The Struggle Is (Faux) Real

What to do about AI-generated writing?

The Struggle Is (Faux) Real

As I’ve mentioned before, I watch a lot of webinars about self-publishing. One was recently devoted to artificial intelligence. Depending on who you talk to, AI is either a great intellectual breakthrough or will end life on Earth as we know it.

There’s been a lot of chatter about how college students will use AI to write term papers and theses. As someone who wrote a few such papers (for free!) for various relatives, I support anything that takes the pressure off brothers-in-law. 

So, I’m not as afraid of AI as some folks, although I do consider it a transformative technology, especially in the self-publishing world. Amazon’s KDP (Kindle Self- Publishing) has recently started asking authors if any of their copy or cover art was generated by the AI offered by Google, Microsoft, and others.

Ostensibly, these questions, which come in the form of more boxes to be checked off when self-publishing, are only for informational purposes. Amazon, like mainstream publishers, is struggling to come up with rules and regulations governing the use of AI (there must be a slew of lawyers waiting to attack or defend whatever they decide).    

Tech wizards are developing software to detect copy created by AI software. (Hmm…software spying on software? Maybe I should be afraid.)

Authors are apparently safe as long as they paraphrase whatever text was generated by AI. How this differs from paraphrasing text found anywhere else — such as on Wikipedia — isn’t clear to me. Suffice it to say, an author who uses AI just for ideas, facts, and figures is probably safe. (Having said that, I can feel the lawyers circling.)

There are all sorts of copyright issues involved, though, not to mention the cost to human creativity when relatively cheap AI scrolls through billions of already-published words to create its own version of those words. Why do you think they’re striking in Hollywood? Why pay a screenwriter when one computer can outperform the combined efforts of hundreds of human scribes?

I don’t know what the answer is, but the question almost makes me wish I was a lawyer.  

Lawrence De Maria’s latest thriller, tentatively titled Doctor Sam, will be out shortly. He believes that no computer was involved in giving 39-year-old Aaron Rodgers of the New York Jets a $75 million-guaranteed contract. Computers aren’t that dumb.

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