With the writer's strike in Hollywood in full swing and people everywhere freaking out about AI taking their jobs, I decided to see for myself if something like ChatGPT could compete with human creativity.
I've just started writing my third book and asked the AI to help me out. Below is a screenshot of my prompt and what ChatGPT came up with in response:
Not bad...but also not very engaging.
Granted, my prompt wasn't exactly specific (or really all that good, come to think of it). I wanted to see what the bot could do with laxer instructions. (I do have to give it props for coming up with Mark's name all by itself 😂)
Here is ChatGPT "rewriting" after I asked for some changes:
And ChatGPT came through! With flashier vocabulary and dialogue that sounds like Carl is a TV dad from a '50s sitcom.
I would never be able to publish any of this. Even with extensive editing, it wouldn't work. The writing has no authorial "voice." It reads like a person speaking in a totally neutral tone.
With ChatGPT's writing, what you see is what you get. No nuance, no complexity, no delightful turn of phrase. It's all very straightforward. While AI is obedient to the prompter's instructions, the execution is lacking.
But this is still early days. Maybe the technology will significantly improve in a year or a few years from now. It's definitely getting better and better when it comes to art generation.
My advice is to use AI as a tool. Just like we've been using Google, MS Word, Photoshop, calculators—AI should be something that helps us get through certain tasks more efficiently.
For example, it can help romance authors think up potential scenarios for a meet-cute. Although the creativity is lacking here, too:
Even if you decided to use one of those above suggestions, you would still need to add your own creative flair to the situation.
And coming up with a meet-cute is one of the more fun "tasks" of developing a romance novel.
As an author, the entire development and writing process is the reason why I enjoy the craft so much. It's what gives my work meaning. Outsourcing any part of it would take the fun out of the process. Maybe I'd consider asking ChatGPT to help me come up with character names or act as my thesaurus, but for everything else—plotting, building tension, dialogue, assembling the story chapter by chapter—all of that is too much fun to let AI do the work for me.
It's the same with any profession, I think. Architects enjoy the process of coming up with designs and wouldn't want AI to create designs for them. Photographers enjoy the thrill of capturing that one perfect shot and wouldn't want AI to replace their efforts. Doctors and lawyers (the good ones, at least) truly enjoy helping people and take pride in their purpose as problem-solvers.
We shouldn't rely on AI to write entire books, or represent a client, or teach a class, or produce original works of art for sale. Doing so will simply contribute to the further dumbing down of society until we are all drones ourselves, wandering around without purpose or direction.
I don't know. Maybe I'm just an elderly millennial who's nostalgic for the good 'ol days when Facebook was still the coolest thing to hit the Internet 😂