JMS on why AI won't replace human writers any time soon

Brian G Turner

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An interesting post by writer JMS on why AI won't replace human writers any time soon:
 
At this stage, the AI lacks the capacity for true and actual creativity.
 
My favourite line:

An AI system can write a story in a variety of styles, but it cannot have a unique voice because at every step the process itself defeats that goal because the AI can only create works that are derivative of stories written by other writers. It has nothing to offer that is unique, that is not recycled from other works…fundamentally, it is incapable of thinking a thought that has never been thought before.
 
Being cynical, I think the title ought rather to be "why AI won't replace good human writers any time soon."

Being even more cynical, the race to the bottom and lack of critical thought/judgement has already unleashed a tsunami of sub-standard self-published work, and frankly if using an AI means some of those authors can now manage to get the punctuation and grammar right on the first page, well there's an improvement straight away... ;)
 
I was under the impression most Hollywood scripts are already A.I generated. if not, we can look forward to better plot lines and much better dialog. Soon, we'll have CGI actors that are way better than the "real" thing. Soon all we'll have are interactive entertainment that straddle the space between games and movies and what we call movies now will be as quaint and expensive as plays. As always, life moves on.

And to address the article directly, I think my author doth protest too much. He knows he'll be out of a job in 5 years, tops.

Now, good writing, not Hollywood script writing, writing that comes from genuine lived experiences, that will always have a place, but lets face it - that's not the big, juicy part of the market.
 
I was under the impression most Hollywood scripts are already A.I generated. if not, we can look forward to better plot lines and much better dialog. Soon, we'll have CGI actors that are way better than the "real" thing. Soon all we'll have are interactive entertainment that straddle the space between games and movies and what we call movies now will be as quaint and expensive as plays. As always, life moves on.

And to address the article directly, I think my author doth protest too much. He knows he'll be out of a job in 5 years, tops.

Now, good writing, not Hollywood script writing, writing that comes from genuine lived experiences, that will always have a place, but lets face it - that's not the big, juicy part of the market.


The likes of CGI'd Carrie Fisher and Peter Cushing appearing in Rogue One are just the tip of the iceberg.

Some day real soon we will get a new Indy film with a middle aged Harrison Ford, we'll get a cowboy movie with Clint and the Duke facing off against each other. The 'actors' will sound, look and movie identically to the real thing.

Far easier to film and produce as well as being much cheaper to make. It's only a matter of time.
 
Being cynical, I think the title ought rather to be "why AI won't replace good human writers any time soon."

Being even more cynical, the race to the bottom and lack of critical thought/judgement has already unleashed a tsunami of sub-standard self-published work, and frankly if using an AI means some of those authors can now manage to get the punctuation and grammar right on the first page, well there's an improvement straight away... ;)


Yes, AI writing will inevitably increase as the programmes become more sophisticated. It's obviously going to be easier to tell if a 'known' writer is using AI to assist, but not as obvious for anyone whose work the reader is less familiar with.

I wonder if at some point there was have to be a disclaimer on a piece of writing if it has been partly or wholly written by a piece of software? Can an 'author' genuinely put their name to a story that has been written by a computer? Then again is this any different to people who use ghost writers?

I think the question is 'does it really matter'? And yes, I think it does. Because if someone has written a story that took them a couple of years to write, and has put their heart and soul into it, and then tries to sell it on Amazon, but finds that their book is lost in a sea of AI created stories, then that is a tragedy.
 
I have just started experimenting with Chat GPT. It is fast , it is fun to use and I believe it can be a useful tool for some writers . Edgar Wallace was one of the most successful and prolific writers ever ,despite not having much in the way of an education. He would dictate his work onto wax cylinders and big recordable discs. Secretaries would type up the manuscripts and send them to the publishers. It would take 70 hours or so to complete a novel. As far as I know , none of his sectaries went on to become writers . There is , currently, no such thing as artificial Intelligence. At best, machines like Chat GPT might replace the secretaries.
 
The likes of CGI'd Carrie Fisher and Peter Cushing appearing in Rogue One are just the tip of the iceberg.

Some day real soon we will get a new Indy film with a middle aged Harrison Ford, we'll get a cowboy movie with Clint and the Duke facing off against each other. The 'actors' will sound, look and movie identically to the real thing.

Far easier to film and produce as well as being much cheaper to make. It's only a matter of time.

Interestedly, John Wayne wanted to do a film with Clint Eastwood. I'd like to see a film with John Wayne and Gary Cooper together . They were friends but ,never worked together on screen .
 
I think the question is 'does it really matter'? And yes, I think it does. Because if someone has written a story that took them a couple of years to write, and has put their heart and soul into it, and then tries to sell it on Amazon, but finds that their book is lost in a sea of AI created stories, then that is a tragedy.

Replace the words "AI created stories" with "rubbish" and you're describing the current situation (he said bitterly).
 
Then there's the Infinite Monkey Theorem.:unsure:
 
I wonder if at some point there was have to be a disclaimer on a piece of writing if it has been partly or wholly written by a piece of software? Can an 'author' genuinely put their name to a story that has been written by a computer? Then again is this any different to people who use ghost writers?
Originally writers did all the writing and used their own skills to make their thoughts readable. That is constantly being eroded by the use of programs that allow writers to skim over the training that it takes to be a writer. No one has to admit to using software. The original writers were only able to produce a book every couple of years, something that they probably put a lot of thought into. All these tech shortcuts have cut down the amount of time spent thinking about the story. That probably shows up somewhere. Many of the high volume writers seem to use standard formulas, same characters, etc., which takes away from the originality. This is nothing new. In the 50s some successful writers did use secretaries. Replacing a human ghost with a program is still the same thing. The owner of the story didn't do the writing. One thing to consider is how does the use of of voice to text software allow gifted story tellers to publish their work now without help from anyone, something they had to pay to get done.
 
The likes of CGI'd Carrie Fisher and Peter Cushing appearing in Rogue One are just the tip of the iceberg.

Some day real soon we will get a new Indy film with a middle aged Harrison Ford, we'll get a cowboy movie with Clint and the Duke facing off against each other. The 'actors' will sound, look and movie identically to the real thing.

Far easier to film and produce as well as being much cheaper to make. It's only a matter of time.
I'm not certain that AI adds anything to current CGI capabilities. Replacing a human actor with another image has been very commonplace in films for quite some time. Gollum in the Lord of the Rings films, for example.
 
Yes, AI writing will inevitably increase as the programmes become more sophisticated.
I feel that the current large language learning models are at their peak capabilities. ChatGPT uses a huge amount of hardware (at least in training) and produces a limited duration of text. Further advancement in AI really means going back and starting a different approach.

Hardware size: "ChatGPT’s hardware comprises over 285,000 CPU cores, 10,000 GPUs, and network connectivity of 400 GBs per second per GPU server." Does ChatGPT use Nvidia Technology? Exploring ChatGPT's Hardware: - MLYearning

Capability limit: "According to OpenAI, Chat GPT has a maximum text length of 3000 words." Does ChatGPT have a word limit?
 
I'm not certain that AI adds anything to current CGI capabilities. Replacing a human actor with another image has been very commonplace in films for quite some time. Gollum in the Lord of the Rings films, for example.

Yes CGI is still in its relative infancy, although the speed at which technology moves it will only improve, and at an increasing rate.
Combine that with AI at an advanced stage, and you can recreate any actor from any period in any movie that you choose.

40 years ago we had 48k Spectrum, now we have PCs in our houses that can make millions of calculations per second. It's only a matter of when not if.
 
So, isn't using a spellcheck, grammar check, and other software tools already "cheating" since it is not 100% a reflection of my own skills? Yeah, probably not, but I mention it just to show that the line is not quite as sharp as some might suppose.

WRT the article, it's another case where the author sets the bar too high, then triumphantly shows AI cannot reach it, with expression of earnest hope that it can never reach it. Eventually we'll probably get to the point where if it can't beat Homer or Shakespeare, then getouttahere.

But we humans are clever creatures. If there's a way to make a buck with a minimum of effort, we're all over it. People mentioned above how some will use AI to crank out hundreds upon thousands of novels, not caring about reviews or anything else, so long as *some* money is made, if only for a few weeks.

That aside, though, companies will use AI to create all sorts of copy, and this will affect countless jobs, and might even kill off entire occupations.

As for fiction authors, I can see using AI to try out plots, or to take existing work and filter it through other styles, rather like using a grammar checker (cf. supra). I don't doubt there will be a time when we can target specific passages, or types of writing as in: modify the dialog, or tighten the description, or speed up the pace of Chapter 7. And, much as with the grammar checker, the author will still be able to accept changes, or just use the changes to inspire still further, fully authorized (*ahem*), revisions.

In short, except for certain occupations, the question is not will AI write great fiction, but rather how will authors use AI in the process of creating great fiction. If taken from that angle, I suggest the future just arrived. Check your front porch.
 
difficult, obstreperous, annoying, opinionated and all around pains-in-the-ass attributes

I would suggest that once we teach the AI to exhibit those attributes we should begin to worry that they will become creative.

I believe they are the hallmark of creative genius.
 

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