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My Thoughts on Artificial Intelligence

Jul 30, 2023 by James Weems

Artificial Intelligence is obviously here to stay in some form or another. Right now, ChatGPT and all the other AI "bots" remind me a lot of a frontier town in a bad western - there's no sheriff, or a very weak one, and everybody is gunning for himself or herself. I've USED AI to help create images for my characters for the prequel and the novel - but NOT for "real" characters.

Hollywood actors and writers, as I write this, are on strike, in part because the studios want to be able to use AI to generate "crowd scenes" rather than pay human actors a daily wage to appear for a few seconds in a film.And who owns the film of the actors when they appear  (human, or AI-generated)? The studios. Writers are afraid because books are being fed into AI and churned out as "new" masterpieces. Amazon's Kindle marketplace for ebooks is getting swamped with AI-generated books. At the same time, Amazon is cutting royalty payments to authors who sell through Kindle. So AI is cutting sales, cutting into the market, and cutting into actors' jobs. None of that is good news.

The better news is that for the most part, ethical authors are refusing to participate in the AI "training" to prevent their works, at least for now, from being absorbed by the generative "brain" of the AI program. Many of us - myself included - are promising our readers that we will NEVER use AI in the writing of our books; I will also never use AI if I can find human models who match my characters! For now, we must all remain vigilant. Remember, these AI systems are being "offered" or "controlled" by the same people who bring you the "Metaverse" (Facebook and all), as well as the people who bring you Android and Chrome and all those associated apps (Google), and Microsoft. Not exactly the companies to make you feel warm and happy about, given their track records of dealing with personal data and such, right?

Red, White, and Royal Blue – a reading writer’s perspective

Sep 04, 2023 by James Weems

I haven’t seen the movie. I saw the trailer and several promotional clips for the movie, so based on that, it looks like the film tracks the book pretty faithfully.

 

I read the ebook by Casey McQuiston. I had planned to read a few chapters, then sleep, and resume reading the next day. The book would not allow me that luxury.

 

I’m not going to go through this enemies to lovers romance in detail. For that, you’ll need to do what you should already have done or have on your “To Do” List: Read the book.

 

The story unfolds at a perfect “can’t stop reading” pace. The meeting at the Royal Wedding – featured prominently in the trailer for the movie – is a classic bit in the book. The scene reminds me of old-time slapstick humor – think Marx brothers, Red Skelton, or Lucy (if you’re my age or love old TV), but with a definite modern twist to it.

 

The American half of the central couple goes from clueless to in love over the course of the book. It’s around 400 pages, but it moves so fast you don’t feel you’re reading “War and Peace” or “Moby Dick.” There are references to political situations, without being overtly political. You don’t feel a sense of politicization so much as a feeling of “nice touch, pointing out that craziness.”

 

Yes, there is a definite sense of craziness; there’s a Presidential election going on in America, and Alex, the “first son” who falls for the heir to the British throne, wants to help his mother get re-elected as the first woman president. Meanwhile, across the pond, Henry, the English half of the couple, has to deal with his “gram,” Queen Mary. She’s a traditionalist in her 80s who wants Henry to find a “suitable” woman to marry and “produce heirs” as is his duty to the Crown. Some job description!

 

There are the bones of the story. At first Alex and Henry seem to hate each other… until they don’t.