Writing with Artificial Intelligence is a hot topic right now. Authors are afraid that artificial intelligence will put them out of business. In the last year, artists have been fighting the same battle with AI generated art from MidJourney. What does AI generated writing look like?
What is ChatGPT?
This is just my thoughts on the topic. ChatGPT is a service that uses an artificial intelligence (think very big, very smart computer) to answer questions. Can it write a story for you? Well, not exactly. I see it more like walking into a library and asking the librarian about a subject. She might lead you to a shelf that has many books on the subject you're researching. She even might give you some starting thoughts and concepts, by asking specific questions for you to research, but she isn't writing your research paper.
The way I have used ChatGPT is by asking questions that I could have asked on Google. The answers from the ChatGPT are more concise, they don't force you to look at multiple websites to find the answer you're looking for, and the key is you don't end up going down a rabbit hole for the whole day as you research a topic.
Thanks to Andrea De Santis on Unsplash for the use of this image.
Here's an example: I asked ChatGPT this question.
Zita is escaping from her captives and must run into the forest during the winter. What obstacles might she encounter?
Here is the answer from the AI:
Zita may encounter several obstacles while running away from her captives in the forest during the winter. Some of these obstacles may include:
Snow and ice, which can make it difficult to walk or run and could cause slips, falls, and injuries
Cold temperatures, which can lead to hypothermia and frostbite if Zita is not properly dressed
Limited visibility due to snowfall or darkness
Difficult terrain, such as steep hills or rocky outcroppings
Limited resources, such as food and shelter
Wildlife, such as bears or wolves, which may be more active in the winter
Being tracked by her captors using footprints or other signs
Getting lost in the forest
If you look at the answers you can see that the AI didn't create a story for me. Not even a useable paragraph. It did give me an opportunity to explore possible conflicts she might encounter while running outside in the dark during the winter.
I say writers are using AI everyday. Many writers do hundreds of lines of research each day using Google search functions. What is Google? It's a huge automated computer program that takes your query and finds answers that are relevant to your query. Now, you still have to go through the websites that come up to find the answer you want, but it is still a form of AI.
From Quill Pen to Computers
Writers used to put all their thoughts on paper with a pen. Even before pens, there was a quill and ink. Then the typewriter was born. Did using the typewriter make the author using it less of a writer? No, it allowed her to write cleaner, more legible manuscripts. The change from typewriter to computer keyboard was a huge game changer. The writer is still using their intelligence and creativity to create a story and it has allowed writers to write even faster, cleaner copy than before.
Many authors use ProWritingAid or Grammarly to review their manuscript looking for typos, bad sentence structure, and grammar errors.
ChatGPT will allow authors the opportunity to come up with potential conflicts, scene changes, descriptions of the environment the character is running through, and clothing from the period in time the author is writing about, and myriad other information to enhance their stories. The author was already doing that, whether they were Googling it, going to the library, spending time with an expert in a specific field or flying out to a place in the world where they could encounter the environment they wanted to create in their fictional world.
Programming Tools are a Form of AI
When I was programming, every year or two new tools were created to make programming easier and faster. They still needed programmers to take the thoughts presented by the business and convert them to a format that allowed people to access the website and buy the product we were selling. It never did seem to get any easier as a programmer. We hired more programmers, not less. The tools helped, but you still had to pound the ideas with the hammer to make it all work. And you spent half the time figuring out the nuances of the new software.
I don't see ChatGPT writing award-winning novels in the near future. For now, someone will have to ask specific questions, compile the answers and turn the answer into a format that's enjoyable to read.
I want to thank Rock'n Roll Monkey on Unsplash for the image used on the home page for this blog post.