Newsletter 037 – April 28, 2023
Note: (4-29-2023) The winner of a free autographed print copy of Jagged Man is Diana Hardt. When the book is republished (hopefully later this year) she will get one of the first copies of it. Congratulations, Diana.
The newsletter this time is just a brief (semi-mild) rant about the infusion of AI into writing. The opinions expressed here are my own. Chat GPT and other AI programs have been in the news lately, and there’s been a lot of buzz about how artificial intelligence could make writers (and a lot of other professions) obsolete. This is an issue that will play out over time, and there’s no way to tell what the outcome will be. Artificial intelligence is a technology that does have the capability (once it has the bugs wrung out of it) of transforming all of our lives in a variety of ways. I hope it will never replace writers, but (of course) I do have a personal stake in whatever the outcome turns out to be.
The article at the link below will give you an idea how some “writers” are already publishing books using programs like Chat GPT. I placed “writers” in quotes because I believe that people who use AI to write entire books can’t claim to be the authors of those books (if the writing isn’t coming from within them). From what I’ve seen so far, those books aren’t very good; and — because the chatbots get their data by scraping it off the Internet — almost all AI-generated books are created using material that’s already been published. I believe that some of these “authors” (or maybe the companies that are creating the AI programs) are going to find themselves embroiled in copyright issues and lawsuits, and could end up marked as intellectual property thieves. I’m a firm believer in using technology to enhance the brain’s ability to function, but I don’t think I should support a technology that supplants the human mind or steals from creators.
This is my assurance to you that [unless something drastic changes in the way AI is “trained”] no chatbot will ever write one of my books. I write and edit slowly, but I do that to hopefully make my books thoughtful and humorous and enjoyable for my readers. I *have* been considering using AI to help enhance some of my cover photos, but the legal issues surrounding copyright are still a bit iffy, so I will have to decide about that once things have settled down a bit. I think I do a decent job of designing my covers but it’s a very time-intensive process. Unless I can be assured that I won’t be violating anyone’s copyright, though, I’ll keep creating my own designs until I can either afford to hire a professional or until AI doesn’t violate any copyright laws.
The next newsletter will be about learning the new software I’ll be using to perfect the cover images and design the interior layouts for Flood and Fire and Jagged Man. That’s usually the final step before publication, although I do tinker with ideas for my covers before that (whenever I have a few spare minutes here and there).
See you then,
[“Technology…the knack of so arranging the world that we don’t have to experience it,” Max Frisch, Homo Faber, 1957.]
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