Sunday, March 5, 2023

Wait, What? AI and Writing

Since my last post in 2022, lots of life has happened. I traveled to Iceland, Canada, Spain and several U.S. locations; I've moved (same city); I've switched jobs then decided to basically take a sabbatical from full-time work. Here we go, sliding into 2023 with a little determination to relax.

How was all that activity on my literary output? A big fat rotten goose egg. But doesn't the saying go, If you can't write something worth reading, then do something worth writing about? I've been thinking about finishing the draft of my new novella, but the old butt-in-seat-hands-on-keyboard method has failed me of late. Part of it has to do with the relaxing part. My job had me spending so much time in front of a computer, the last thing I wanted (or want) to do was (is) spend even more time in front of a screen, even if it was (is) doing something I enjoyed. It's okay. In fact, it might be good timing now that technology has sped up. My next novel includes artificial intelligence (AI) in the storyline, and so much has happened on that front lately.

ChatGPT has become a thing. If you haven't given it a spin, stop reading this and try it. It is an online web portal to pose questions to a computer that is trained to answer like a human. Ask it anything, and it'll give you an intelligible answer. It can even write a book. People are using AI to write just about everything now, including marketing copy. I'm waffling between thinking this is incredibly cool and also thinking of my career as dust. (Ha! Even the notion that I have a career is a little comical.)

Here's the answer ChatGPT gives when I ask it: What kind of voice do you use when asked to write a novel?

As an AI language model, I don't have a personal voice, but rather can adopt to different styles and tones...

And for another five paragraphs, it gives an explanation of how that can happen. Weird? Yes, and a little wonderful. 

Will it replace you and me, the writers of the world? No, I don't think a computer will ever fully capture the human experience. Google's tried to crack the code of our behavior for years (to sell us stuff), and the one underlying bump is that humans are just too fickle. We change our minds a lot, we do things uncharacteristically, veer from our habits. That and the fact that we actually LIVE isn't something that a computer can duplicate. It won't know what it feels like to sit on a beach, watch the sunrise, drink coffee with a friend, be cramped in a stale airplane, witness war, fall in love. Or at least, not yet.

Two cups of hot drinks in white coffee cups

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