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! Every word you will read in any book I write will have been written by me, not by some machine that was trained to copy my style or my words. Every illustration in or on any of my books will likewise be credited as a certain model or courtesy of an agency if the model desires anonymity, OR it will clearly state "image created using Artificial Intelligence" as I have done for Benji's Bayou Birthday Bash, the prequel to Phoenix Rising. 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?