The Coming A.I. Literary World
UPSIDES AND DOWNSIDES OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
DILEMMAS AND NIGHTMARES
ARGUMENTS FOR A.I.
Use of the technology– ChatGPT and other such devices– like most new technologies, may be inevitable. It presents a shortcut for those who want to become writers, without having to learn the craft. Humans being what they are– a corrupt, opportunistic species– many wannabes will take the shortcut.
Could those who refuse the technology end up like old-school folk singers horrified when Bob Dylan “went electric” at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival by playing an electric guitar? Were many of the changes in rock music in the 1960s and 70s due simply to improved technology– from larger amplifiers to enhanced studio recording tricks to computer synthesizers?
Will the situation be similar for literature?
One of the strongest arguments for A.I. might become the perceived need not to be left behind.
ARGUMENTS AGAINST A.I.
So far, opponents to ChatGPT writings are focused on copyright and plagiarism issues– potentially enormous as the robotic brains steal phrases and sentences from any and every writer contained in their data base. But also potentially unpoliceable.
Other arguments against the use of A.I.:
A.) The literary world is already swamped with too many writers and too much writing, for much of anything to stand out from the mass. With A.I. bots creating poems, stories, and novels, that enormous mass of writing will multiply many times over. Prolific genre authors who previously produced three books a year, will now produce ten. Or thirty.
Given the law of supply and demand, the value of the individual writer– already low– will drop near zero.
B.) The technology will put thousands of employed writers, particularly essayists and journalists, out of work. On-staff people and freelancers both. Articles for a magazine or news site which used to be written by, say, twenty different writers, will now be handled by two. Expand this situation to include copyeditors, illustrators, and graphic designers. That’s a lot of pink slips.
I’ve joked that eventually Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos will run their entire plutocratic business empires with a few apps on their phone. This is becoming increasingly true.
C.) There’s the question of what increased reliance on devices to do thinking and creativity for us will do to our minds. Will our brains further atrophy as we advance away from a human-skills based society? This is a huge and hugely-important subject I’ll tackle in another post.
TOO MUCH TECHNOLOGY?
Will we reach a point of Too Much Technology in the arts, when the unique virtuoso creator rises again in appreciation and importance?
I think of the 2008 documentary, “It Might Get Loud,” about rock music guitarists Jimmy Page, Jack White, and The Edge from the band U2. The one of the three who relies the most on computer tricks and shortcuts for effects– The Edge– comes away from the documentary, at least for this viewer, by far the worst. Respect for him as an artist diminished, while appreciation of the other two true guitar virtuosos who rely on their hands and their own minds is enhanced.
Then again, in today’s world of pop music recording, the electric guitar itself has become a dinosaur.
-Karl Wenclas for New Pop Lit News