Hello and welcome to the monthly edition of Tips and Topics for Writers--always available the third Wednesday of each month.
|Tips and Topics for Writers|
Do you like broccoli? Did you ever taste it? I'm not really crazy about it, but when I finally decided to try it, I tasted cheesy broccoli soup. I decided I DID like broccoli afterall!
That's the way I feel about AI (Artificial Intelligence) which is causing a LOT of buzz in our industry. Writers are divided about how this surging program will affect their writing. Will it make writers dispensable? Will using it make us better writers?
I decided to try it out for myself to see if I liked it. Below is my experience with AI...so far.
Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay
The OpenAI company, with 10 billion dollars in funding from Microsoft, created this new "tool," ChatGPT. It was introduced to the public in November 2022, and it has shocked the writing world with its rapid growth in all kinds of platforms. Not only writing, but also in art, music and video.
I've read many articles, watched YouTube videos and listened to podcasts about AI. I have gleaned from all the talk that AI IS a "tool" for writers. It can generate many ideas for books and essays, captions, book descriptions, and so much more we will discover in the future.
AI is in its infant stage somewhat like way back when the microwave oven was first on the market. Do you recall those monster-sized machines with a small oven space? I was afraid radiation from the machine would ruin my health! But look at them now. Sleek and stylish in modern kitchens with so many choices for preparing a meal in them, such as convection heating, sensor cooking and timers to set and forget while you finish up the rest of the dinner.
|Microwave ovens have come a long way since 1947|
Photo courtesy of Clker Free Vector Images from pixabay
My first thought about using AI was I would get in trouble with amazon if I used the information it generated because I thought it would be considered plagiarism. I was wrong.
AI is much like a writers' group gathering and brainstorming for the best way to write a story. Have you ever met with writers in a coffee shop and helped an author decide how to kill the victim in his story? My group did that in the middle of the restaurant where eavesdroppers may have been scared to death to be near us because of all the plans to "off" a victim.
When you sit down to write your story, you choose the way you want to write the story as per the many ideas your writers' group gave you. Using your voice, your imagination and your writerly skills, you write the scene.
Photo courtesy of Clker Free Vector Images from pixabay
Be cautious--the AI does not always get the facts right. In fact, the computer spits out untruths! So the writer has to assess the results.
Grammarly is a type of AI program. If you have used it, you can see how some of the suggestions by Grammarly are off the mark. So a writer must look over the story to recognize if the spelling and grammar are correct. For instance, the correct use of two, too, or to could be overlooked because the machine knows the words are spelled correctly, so the wrong too may get by the machine, but the author's eyes will spot the mistake.
That's why I call AI a tool. It is not the perfect way to write an essay or story, etc. However, some writers are asking AI to write a book. The author will publish whatever AI gives them and put it up for sale on amazon. Amazon checks for plagiarism and AI in every submission, so if you do this, the book that copies the exact words coughed up from AI will be taken down and you may lose your access to amazon.
A person must use her voice, experience and observations to make the flat writing by a machine come to life.
"We have to use the tool, not allow the tool to use us." This catchy quote is from Greg Jameson.
More and more programs are popping up to introduce writers to the AI atmosphere. I can't include all of them, but I did play with ChatGPT from the OpenAI company and Sudowriter expressly engineered for writers. Microsoft will have AI included in their Bing engine very soon. Google will have its AI program, named BARD, in a few more months.
PROMPTS--I learned quickly you have to give AI very specific prompts to get what you want from it. I also learned you can expand the results by adding more to the prompt. You can go on and on and on with the prompt.
Here is a prompt for a western romance book.
"Write a book description for a romance western novel that takes place in the 1800s and write it in the style of Louis L'amour." Yes! Even ask for the style of your favorite author. Get the results.
Then add "a cowboy hero and a beautiful homesteading woman with 3 children trying to run a farm by herself. Make it funny."
I asked ChatGPT and Sudowriter to write a book description for my middle-grade nonfiction book for girls about careers. Below are screenshots of the programs and the partial results.
I apologize for the blurry font, but this gives you an idea of how the page looks. The top is my prompt for creating a book description, and the writing in the gray section is the result. Yes, I did get some ideas for improving my original book description from both of these samples
I hope this little overview of AI is helpful. Do you think you would like to try it? Have you already added AI to your writer's toolbox? Would you like more information about the AI programs?
Please leave a comment below. Thank you.
MARCH 31, 2023 UPDATE ON AI from a report by cbsnews.com--Elon Musk joins hundreds calling for a six-month pause on AI development in an open letter by Michael Roppolo
Posted in an open letter on the website of Future of Life Institute, a non-profit--"Contemporary AI systems are now becoming human-competitive at general tasks. Should we develop nonhuman minds that might eventually outnumber, outsmart, obsolete and replace us?"
It was suggested it does not mean a pause on AI development in general, merely a stepping back."
In a Reuters report, Elon Musk, who is invested in the AI movement, said, "I'm a little worried about the AI stuff."
We have no way to see into the future, it can't be the Wild West of the AI World. Those in the know need to take measures that will not harm our lives. Making a fortune should not be the main concern in this new world. Rather, concern for mankind and developing a better, life for us and future generations should be #1. They must and weed out the opportunists and the greedy power mongers and think beyond. We don't want real lives lived as the fantasies and science-fiction movies and books portray our future.--JQ Rose
RESOURCES--Information used in this blog post came from the sites listed below. Check them out for a more comprehensive review of AI.
Heidi Thorne--What Authors need to know about ChatGTP video
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