Updated: Sep 8
For every technology created, it has been improved upon and made better. Maybe not better for society as a whole, but the technology itself has been made better.
Take the horse and buggy for transportation. That was there for a long time before the modern day engine came along. With more and more advances in technology, we created better running engines and more sophisticated cars. One could argue this was great for humans. Others would argue this is horrible for the planet. Either way, the advances continued. And are still continuing.
Advances in forensics has led to some of the worst serial killers being caught and serial rapists being stopped.
The same is happening with AI.
AI has been around for a long time. Although it wasn't as robust as it is now, it has still been here for a while. Those who use programs to help them write and edit, have long been using a form of AI.
How much, if any, should AI be used for? If you use it for character building/traits/habits is that too much? If you use it to get ideas for blog posts, not write the post, but ideas, is that wrong? I used AI, when all this first came out, to get blog ideas. I wrote the entire post myself. Is that any different from me typing into my search bar and getting ideas from the web?
If an author uses it to create an outline for a story or a timeline, is that crossing a line into the actual creative process? Is it wrong?
I don't know enough about the AI technology. I know what I have read from both sides and clearly there are some issues to work out before this can be used without serious problems, legal or otherwise. In the two instances above, I think it is likened to using Google or any other search engine. I believe when you use AI to CREATE, fully create, something, then you are crossing a line.
I know for me, I don't use AI to create anything. Every word I write in a blog post or a story comes from my crazy head. My book covers are my imagination and I buy the photo. From either the photographer or a reputable site that I pay a license to use the photo. I use Photoshop to manipulate the photos and add layers to them. I don't use AI to generate any kind of photo for a book. I believe the software is using photos from artists without their permission. I don't like that.
I have not created an AI audio book, because I don't like the way they sound. I feel I would be cheating my readers. I also can't afford to pay a narrator. But I would rather wait, than use AI.
I would never consider writing an entire book using AI. Or any portion of a book using AI. I think that is cheating the creative process. And cheating my readers and fans.
What if an author uses it to create an entire story, BUT they go in and tweak it using their own words and rewriting sentences, rearranging and adding and removing text. Is that wrong? Have they crossed a line which makes them a fake or thief? Have they done enough to make the story their own?
Where does the line get drawn and who gets to decide?
Should platforms allow AI written books at all? If they do, should it be classified as AI? And is it considered AI if you use something like Grammarly or ProWritingAid? Amazon has recently added a check box under content. They want you to tell them if the book was created with AI. If the covers were created with AI or if the book has any written text or other elements that were created with AI. What if someone lies about that? How can that be tracked?
So many questions. Yet, I think this is a good first step.
Many authors are creating audio books using AI instead of hiring a human narrator. I know several who have used it, but they make it very clear that the reader is getting AI generated audio books.
Is this an acceptable way to use AI? Some would argue that by doing this, you are pushing narrators out of the loop. Out of business.
What about narrators? Should they learn to adapt and change how they do business in order to stay in business? Or is AI for audio books just wrong on every layer and should not be used, because of the harm to narrators?
If we do that for narrators, then doesn't that mean we have to limit AI use for every other creative that AI might put out of business? I don't know think that is a solution either. I use ProWritingAid before I send my book to my editor. I would never publish without human eyes editing my work. But what if an author only uses something like this, then publishes? Does that mean we don't allow anyone to use it because it takes away a job from a human editor?
With any kind of profession, you run the risk of becoming a dinosaur. For that reason, doesn't the responsibility fall to the professional to learn to pivot and continue forward using the technology to increase their profitability and stay one step ahead?
This is a double-edged sword.
Some cover artists are doing just that. Using AI to create covers for clients. One could argue they are using the newest technology to create. But when that technology has ethical dilemmas attached, I think it taints all the work created with it.
With AI and book covers. There are a lot of questions and concerns about AI creators misappropriating online content. If they have done what some lawsuits accuse them of, then they should have stiff consequences. If it is stealing art work of others without permissions, that is one hundred percent wrong.
Does that mean we shouldn't use AI at all? I don't think so. The technology can help produce great content. So how do you choose what to use and what not to use? Should there be a limit on its use? And who would decide? Should everyone who uses AI be condemned as a bad person? Should we, as creatives, say no to it all?
There are a lot of softwares that uses AI in some form. Canva, Photoshop, and Affinity are a few. But the difference is they are not stealing works to make their software work. And that seems to be the key.
And does any responsibility lie with readers/listeners? Do they hold some accountability for downloading a cheaper audio book made with AI instead of a human narrator? What about ebooks that are written with AI?
There is a lot to unpack here. I think a lot of good things can come from AI. I think a lot of bad things can come out of it too.