Can artificial intelligence replace the human author’s innovation and creativity in writing a fiction novel?
Artificial Intelligence, or AI, is a trending topic these days, with applications like ChatGPT and Jasper being touted as replacements for human writers. These applications are models trained on a large codex of text data that can generate responses to questions, summarize long texts, write stories and much more. It is often used in conversational AI applications to simulate a human-like conversation with users—You’ve probably already been chatting with AI if you’ve contacted online Customer Service.
The jury is still out on whether the latest AI language model, ChatGPT, is actually intelligent, as defined by a machine’s ability to behave like a human. They are still basically just a computer program designed to respond to text inputs and generate outputs based on patterns in the data they’ve been trained on.
So far many uses for AI are controversial if not outright negative, including creating malware, Phishing and scamming, and cheating in school by letting students submit papers written by their computers. A consultancy firm reportedly found that applications written by ChatGPT beat out 80 percent of humans.
In theory, AI can even be used to write a book. But would that book be a good story or just be a distillation of characters and plot from previously published works? If AI does not have intelligence, could it take the data and CREATE a unique and imaginative piece of work the way a human author does.
From my research, I gather AI software can generate a list of book plot ideas, suggest opening paragraphs, and output a batch of character sketches. If an author provided the program with a detailed outline of a story, it might produce a workable first draft of a novel. AI language models seem best suited to generating non-fiction web content or product copy and even then should be proofed and fact checked by the writer. I read an article generated by the Jasper AI application and it contained 7 typos and grammatical errors; the author had clearly not bothered to check the work before publishing.
Getting back to fiction, I don’t think authors will be out of work any time soon. If an AI language model was asked to generate a bestselling novel with a dragon and a wizard in a magical dimension, I believe the key components of a saleable novel would be missing — imagination and creativity. AI models can only pull from what has already been done; not imagine the things that are new and exciting. AI language models are, IMHO, another tool in a writers’ toolbox that might speed up the process of generating the words on the page. I’ll admit to using a copy editing software program to help with my revision process for practical reasons. It helps me spot awkward sentence structures, grammatical errors and typos in my manuscript. But at the end of the day, human intervention is required to bring the magic to the story.
For the time being, I’ll be writing REBEL SPELL, book 3 in my Beyond the Magic trilogy, with minimal aid from artificial intelligence. Besides I love writing, so why would I want to give it up?