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IWSG – Artificial Intelligence and Publishing

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October 4th Question: The topic of AI writing has been heavily debated across the world. According to various sources, generative AI will assist writers, not replace them. What are your thoughts?

I’ve been keeping abreast of the news surrounding artificial intelligence and the publishing world as it hit different social media platforms over the past year or so. I first heard about it with the art world and watched as it infested the book cover space. Artists have been grappling with their works being stolen and fed to generators without their consent. Art takes time, energy, and skill, and artists are woefully underpaid as it is. To then be cut out of any profit in favor of AI generated works, which don’t stand up to scrutiny and may be based on the artist’s own work, is insulting. And it’s already happened; AI-generated cover controversies have occurred in trad and indie publishing spaces (including a Sarah J. Maas book). Authors, artists, and publishing companies on arguing what is and is not allowed to be AI generated. Authors are even raising questions about contract protections against AI.

On the writing side, I have mixed feelings about artificial intelligence in publishing. On one hand, there are a ton of idea generator websites that have been used for decades. There is a measure of science and coding that is involved in the creation of those websites. They’re not new. Even Reedsy, a bastion for many authors (new and old alike), has an idea generator with over half a million plot ideas. If AI was federally regulated and contractually limited within publishing, I probably wouldn’t have as many issues with it as I currently do. 

It is concerning how robust AI writing has become in such a short time period and how currently,  there is little to no legal recourse against it. Authors are finding AI-generated books published under their name (though not actually tied to their Amazon book seller account) in the same topic, potentially diluting their name/brand recognition. Other authors are finding alleged dupes of their actual works uploaded on Amazon. Thankfully, after many months of authors and the Author’s Guild advocating, Amazon has implemented features in KDP that requires self-published authors to note if their book includes AI content.

But is it enough? 

No, I don’t think so. The current method requires the seller to self report, and people lie. 

The power of writing is that every author is different. The way they formulate the manuscript, decide on sentence structure, rely on specific crutch words, or decide on the premise is unique to the writer. Relying on AI will limit author’s capabilities.  AI is inherently stagnant. It can regurgitate prose, but it’s unable to reflect an authors growth in the craft. Even if they feed AI their own works, it would only be able to make something as good as what they wrote in the past. Not who they are in the present, or where they are headed in the future.

Artificial intelligence trains machines; not us. 

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group is a home for writers in all stages; from unpublished to bestsellers. Our goal is to offer assistance and guidance. We want to help writers overcome their insecurities, and by offering encouragement we are creating a community of support.

The awesome co-hosts for the October 4th posting of the IWSG are Natalie Aguirre, Kim Lajevardi, Debs Carey, Gwen Gardner, Patricia Josephine, and Rebecca Douglass!