The latest AI is on the brink of making writers obsolete.
A lot of people will snigger at that. How could a few lines of code replace the vast brilliance of a human mind? That response is just a failure of imagination.
Given enough time and enough resources the rate of advance of artificial intelligence shows it will eventually be capable of doing everything that humans do and do it better.
Medical dignostic software is already better than general practitioners. Architectural programs are now better than human architects. The rapid global rollout of 3-D printed houses is better than builders can do.
For writers, the AI can already produce passable non-fiction books, blog posts and journalism. It’s very close – perhaps only months away – from making the more formulaic genres – thrillers, romance, some others.
The important thing here is that the vast majority of readers are not discerning. They just want a story to fill an hour or two between their labours. They will already buy what objectively is very poorly written independent novels that are priced cheaply. AI can produce that level of writing now.
The AI learns fast. Within months it will be able to produce a novel in the style of Stephen King’s 1970s/80s novels or his 90s novels or his current writing simply by running through already published novels a million times in a second. You will be able to buy new Stephen King novels in perpetuity.
What about all the great ideas summoned up by the human mind, I hear you say?
Writers love to aggrandise themselves and the power of their creativity. Firstly we know those less-discerning time-passing readers don’t care about that and if they defect en masse to zero cost AI books there’s no need for publishers to pay writers for the relatively small number of readers who do care.
Secondly, any editor or film commissioner will tell you your idea is not truly unique. You think it is because it’s been birthed from your head, but they will already have seen five versions that week. A machine can arrange story elements in new forms much better and faster than you can imagine.
For me, it’s the flaws in writers’ work that makes them interesting – the quirks, the beauty spots on pristine skin. For a while, that alone will sustain creativity. But the machines will get there in the end.
Check out ChatGpt AI, which currently focuses on dialogue. It has flaws but it does a reasonable job and ones that are already significantly more advanced are going to be released in the New Year.