I didn’t see a future where the bots get to write fiction, music, and to paint while humans do all the cr*p jobs.Some twitter wag. Sorry I can’t credit it, but if he/she//they/bot gets in touch, I’d be happy to.
Ha ha, it’s a fresh take on the problem, but seriously, how worried should creatives be?
What is AI Content-Generation?
It’s auto-generated content according to the prompt you put in. You can ask for a range of text content and levels, from fiction to business writing and from blogs and newsletters to academic articles. E.g. to generate a blog post you can ask for everything from a headline to an outline to the content. It’s derived: that means it’s not out of an organic head, it’s ‘sourced.’
AI written content is pulled from vast reservoirs of stored text, written by humans, and ‘scraped’ by the AI, to answer your request for specific content.
AI-generated graphic apps respond to a text prompt and render it as a graphic or artwork. Again, vast reservoirs of graphics stored in the ‘cloud’ have been ‘scraped’ to enable the content generator to work.
I don’t know if the software does it in real time or how it does it, in fact, in my research (AI generated by querying Bing Chat, which is really powerful) tells me that graphic content generation draws from databases of collected human artwork.
But the big human concern is: Are the robots stealing my stuff?
Plagiarism is the Best Form of Flattery
But is it ethical? It takes years for a human to reach the required skill level in whatever creative pursuit they follow. Also, it doesn’t feel fair, at a fundamental level of natural justice. The majority of creatives: writers, artists, musicians, actors, filmmakers etc., struggle to make a living, and the robots seemingly swan in and swipe – literally – all their hard work and years of effort.
How worried should we be?
Beware the Copyright Monster
The creative industries are so concerned about theft and plagiarism, they are lobbying for changes in copyright laws to prevent big corporations and others from copyright infringement of original works and profiting from it. Copyright law is different for each country and it’s already a minefield, so how that’s gonna work I couldn’t begin to guess.
Big business, including the humungous, monopolistic brand names are really hot on wiping out the small fry for copyright and trade mark infringement and suing them out of existence, so a human creator must be really careful.
Advantages of Helpful AI Tools
But AI tools can help you, too. There are apps to support your writing, help you overcome writers’ block, outline ideas for you, suggest content or even write it for you. Most are pay to play, but there is limited access to free stuff, usually capped by a word limit. Many apps you already use, like bulk email senders, blogging platforms, word processing, etc. are building AI content generation into their functionality, to make your personal content mill, easier, faster, more original (yes, that) and more enjoyable, by taking some of the grunt-work off your hands.
For writers and graphic artists, AI can drive better execution, and as every screenwriter knows, “Execution is a bitch.” The Muse, when she’s not sulking or demanding coffee, won’t help you with execution. No, Sirree.
Have you seen that meme for ‘How I see it’, complete with wow factor, and alongside, ‘How it turned out’ – as a stick figure?
“It’s all in the execution”, they say and it’s true.
“There are several benefits of using AI for writers, artists and graphic designers. AI provides designers with tools that would otherwise be too expensive or too time-consuming to use. It takes care of tedious and repetitive tasks and speeds up the design process¹.” (Bing Chat. See references below.)
Downsides of AI Content-Generation
“There are also some concerns and potential drawbacks to using AI for writers, artists and graphic designers. AI-generated pieces may not evoke human emotions and storytelling is paramount to quality writing¹. AI tools often produce incoherent phrases and may include incorrect or outdated information¹. Not all AI tools follow Google’s latest SEO guidelines¹.
“AI tools can’t match your brand’s voice and tone¹. It takes time to set up and can have a steep learning curve. AI can create errors⁴. The greatest danger of AI for designers and illustrators is that laypersons will use AI-generated art instead of employing a human artist⁵.” (Bing Chat. See references below.)
may not evoke human emotionsBing Chat
Ahhh, this. I tried an experiment running the same prompt text for story generation through various AI apps and got interesting results. Some are really good, but most are derivative, predictable and boring, not enough to make the reader throw the book across the room, but almost.
You can’t get the bots these days, so you’re gonna have to do it yourself.
Remember, AI is Artificial Intelligence. It’s not Artificial Consciousness, so it can’t add streams of emotional reaction and responses to fiction and emotional subtext to screenplays. Yet. Will it do so in the future? Who knows?
Also, I’m worried about pinching someone else’s copyrighted idea, so I tend to pull my ideas out of my own head. I’ll use AI for brainstorming and kickstarting the ideas but I lean towards writing my own stuff.
It’s an AI Content-Generated World Out There
And you better get used to it. AI is changing the world in every aspect. From doctors’ appointments (if you can get one) to those annoying, intrusive ‘shopping suggestions’ you get while you’re online, you may have noticed how the way you’re forced to interact with organisations is changing. We’re slaves to our mobile phones like we never were before.
How you react is up to you. You can either run from it or embrace it. AI is gonna change your jobs, your workplace and the way you interact with third parties. Having said that, nobody really knows how it’s gonna shake out, and anyway, life’s short, so carry on doing what you love. The robots can’t stop you… until the power runs out. Cue closing credits.
P.S. I did generate text for this blog, but it was… boring. It was too time-consuming to jazz it up, so in the end, I wrote it using some ideas and quoting where it was useful. I hope you enjoyed reading it. And to be fair, because of AI, I did the research in about half an hour, and wrote the blog in an hour. Before, it would have taken me a day or half a day.
Banner Image by the mighty picjumbo.com
Dang. Forgot to add the sources. Beastly human. Here they are.
Source: Conversation with Bing, 22/05/2023
(1) The Pros and Cons of Using AI Writing Tools – MUO. https://bing.com/search?q=Cons+of+AI+for+writers%2c+artists+and+graphic+designers.
(2) The Complete Guide to AI in Graphic Design – Delightful Design Studio.
(3) Is AI Really an Art and Design Killer? – vectornator.io.
(4) Link not available. Here’s a more recent article from The Guardian.