The 10X Scenario
Many people fail to grasp that one of this country’s chief problems is too much productivity. Including in the literary world. We’re drowning in productivity.
Legions of tech fanatics on Twitter and elsewhere continually claim that A.I. chatbots are or will be ten times more productive, for writers and other creators, than what existed prior. Few consider the consequences.
A.) If a magazine staff is suddenly ten times more productive, will this mean eliminating nine-tenths of the staff?
B.) If authors– self-published or mainstream– are ten times more productive, will ten times the number of books enter the book market?
ALREADY a host of genre authors make a living off the sheer volume of their novels. The more prolific produce ten novels a year (some more), now. What happens when they can release a new novel every week? Or every day?
Opportunists and financial operators exist who will take advantage of any opening. (There’s the example of author “Mari Silva,” who’s produced 340+ books in the past few years, before ChatGPT. The books have been traced to a real estate guy in Canada. A slick business, no doubt profitable, with no concern with such niceties as copyrights.)
A figure as high as one-hundred times productivity becomes conceivable if every person who ever had the passing thought to write a book or novel, but lacked the ability to do so, decides to, using a chatbot.
(The figures of ChatGPT usage already are astounding, per this article, which sees increase in its use continuing at least until the end of 2024.)
It doesn’t matter if the resulting mass of books and ebooks are inept, or– as promised by AI tech fans– indistinguishable from human-written books. Of minimal quality or not, numbers of product will skyrocket. The question becomes: how many books will overwhelm an already-saturated market? Ten times what exists today? 30X? 100X?
Simple supply and demand: dumping too much product onto a market, without corresponding increase in demand, lessens the value of the product. In this case, books and writers.
The end of the Beanie Baby craze all over again: value plummeting to nothing.
The same situation will apply, by the way, to stories and poems sent to literary journals like ours. The increased bombardment will detract from the genuine article. For the serious individual poet or writer: the number of other poets and writers you’ll be competing against will be that much greater. It will be that much harder for the talented new writer to be discovered.
Another problem for online literary sites and small press publishers will be upstart AI sites like this one, which is publishing as many as fifteen new AI-generated short stories per day. Given that search engines give preference to frequency of publication, it might become impossible for any human-powered literary magazine, no matter how well staffed, to keep up.
NOTE: Dozens of AI fiction-story generator websites are already available, including those run by established outfits like Canva and Reedsy– which seems, for those two enterprises, a betrayal of their previous customer base of actual artists and writers.
A necessary first step is having all books which are generated by AI devices labeled as such, so readers know what they’re purchasing. Which is the point of our “Save the Writer!” petition.
Its real purpose: to draw attention to the problem and offer some pushback to the growing storm of AI operators.
Have you signed it yet?
-Karl Wenclas for New Pop Lit News.