Gwen Gardner, Patricia Josephine, and Rebecca Douglass!

Note that I’ll be reviewing Rebecca’s new book on October 14th, so please come back then. My review of Patricia’s Influenced is here.

An Interesting Question of the Month

The topic of AI writing has been heavily debated across the world. According to various sources, generative AI will assist writers, not replace them. What are your thoughts?

IWSG Question for October 23

I have so many thoughts. That’s why I write.

So… In what way(s) will generative AI assist writers? A random set of ideas…

  • It might improve spelling and grammar for those who flunked it or were too lazy at school. The ones too lazy to learn to write original things themselves, perhaps.
  • It might help professional writers who have to regurgitate the same factually based work they have done themselves, to meet deadlines with several different publications, adding writing variety to their pieces.
  • It might provide those who prefer not to read but to get their entertainment through other media to get in touch with reading things that are written for their understanding (I’m being a little rude here)
  • I can’t see any reason why a good fiction or non-fiction author with original ideas and with the physical ability to put their thoughts into a manuscript format would bother getting AI involved.
  • The corollary of which is to say I can see lots of reasons why people who aren’t good fiction writers might resort to AI, which is, after all, one step away from plagiarism.

Interesting industrial revolution

In more important terms, I see parallels between mechanisation of industry and the introduction of AI. People lost jobs to machines, lost livelihoods. Others found new careers. But it takes time for the new careers to develop, and for people to develop the skills for them.

Original writing will not disappear, even though original weaving, handlooms, the tweed industry for example, are relegated to ‘cottage industries’. I go to craft fairs. People are making silver earrings, paper pictures, glass ornaments, useful wooden items, woolly hats scarves and gloves, and a whole load more, simply because they want to. People buy them. It isn’t easy being a cottage industry, but many people value things that have had a bit of love added to them in the making.

Lymington 26th March 22

I think generative AI is a symptom of the mindset of the rich. It exemplifies the differences between those of us who love our planet, want to reduce the damage we are doing to it, and who believe self-sufficiency has a lot going for it, and the ones who just want to live in a hightech world, regardless of the social, environmental and economic costs.

It also irritates the hell out of me when I see AI and read it as A.I. and not Al (short for Alastair, or Alan). I spent half my time reading Rebecca’s Coastal Corpse reminding myself the person was Al, not A.I. To be fair to me, when I got my computer to read one of my draft scifi books to me it pronounced my A.I. (without periods) as ‘Aie’, so it was obviously totally confused as well.

AI will probably affect the market for books. If people like reading them, fair enough. But there’ll still be room for artisan books – books written lovingly by real people. Marketing them will be even more hell, of course.

Nicholas C Rossis does a much better, more balanced analysis of this, see it here. https://nicholasrossis.wordpress.com/2023/09/29/skills-writers-need-in-the-ai-era/

Postscript:

Last month’s birthday post saw me take my electronic records for granted. Just because I use the IWSG badge I loaded up in Jan 2018 didn’t actually mean that’s when I started posting. That was when this badge came out! I’d been posting for at least two years before that! Thank you Rebecca, for helping me sort that out. Thank goodness I have friends to sort me out.

An Interesting Question | #IWSG
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9 thoughts on “An Interesting Question | #IWSG

  • 4 October, 2023 at 6:47 am
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    Interesting thoughts, Jemima, and many thanks for the kind mention! Looks like we need to stop using the name AL in our fiction 🙂

    Reply
  • 4 October, 2023 at 9:54 am
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    Intelligent or not, yet again, tech isn’t allowing me to Like. Count me in.
    Interesting thoughts, writing using one’s own brain as a craft, not a lucrative global industry.
    My husband’s work is in this territory, including machine learning – less alarming when
    defined by him as ‘ teaching computers’. Drop that negative word ‘ artificial’ , and recognise an efficient tool designed and managed by intelligent humans .

    Don’t know any Als, but doesn’t the name suggest Depression ?

    Reply
  • 4 October, 2023 at 12:25 pm
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    I agree with you that original writing will not disappear. But it can save time for more basic writing as well as other things, like detecting cancer. We need to be open to the good it can do but not let it take over creative writing.

    Reply
  • 4 October, 2023 at 1:40 pm
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    It will take time for people to adjust to a new career. I don’t envy those fresh out of college with any type of creative degree.

    Reply
  • 4 October, 2023 at 2:59 pm
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    “The corollary of which is to say I can see lots of reasons why people who aren’t good fiction writers might resort to AI, which is, after all, one step away from plagiarism.”

    This point makes me wonder how long until I start seeing pins on Pinterest titled “Make easy money writing books with AI!” Pins already exist touting how easy it is to write a book and make money so it’s only natural those articles to pivot to claiming AI will help you make easy money on writing.

    Reply
  • 4 October, 2023 at 5:20 pm
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    I do kind of hate to think that original writing will become as “boutique” as hand-bound books. And Alex’s comment about the young starting out hits home, as my eldest is pretty clearly launching on a career based on writing. And so much of what she does is digest existing texts (air crash investigation reports) to create analyses that are accessible to ordinary readers–is that something AI could do, or is it exactly what AI can’t do–figure out what’s important, what it means beyond what it says, and how to present it?

    Reply
    • 4 October, 2023 at 9:40 pm
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      I think Nicholas asserts in his article that it will be hard to get AI to the stage where it could replace genuine expertise..

      Reply
  • 5 October, 2023 at 12:19 pm
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    This is such a deep topic. I don’t think anything will ever be as good as the human touch in writing, but my fear is that eventually things could get close.

    Reply
  • 6 October, 2023 at 9:33 pm
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    Excellent points. Like any artisanal product, marketing to find the audience is going to be a factor eventually. I worry the AI robot will always have more time, as it doesn’t need to eat, sleep, or have friends and family.

    “And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” ― Sylvia Plath

    J Lenni Dorner (he/him 👨🏽 or 🧑🏽 they/them) ~ Speculative Fiction & Reference Author and Co-host of the April Blogging #AtoZchallenge

    Reply

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