icon caret-left icon caret-right instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads question-circle facebook circle twitter circle linkedin circle instagram circle goodreads circle pinterest circle

On Words

AI: A Few Thoughts



I have limited experience with AI.   I admit, upfront, that my interaction with the writing programs were simple test runs, driven by curiosity and viewed through a lens of skepticism. That said, I did my best to keep an open mind and silence critical voices  that have called the enemy of creativity a copyright thief, and a present and future threat to the world of books and film. I took a collaborative approach, thinking AI would act  as a coauthor of sorts, producing several different scenes.  I say that because at least half the work of creating a vivid scene requires the writer to set the parameters by defining the mood, giving characters motives, deciding what needs to be communicated and what is held back, what is the length of the scene- a paragraph, a page, two sentences, etc.?  


First, I had to define the central question to be answered within the scene: Does the character know she is being followed, what did the note say, is this the place to insert a red herring, a twist, should it contain foreshadowing, etc.? 

I found out quickly that the better the parameters and the questions were that I provided, the better the results. The bot made the scenes scarier than I had imagined, it added factual information, like weather conditions of the time and place, it knew and incorporated the number of steps inside the building (The Astor Column) and wrote inside the given parameters. 

Was it usable?

No. At this point in its development, I used the simple programs publicly available today.  What I go back were several pages that consisted of little more than a series of cliches, strange tropes and sentences that lacked the normal rhythm and cadence  found in good work. 


Was it a waste of time?

No I used the weather information, the number of stairs inside the building and one or two other facts that I would have found, but it would have taken me much more time. 


The above issues will be resolved, AI will consume more original writing that, this very minute, is being produced by more creative and innovative humans. It will probably master nuance and it will learn to generate good questions, with good parameters, and there is little doubt that it will be used in film and writing, held back or limited only by WGA, AGA and future regulatory limitations. 

The greatest appeal and threat posed by AI is its ease of use and wide access. AI writing programs offer writers, students and aspiring authors a quick, well-typed, gramatically sound products, but at what cost? 


I conclude that AI has social implications, found within the scope of book and film, that make it problematic for me. AI  is seductive because it caters to our inner sloth and allows us to follow the path of less resistance. Yawn.


We are no longer on a slippery slope when it comes to bots and the written word.  We are floating on a river moving toward the lowest resting place, before settling there.  Our laziness, and their speed and ease, may be our downfall. 


Clear writing is the direct outcome of clear thinking.  

Resist the bot. Keep struggling